4 SIMPLE surf training tools to help you manage your body
When you find something you love, you want to hang onto it. You want that special something to be part of your everyday life, for as long as you live. Sounds romantic but ask any surfer and their eyes will begin to twinkle as they talk about their love and passion for surfing. It is an addiction. So how, as surfers, do we make sure we can keep doing what we love? How can we prevent injury and manage our bodies so that we can surf into old age? If we compete, how do we make sure our bodies are in optimal working order? After all, a sub-optimal body will mean sub-optimal surfing.
I have screened and worked with many surfers and there is a common thread, a need to manage the basics and decompress the body. This thread can be seen at a WCT level, all the way down to the “weekend warriors” and is what lead to the creation of our Surf Conditioning Workshops. Currently, I am feeling the need to sum up some information, so that this can be passed on. My goal is to help as many surfers as possible manage their bodies and surf better, for longer. So here are some of the tips I have been consistently passing on to surfers:
1. Feel your feet – from your toes to your heels
Get them active and engaged. Our feet have 26 bones, 33 joints and more than 100 muscles, ligaments and tendons. They are designed to move, absorb and transfer force, helping us to project forwards and upwards. Our feet help us maintain our balance and provide useful information to our brains about where we are in space. You can imagine how important this is for surfing.
2. Ankles need to be able to flex
As an example, if you suffer from tightness in your ‘calf muscles’, you may be restricting how far your ankles can flex. This lack of flexion in the ankles will need to be taken up elsewhere in the body. Sometimes, compensation can present as a rotational pattern that leads to hip impingement. Likewise, compensation can also be seen as a hunching of the back as someone pumps down the line. Get some shots or video of your surfing and have a look.
3. Get your butt working and hips rotating
Surfers ask a lot of their hips, including rotation in low-range squat positions. Because of this, hip impingement seems to be a common complaint from surfers. Surfers need to keep their hip joints rotating and optimal joint alignment is important for this. Enter the hip stabilisers, including the good old ‘glute’ muscles.
4. Unstick and stabilise your shoulder blades
Approximately 50% of our surfing session is spent paddling. Essential to this is the operation of the shoulder blades, in relation to the shoulder joint and the rib cage. Faulty movement patterns can lead to that cranking neck pain, which stops you from paddling and ends your session early. If you want more paddle power, more paddle endurance and better pop-ups, you need to understand how important it is for your shoulder blades to be functioning. Key things to look at include how rolled forward your shoulders are, how tight you are in your chest and if your shoulder blades come off the back of your ribcage when you are standing or sitting. These factors can indicate poor stability and operation of the shoulder blades.
How well is your body moving?
How well your body is moving is essential to your surfing performance and reducing your risk of injury. There are simple exercises that you can do to prepare your body for an epic session. Each of these exercises can help to optimise your joint alignment and keep you surfing without pain, for longer. Re-ignite your relationship with surfing by getting your body working better. If you would like more tips and information, book in for a surf training assessment today. Send through an email and say hi; firstname.lastname@example.org. Have fun!