Mark Phillips from ‘Stand Up Fitness & Wellbeing’ is back! Continuing with his SUP survival series, which focuses on several aspects of health and fitness, lifestyle and nutrition, rest and recovery, and advice on how to implement these key elements into your busy schedules.
Become a bullet proofed paddler
Welcome to part 2 of this 3 part article. The 3 articles cover everything you will need to know to keep you fit, well and injury free whilst on and off the water, so that you’re ready for anything.
I wanted to cover this complex subject as I’ve been noticing more and more that people are getting injured or just making themselves sick and run down from not eating, preparing, or recovering and resting in the correct fashion which ultimately means less time on the water.
Following on from the first part which covered the nutritional requirements to keep your mind and body in tip top condition from the inside out, we are now moving on to the physical aspects required to make you a more efficient, bullet proofed paddler.
DO THE S.O.D
Keeping your core, shoulders and back strong, yet flexible is absolutely paramount in performing at your best consistently. Therefore an exercise regime should be performed on non-paddling days to keep you in great shape for your next escapade on the water, and of course to help you avoid injury!! (At least 3 times a week if you have a busy schedule)
If you’re familiar with cross-fit you’ll know what a W.O.D is (Workout Of The Day). These are specific functional movements designed to keep your whole body primed and ready for action. With that in mind, the S.O.D (Stand-Up Of The Day) is my take on this. To get this done quickly and efficiently I like to employ two different methods: HIIT for shoulders and back, and Tabata for the core. For those who don’t know what this is I’ll explain;
HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training in a nutshell is a short period of intense anaerobic exercise (like 20 or 30 sec) followed by a short period of recovery (very similar to downwind paddling). This should always be preceded with a warm up phase, with a light weight for at least 2 minutes. HIIT is a form of cardiovascular exercise that has been shown to improve athletic performance in individuals. A common formula involves a 2:1 ratio of work to recovery periods, for example: 30 seconds all-out effort followed by 15 seconds recovery. These short, intense workouts provide improved athletic capacity and condition, improved glucose metabolism, and improved fat burning.
Tabata is a version of HIIT based on 20 seconds of ultra-intense exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated continuously for 4 minutes (8 cycles). As with HIIT, Tabata is anaerobic mostly with aerobic benefits. In other words, you become stronger whilst improving your athletic performance. Tabata is a form of cardiovascular. Tabata training can be done with a number of different exercises. The idea is to use an exercise that gets the whole body involved or at least the major muscle groups. Tabata Training can be done with barbells, dumbbells, kettle bells or just bodyweight exercises, but for this purpose we are going to be using it just for our core area.
Here is the HIIT shoulder and back routine which cycles from one exercise to the next, and so on for each set. 2-3 sets using a weight that you can manage for the entire routine is paramount and please remember to warm up for at least 2 minutes with a very light weight before commencing the HIIT routine!!!!
For the shoulders, maintain the torso in a stationary position (no swinging), lift the dumbbells with a slight bend on the elbow, hands slightly tilted forward. Exhale as you execute these movements and pause for a moment at the top. Lower the dumbbells back down to the starting position in a controlled manner as you inhale.
For the bent over laterals make sure you maintain a nice flat back with slightly bent knees and squeeze the shoulder blades together at the top of the movement for best results, breathing as before.
As regards the bent over rowing segment of each rotation, start with bent knees, arms shoulder width apart and reach out at approximately 45 degrees. This will help to stretch your Lats which will help with a good reach when paddling. Don’t allow the wrists to break at all. Now, draw back your elbows keeping your arms close to the body and squeeze the back muscles at the top of the movement pausing for a moment before returning to the start position. I like to slightly raise the angle of my torso maintaining a flat back as I draw up my elbows purely to engage and strengthen my lower back whilst hitting the Lats with the rowing movement. Remember to exhale for the positive phase and inhale for the negative phase.
Form-tip: Try to keep your core activated throughout for stability and good form, and avoid over extending the spine by staying in a flatter more neutral position.
Repeat each different movement for 20 seconds at around 80% of your max intensity with 10 second rests. Don’t put the dumbbells down at all until all 2-3 sets have been completed!!
I also like to work on my shoulders rotator cuffs of which there are 4. These muscles and their tendons act to stabilize the shoulders, and is one of the muscle groups that paddlers damage quite frequently along with the serratus muscles which we’ll talk about another time.
Here is the Rotator Cuff routine. It’s not about heavy resistance when working the rotator cuffs, it’s all about form, really focusing on posture and fluidity of movement. 3 sets of 10-12 for each movement is ideal:
I like to use resistance tubes for this and simply shut one end in a door for an anchor point. I use the ones from Fitness Mad as they are by far the best I’ve used. You can shut the protected, flattened section near the grip in a door, or use the supplied door attachment to do any number of other exercises such as rowing or shoulder pressing. Use a tube with suitable resistance that you can manage for the entire routine. Make sure you maintain good form throughout with the elbow pinned to your side and a nice straight back. Simply rotate the shoulder joint externally and internally for both sides, making sure not to let the wrist break. When you perform the elevated rotations make sure to keep your hips and chest solid and square and simply rotate your arm in its socket and again don’t allow the wrist to break.
Both the positive phase and the negative phase should be controlled and remain mindful throughout! As before, exhale during the positive phase and inhale during the negative phase.
Form tip: Make sure you apply resistance on the negative phase for best results and keep the towel squeezed between the arm and the torso as this will help you to maintain correct form throughout. As before keep your core activated for stability and good form to avoid any unwanted injuries.
Top tip: With any form of exercise, start off with an intensity and volume you can handle, but always give your all without injuring yourself in the process. There’s nothing wrong with pushing yourself as long as you feel able, and there’s no shame in stopping if it’s all too much. We all have to start somewhere!
Q. So, our shoulders and back have been bullet proofed. What’s next?
A. That’s right; it’s time for some Tabata Core fun!!
Here is the Tabata routine: I’m going to give you a nice little movie to watch for this one so please click on the clip and enjoy:
The only exercise I would add here are glute bridges. The reason for this is that they re-activate lazy glutes (butt muscles) and can help to overcome lower back pain and strengthen the hamstrings at the same time. Most people whether they like it or not have week glutes and hip flexors. These are just a few of the core muscles. The core is not just the Abs which I hear all the time! Glute bridges can be added to the Tabata workout no problem.
Here’s how to do it: Lie flat on the floor and tilt up your tail bone so that the small of your back rests against the floor, and squeeze your glutes. This will help to keep the core activated throughout the movement.
Now push your hips up until you reach full extension.
If you feel it in your lower back you are over extending and need to back off and focus on clenching those butt cheeks.
As with the other Tabata movements in the video, hold for a count of 20 and then return to the floor keeping the glutes clenched for 10 seconds.
Just add these on to the end of the planks and do the 2 rounds as normal.
Form tip: Some people find it more comfortable to lift their toes off the ground, while others prefer their feet flat on the floor. Either way works.
Make it harder: Keep one leg in the starting position and extend the other out straight one side at a time or
if you really want to go nuts, place a weight plate on your stomach (yeah right!!)
That’s us all done for the first part of this article. You should hopefully have a few aces up your sleeves now to make the most of your time on and off of the water and don’t forget, one of the most important things for avoiding injuries and maintaining a healthy, happy lifestyle is rest and sleep!!
Next time we’ll carry on with this topic where I’ll show you the ultimate leg and hip flexor workout and cover pre-paddle warm-ups and stretching routines which will aid you in avoiding injury and down time which I know we all hate!!
Until then, Mahalo for reading and see you on the water – Mark (from Stand Up Fitness and Well Being)
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Persons who are of good health, suspect of their health or are aware of any conditions, physical deficiencies or diseases should always consult a physician before undertaking any eating or exercise program.
Not all the information supplied in this article is to be considered as medical advice unless otherwise stated in provided reference material, and is therefore for educational purposes only.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank some people whom without their support and kindness I would not be able to do what I do!!
I would like to thank Nicola Todd who is a Clinical Hypnotherapist and Cognitive Behavioural Therapist.
With her help I have managed to come to terms with cancer and my eating disorder that I mentioned in my first article, and for the first time in about 5 years I actually feel like I’m in control again, and I feel so much healthier as a result.
Nicola used CBT Mindfulness and EMDR techniques to help crack my code and I feel like I owe her my life. Please check out her website if you think you could benefit from her help as I have. www.hypnotherapykingston.com
I would like to thank Scott Warren from Tushingham/Starboard for all his on-going help and support. You’re a top man Scott and I look forward to seeing you soon!! www.tushingham.com
I would like to thank all the guys at Holy Sport and FCS for their help and advice. Thanks Jon and Liam!! www.holysport.co.uk eu.surffcs.com
I would like to thank all the guys at Quick Blade especially Jim and Hugo for their support and amazing service. You guys are awesome!! www.quickbladepaddles.com
I would like to thank John Tarrant from Bradshaw Taylor, suppliers of Icebreaker Merino Wool sports and leisure clothing and Keen Footwear amongst others for his kindness and friendship, and of course amazing products. bradshawtaylor.com
Last but not least I would like to thank Nick and the guys down at Wittering Surf Shop/Drift-In Café for their kind help, support, laughs and amazing food. www.witteringsurfshop.com