Boards fitness expert, Lucy McCormick joins us again to talk through how to keep your body in tip top condition, ready for the next session on the water.
As you would know from windsurfing yourself and the previous articles in the series, windsurfing requires us to have a body that is pretty good shape; a good general standard of fitness, reasonably strong muscles and a little bit of flexibility will help improve our on water performance and make our time windsurfing more enjoyable.
Most of our joints and muscles will work quite hard while we are out on the water and from time to time you may have suffered muscle soreness or perhaps a bit of pain in your joints during or after your session.
By doing a spot of exercise, stretching out regularly and warming up before your session you can help to prevent muscle soreness and help your joints stay in good working order.
Windsurfing works the majority of our joints and muscles, however there are a few that might need a little bit of extra special attention.
Below are a few exercises/stretches for specific parts that windsurfing works.
Twisting and turning your neck to look upwind then downwind, and any other directions you decide to look can really work your neck, below are four neck stretching exercises to help decrease muscle tightness and to keep your neck in tip top condition.
With all the neck exercises below begin with your neck in the midline position.
- Chin to Chest Neck Stretch– Gently bend your head forward bringing your chin towards your chest. When you feel the stretch pause and hold for 20 seconds. Return to the start position and repeat 4 times.
- Eyes to the Sky Neck Stretch– Gently bend your head backwards so that your eyes are looking up at the sky. When you feel the stretch pause and hold for 20 seconds. Return to start position and repeat 4 times.
- Side-to-Side Neck Stretch– Gently turn your head to look over your right shoulder. When you feel the stretch pause and hold for 20 seconds. Return to the start position and repeat on the other side. Repeat the whole process 4 times.
- Ear to Shoulder Stretch– Gently bend your neck in attempt to touch your left ear to your left shoulder. When you feel the stretch pause and hold for 20 seconds, then repeat on the other side. Repeat the whole process 4 times.
All that kit carrying, up hauling, tacking and gybing will make those shoulders work. Below are a few exercises to stretch and strengthen those all important shoulder parts.
A good way to warm up before your session on the water is by performing some shoulder circles (see below) – you can also use these in your exercise routine by adding some dumbbells to increase the resistance – just ensure you maintain a good technique.
- Backwards Shoulder Circles – Stand up with your feet shoulder width apart and your arms rested down by your sides. Keep a neutral spine and core engaged. Raise your arms out to your side until they are parallel to the floor, from this position gradually rotate your arms backwards in a controlled circular motion.
- Forwards Shoulder Circles -Stand up with your feet shoulder width apart and your arms rested down by your sides. Keep a neutral spine and core engaged. Raise your arms out to your side until they are parallel to the floor, from this position gradually rotate your arms backwards in a controlled circular motion.
Climbing up onto your board, going over chop or landing massive jumps will impact on your knees. An awesome way to keep your knees in good shape is to get on an INDO Board. An INDO Board is a balance trainer that will help improve your leg strength, balance, co-ordination and stamina amongst other things. An ideal exercise tool for all windsurfers and great fun to boot!
Trying to get your leg up when beach starting and water starting will test your hips. Make sure you can always get your leg up high enough by following the simple exercise below.
- Hip Extension – Whilst standing up slowly lift one knee up as high as you can. Keep your back straight and hold for 2 seconds, then do the same on the other leg. Repeat the whole process 10 times.
Windsurfing really uses the ankles, often a forgotten about part when stretching and exercising. Make sure you don’t forget them, check out the stretching exercises below.
- Dorsiflexion/Plantar flexion – Sit on the floor, keeping your knees straight. Move your ankles towards your nose, hold for 15 seconds. Return back to the start position. Now point your feet forwards, hold for 15 seconds. Repeat the whole process 10 times.
- Inversion/Eversion– Sit on the floor with your toes pointed up. Now turn your foot inwards and hold for 15 seconds. Return to start position. Next turn your foot outwards and hold for 15 seconds. Repeat the whole process 10 times.