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USwim Openwater and Harris & Ross

Posted on April 25th, 2016

Harris & Ross and USwim Openwater have joined forces and as part of the partnership, you will be able to find us once a month at USwim events, holding workshops in Salford Quays and Knutsford!

The first workshop will be on the 23rd April and the next will be on the 21st May.

Come and pop down, have a look and take the plunge in the docks!

For more information on USwim, check our their website here.

Here is the first newsletter of Harris & Ross’ collaboration with USwim Openwater.


By Rob Harris, Consultant Sports Physiotherapist, Harris & Ross

Issue 1 – Swimmers Back

‘Swimmers back’ is a stiffness in the facet joints of the lower back, very common in all swimmers but particularly long distance swimmers and Triathletes. The problem for most people who take up swimming is they come from sedentary jobs.

Being sedentary, such as sitting at a desk shortens the muscle in the front of your groin called your iliopsoas or your hip flexor because your hip sits in a flexed position. When you go to lengthen this out in the front crawl stroke it drags the front of the pelvis downwards causing an increased arch in the base of your back and jamming the back against the stops that prevent you from extending backwards too far.

As we swim more to improve, we are putting our back into a degree of extension that it is not really used to in everyday life. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this, if we stretch the hip flexors to allow the space of hip extension to accommodate the kick in swimming. If we don’t have the hip extension then we extend through the back, and worse (shock horror), we extend through the back and if our hip flexors are tight, we drop our hips lower in the water and slow ourselves down.

This is why so often when we swim for long distances or we swim repeatedly, we get that stiff classically stiff lower back; not that classic “oh, my back has gone” type back, but a “oh, my back is stiff” and as it gets tighter it can actually get quite catchy, to the point where sometimes you are walking along the street and you can feel your back almost give! This is where the two bones rub together almost on the ‘stops’, because they are being held in such close apposition by the positional changes affected by these muscles.

The answer to all of this is two easy stretches:

1) Lower back and glut rotational stretch which opens out the facet joints which are causing our pain in a rotational way.

Exercise 1

2) Even more importantly a hip flexor and rectus femoris stretch which nullify the extension created in a back at root cause, either by nullifying the amount of shortness created in the psoas by desk work and certainly by nullifying the fatigues effects of psoas and rectus femoris caused by lots of swimming.Exercise 2

Hold each stretch for 3 x 18 second holds once a day, particularly after swimming.

If you stick to these two easy stretches, for the most part you should nullify all of swim-based back pain and even more importantly should stop your hips.

From dropping throughout the stroke creating better body position and making you swim faster. Result!

If you wish to book an appointment to enhance your physical well being contact, Harris & Ross Healthcare on 0161 832 9000.

Activity across our Clinics

     We are now offering 1-to-1 #Physio led Clinical #Pilates sessions at our #Manchester City Centre clinic. Our Senior Physio, Abigail explains the many advantages to the exercise here in this article ➡️ link in bio #Pilates #Manchester #FridayReads  Pauline didn't think she'd make it to the #GreatManchesterRun, but with some determination and a little help from our team, she smashed a goal! #ThursdayInspo #ThursdayMotivation #TestimonialThursday
     Senior #Physio, John & #MassageTherapist @tomhenryburden travelled to #London this month to support the #athletes at this year's #SummerSocial  ➡️ find the link to the article in our bio  Starting from this #Saturday, our #Massage Therapist, Tom Burden will be available for appointments at our @totalfitnessgym #Altrincham and #Manchester City Centre clinics. Call 0161 832 9000 for further info #wellnesswednesday
     Harris & Ross patient, Rhys was told he would never be able to run again. But since then, he's been defying expectations and has recently completed IRONMAN 70.3 ➡️link in bio #mondaymotivation  Proud of #physio, Abi & our patients who ran #GreatManchesterRun,including @katieedith who ran the 10k & Des finished the 1/2 marathon in 2:2:47!

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