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Part 1 -Lie on back, bend knee and place feet flat on floor, hip width apart and toes pointing straight ahead in parallel -Pressing feet strongly into the floor, raise hips as high as you can, using your glute muscles and hamstrings (backs of legs). Try to achieve a straight line across the front of the hip in full bridge REPEAT X 8 FULL BRIDGE, FOLLOWED BY 16 PULSES Part 2 -Repeat Part 1 with one leg raised, bridging on one supporting leg. Ensure bottom kne stays in line with centre of bottom foot REPEAT X 8 FULL BRIDGE, FOLLOWED BY 16 PULSES, BOTH LEGS Part 3 -Repeat Part 1 and 2 with HEELS RAISED. Do not lower heels for entire exercise. Ensure foot does not roll outwards over outside of foot, towards baby toe. Place more pressure under big toe and inside of foot. Keep inside of heel bone in line with centre of hips REPEAT X 8 FULL BRIDGE, FOLLOWED BY 16 PULSES, BOTH LEGS THEN SINGLES Part 4 -Repeat Part 1 and 2 in TURN OUT position (knees open to frog/diamond shape). Use outer edge of foot to push off floor, activating outside of upper leg and hips to bridge REPEAT X 8 FULL BRIDGE, FOLLOWED BY 16 PULSES, BOTH LEGS THEN SINGLES
Why are these exercises important? The hip bridges fire up the upper hamstrings and glutes, targeting small groups of muscles that are vital for full extension and powering from the backs of legs to help raise the hips and not sink back in the pelvis. The bridges with heels raised strength a group of muscles just above the knee joint, called the VMO, which assist in stabilizing the knee and ensuring that the leg is fully stretched in extension (knee caps full lifted). Bridges in turnout build strength and stability in external rotation and any circular movements of the leg. This series is crucial for building stability, balance and tracking of the knee joints when on the surf board, as well as building the power to pop up and ride that wave…
Just as it is essential to ‘wakeup’ and prepare our body before we hit the surf, there are a few stretches and warmup exercises we can do to ready ourselves for an intense dance class. Before you move into any stretch, you first want to ensure that your muscles are warm. Stretching with cold muscles places you at risk of tearing and straining the tissue.
To heat up the lower body before moving into a stretch, try this hip opener to get the blood moving and start your internal furnace:
-place one hand on a barre or counter top for stability
-begin to swing outside leg, slightly turned out from the hip and bent at the knee, from the front to the back in a ‘pendulum’ action
-ensure that there is no tension in the hip joint; allow the weight of the leg with gravity to drop to the floor as you brush from front to back
-release tension in hip, although ensure ribs remain closed and navel draws in towards spine to project the lower back
-repeat x 32, both sides
-next, face the barre or counter top and repeat swings, this time opening leg to the side, then allow it to drop and swing across the body (sideways pendulum)
-imagine a string attached to the knee cap, drawing the thigh up and then releasing to fall back towards the floor
-ensure torso does not move or twist with the action of the leg; remain still and square in upper body
-repeat x 32 each leg Now you are warm and open in the hips, ready to move into some basic stretches before you begin class!
PASSIVE HAMSTRING & GLUTES STRETCH
-face barre or counter top and place one leg up, extended to the front, ensuring square hips
-raise opposite arm and bend forward, crossing hand over to outside of leg
-bend and stretch standing leg slowly 4 times
-hold stretch with straight standing leg for 2 minutes
-standing tall, extend same arm as raised leg to the side, then twist body towards it and place back of hand against back; use the pressure of the hand pushing to increase the torsion of the twist; breathe and hold for 30 seconds
-finish by folding forward again, this time straight forward, one hand on either side of leg, reaching for barre; hold for 2 minutes
Repeat other leg
-place leg on barre or counter top with 90 degree angle bend at knee, outside of foot resting on barre
-fold body forwards over leg and take hold of barre, one hand on either side of leg; hold for 1 minute
-bend and stretch standing leg slowly 4 times
-rock body in towards barre, decreasing angle at the knee, then back out, increasing angle x 4
-cross two hands to outside of raised foot and pulling body into diagonal stretch; hold for 1 minute
-next, cross hands to inside of raised foot and pull the body once ore into the opposite diagonal stretch; hold for 1 minute
Repeat other leg
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