How do you increase your surf performance with greater endurance, agility, and power without having to hit the gym before the water? It’s a very simple answer that most pros and coaches are doing these days, and anyone can do it! As a strength and conditioning coach, I ensure all my athletes and clients are engaging in what’s termed a “Dynamic Warm-Up” prior to their surf session, or any activity in general.
The purpose of warming up the body is to prepare an individual physically and mentally to maximize their performance, regardless of the type of activity. Many debates in the past have discussed the downside of stretching before exercise and unfortunately, many individuals fail to recognize the different types of stretching – dynamic and static stretching.
Both types of stretching are important to incorporate in any workout and research has demonstrated the benefits of dynamic stretching or a “dynamic warm-up” prior to any physical activity which will result in an increased blood flow from the internal organs to the skeletal muscle, increased heart rate and core temperature, range of motion, faster muscle contraction and relaxation, improvements in strength and power, and overall mental preparedness. In general, you want to increase your body’s ability to produce greater amounts of force to paddle faster, pop-up quicker, and maneuver your board with speed and power.
Whether you’re surfing, running, playing hoops, or trying to crush it at the gym, a dynamic warm-up preps the body to perform optimally. A dynamic warm-up is moving through challenging yet comfortable ranges of motion repeatedly approximately 8-12 repetitions. This warm-up/stretching is favored among many athletes, coaches, trainers, and physical therapists because of the benefits in improving functional range of motion and mobility in the kinetic chain for physical activity and daily life.
Static stretching is best if performed after a workout and as part of one’s “cool down” and recovery. During static stretching, one may hold a challenging but comfortable position for approximately 10 to 30 seconds. This type of stretching is safe and effective in enhancing overall range of motion and flexibility.
So before you hit the water, here are some of my favorite dynamic warm-up stretches and why they are useful. Check out this helpful video:
Courtesy of: www.workoutaholic.net
Purpose: To increases range of motion and mobility of the ankle joint. Begin by slowly rolling each foot clockwise and counter-clockwise through a safe range of motion.
Purpose: To increase blood flow to activate the gluteus resulting in increased power for maneuvers. Begin by standing tall and place one ankle above the opposite knee. Then, slowly sit back with your hips. As soon as you feel a stretch in your glutes, return to standing. You may place your hand against a wall or a car to ensure balance is maintained.
Reverse Lunges with Rotation
Purpose: To warm up the lower body, stretch the hip flexors, increase core activation, and ankle stability. Begin with feet hip width distance apart. Take a strides length distance and bend both knees to a 90 degree angle. Then, rotate your torso towards the front leg. You may add an additional stretch by reaching one arm above your head to increase the stretch of the hip flexor.
Purpose: Engage the core and increase flexibility in the lower back. Begin lying on your back with arms placed in a T. Raise your feet off the ground and have knees bent at a 90 degree angle. Slowly rotate knees through a safe range of motion to one side of your body. Return back to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
Purpose: This ensures blood flow to your power source; ie. Your Glutes! Begin standing tall and then sit back with your hips and lower your body with your chest lifted to a comfortable range of motion of the hips and knees. Then slowly rise up to the starting position.
Purpose: Opens up the chest and stretches the pec’s and warms up the shoulder girdle. Begin with arms extended to a T, then hug your arms across your chest then return to starting position.
Purpose: This will increase mobility in the shoulder girdle and brings blood flow to your chest and upper back for paddling. Begin slowly rotating arms in a backward circle pattern and then reverse.
Standing Trunk Rotations
Purpose: The spine is your axis of rotation for your core musculature and rotating through your torso helps increase blood flow for a greater transfer of force for executing powerful and rotational maneuvers. Begin with arms in a T and feet wider than hip width distance. In a fluid motion, rotate to one side and return to back to center to repeat towards the opposite direction.
Purpose: This helps increase range of motion in the low back and hamstrings which is important for a crouched position in the barrel. Begin standing tall and arms above head. Slowly fold forward with knees straight through a comfortable range of motion to end at your toes. Hold for a few seconds to feel the stretch and slowly return to starting position.
Go surf already!
Photos courtesy of: www.workoutaholic.net