SIMPLE SUP WARM UPJune 14, 2016
The summer weather is finally here and it is bringing the West Coast paddlers out with it. Over the next few weeks, the waters will start filling up with eager guys and girls, all determined to take on the surf and start their SUP adventures with a bang. Unfortunately, many of them will end up leaving early, with completely avoidable injuries, after forgetting to warm up properly.
While it’s a sin that most of us have been guilty of at one time or another, it’s still very risky. No matter what your activity of choice – be it basketball, baseball, or boarding – warming up the muscles and joints is an important part of preparing the body for a strenuous workout. It reduces the risk of injury, increases flexibility, and alleviates tension.
Before getting on your stand up paddle board, it is a good idea to do some dynamic stretching. This kind of warm up is based on motions that are dynamic; stretches and poses that keep the muscles moving all the time. Dynamic stretching warms up the joints and prevents tension within the muscles from causing problems later on, particularly after a very physical water sport.
If you are not used to dynamic stretching, you are advised to begin slow and raise the level of intensity as you work. The following stretches are just a few examples of some of the warm ups that you can do before you hit the surf. You’ll need a paddle for these routines if you’re going to do them at home. Or, alternatively, if you’re working out at the gym, incorporate them into your routine by using a dowel.
Begin standing, with your feet a little over hip width apart from one another. Take your paddle and grasp it in your hands, at a position that’s a little wider than the combined length of your shoulders. Maintain a micro bend at the elbows.
The stretch should start with the paddle held in front of your body. Then, move it over your head and, gradually, down towards the buttocks. It’s important not to use too much pressure or aggressively direct the motion; just let your hands move as far behind you as feels comfortable and natural. Repeat these steps as many times as needed.
Return to your original starting stance, but keep the paddle held up over your head. Your hands should be set apart by around a shoulder width. Use the paddle to draw out ‘O’ shapes in the air, while keeping it held aloft. Pay attention to the movements in your shoulders and the top of your back as you make this shape.
Start this stretch in a partial squat, with your knees bent. Then, hold the paddle level with the floor, but position it on top of your knees. Place your hands on either side of it, in the spaces where it extends past your body. Gradually, dip one shoulder downwards between the knees.
Return to the starting position and then repeat the motion for the opposite shoulder. You should aim to get a slow, but smooth and dynamic series of stretches going. If you hear a crack or a pop, don’t worry. It is just your bones warming up and getting used to the movements.
Upper Back Twists
Next, position the paddle behind your neck, but above your shoulders. Then, let your arms rest along its length. Keep your feet apart by a little over hip width distance. Now, turn your upper back slowly, with your arms staying in position on the paddle. Repeat this motion, in a back and forth pattern. This motion is great for stretching out the thoracic spine and the top of the portion of the back.
Paddle Moon Stretch
This next stretch is a clever twist on the ‘Moon Pose’ that was originally invented for yoga. Bring your feet together, in a starting stance. Hold the paddle with both hands, but position them shoulder width away from one another.
Before you reach upwards, breathe in deeply. As you let the breath out, twist slowly to one side. Repeat the stretch on the opposite side of your body. You should be moving from side to side in a careful and measured, by smooth manner.
The next time that you’re getting reading to head out boarding, take ten minutes to perform these stretches first. You won’t regret it! You’ll feel firmer and stronger on your stand up paddle board and you won’t be at risk of sustaining an injury.