As athletes we all know the importance of stretching before and after our activities or workouts. In this case we are focussing on Surfing and Ballet Fitness. I hit the waters of Nosara twice a day and always do the following 3 pre surf stretches. These are my favourite go- to’s which excite my entire body and stimulate my nervous system. Dynamic stretching is best for pre surf stretching as it will mimic the same movements you will be doing out in the water. These dynamic stretches are meant to “turn on” all the vital parts of the body used in surfing. Surfing is an intense sport and utilizes the entire muscular system of the body so it is important to get the juices flowing before even strapping on your leash. You want to firstly increase your heart rate and then take your muscles through a full range of motion. Paying attention to any injuries you will take your body into movements that mirror those of surfing in slow controlled movements. The entire propose of dynamic stretching before surfing is to warm up the body and prepare it for “movement.” When we surf we are engaging our entire bodies and primarily are using our backs ( not our shoulders ) to propel us forward in order to catch waves. Therefore stretching the lower and upper back is vital to a pre surf session. Your warm up should take about 8-10 minutes long before you are ready to strap up and hit the salty waters. Here is a list of my top three pre surf stretches with descriptions.
Jump rope or Tuck Jumping Jumping rope is an awesome movement to get the heart rate up and blood flowing to the entire body. A study has found that five minutes of continually jumping rope can have the same cardiovascular output as 30 minutes of light jogging. If you don’t have a jump rope with you, use your arms and mimic a rope and do the same moments for jumping rope. For a warm-up, three minutes should be sufficient. My favourite is tuck jumping…. stand in a balanced stance and lift your arms at your ears. Keeping your arms at your ears bring your knees up to you chest and repeat for as many as you can. It is important that every time you land you bend your knees to absorb the jump and use your feet and calves to propel you back up for your next tuck jump. This is a warmup that is used in many sports that use quick movements and in the case of surfing we need this movement for popping up on our boards.
Lower Back Thoracic One Legged Twist Low back rotations – Surfing is extremely hard on lower backs with turns and movements that are taxing on this large muscle group. This exercise will get those sleeping muscles ready and turn on your proprioceptors (they help you balance). To perform this stretch, you want to stand with your big toes, knees, hips and shoulders in line then bring one knee up to hip level so that you’re standing on one leg. Grab the knee that’s lifted with the opposite hand and pull it across your body while twisting at the waist in the other direction. Hold for two or three seconds then return to the starting position and repeat on the other side for a total of 20 repetitions.
Front bended shoulder rolls The rotator cuff and shoulders take a beating while surfing especially if we lack the upper back strength while learning. This is also an area that is subject to injuries therefore we need to make sure that it is warmed up and ready for paddling. Stand in a balanced position with legs shoulder width apart. Bend forward until you feel a slight stretch in the hamstrings. Take both arms up at the ears and in a slow and controlled movements rotate them forwards. It is important that this movement is controlled and the shoulder gets a full rotation in the socket. Repeat this movement backwards. I usually like to warm up my shoulders the most and dedicate 2-3 minutes on this exercise.
For other pre surf stretches ck out http://www.surfstronger.com/tips/ViewTip/5
I have posted videos of each of these stretches on our Facebook and instagram pages. Follow us!
See you in the water Pura Vida xo Natalie