Training items

Exercises to improve recovery in swimming

Recovery is the aerial phase of the stroke that allows us to start bringing the arm to the starting position to start a new stroke.

Improving your swimming efficiency and preventing the appearance of shoulder injuries is possible if improvements the recovery technique. Read on for technical aspects and various exercises.

The recovery is the aerial phase of the stroke that allows us to start bringing the arm to the starting position to start a new stroke.

This movement is determined by other aspects and body position, el roll and the flexible y shoulder mobility and seeks to transfer the greatest amount of kinetic energy from the arm to the body.

In swimmers we can distinguish mainly two types of recovery, With the high elbow and the straight arm. Since the former presents a lower risk of injury, we will focus on telling you how to recover with your high elbow:

High elbow recovery

Phase 1

When the hand ends the underwater phase (further below the hip), the elbow should first come out of the water as if you wanted to raise it towards the ceiling.

Phase 2

Then the forearm and hand will come out of the water, in a position perpendicular to the elbow and the surface of the water.

Phase 3

In that position, with your elbow toward the ceiling and your forearm and hand below it and slightly behind your elbow, you should bring your arm forward.

Phase 4

At approximately shoulder height, the hand and forearm are advanced to the shoulder position to seek entry into the water.

Phase 5

The hand will enter the water with a slightly downward and backward orientation, followed by the forearm and then the arm, with a slight elbow flexion that extends once it enters the water.

The fundamental role

You should keep in mind that if you perform an insufficient roll, the shoulder will not be able to efficiently carry out its movement, so the recovery will be flat or parallel to the water surface, which considerably increases the possibility of injury.


In order for you to work on this movement, we propose several exercises focused on exaggerating the position of the high elbow:

You can include these exercises in all sessions, either in the warm-up, as the main technical block or interspersed with series to achieve the greatest possible transfer to the swim. Remember that consistency is key to technical improvement in swimming.

Laura García Cervantes

Laura García Cervantes
Laura García Cervantes
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