When your spine doesn’t move enough, your joints and spine can stiffen over time. As surfers, this acn easily impact our ability to paddle and of course, our mobility while up and riding waves. This pre-surf warm up is a good aid in keeping your spine mobile.
Regularly warming up before surfing will:
1. Increase the range of motion in your body.
2. Relax the connective tissue and the muscles around and alongside your spine.
3. Stretch and strengthen the muscles that stabilize the spine.
4. Decrease the tension around the lower part of your back.
Keep in mind that mobility and flexibility are not the same. You can be flexible in static stretching positions but still lack mobility during movement. Someone with great mobility is able to perform movement patterns with no restrictions in their range of motion. This is what you are looking for to improve your surfing. Meanwhile, a flexible person may or may not have the coordination, balance, or strength to execute the same movement.
Before: not enough spinal flexibility
After: adequate spinal flexibility, allowing for better posture while paddling, more efficient movement of the arms, and shoulders
So, how do you warm up your spine properly for better paddling?
Well, you always want to concentrate on a controlled and gentle spine movement. Try to move your spine like a snake moves its body, with each motion originating from your lower back.
1. Start on all fours with the knees under the hips and palms directly under the shoulders.
2. First, arch your back up toward the ceiling.
3. Take a deep inhale and lift your ribcage during rounding of the back.
4. Round your back like an angry cat and try to relax your neck as much as possible.
5. Look back and down to your knees.
6. Drop your chest toward the floor and lift your head slightly.
7. Exhale and arch your lower back, pushing your chest forward.
This is a simple, but powerful exercise. Do you want the sequence for a five-minute pre surf warmup? I have made a one page cheat sheet that will help you with that.