ADVANCED CORE TRAINING
by Suzie Cooney, CPT
Core training is absolutely necessary for all ages and all levels of fitness. The core is simply everything excluding your extremities, however in the following exercise the legs and arms do assist the core to execute this advanced plank move.
Start Position Plank
Here, my client Juliet Bundschuh, has recently advanced to the INDO Board Stabilizing Plank. With her feet together behind her, arms locked at shoulder width part, and chest over the INDO Board, she is using all of the finer and deep pelvic floor muscles to keep her centered and steady. In addition, she requires upper body strength to keep her body supported on the board.
While keeping her head in a neutral position, she will start here and then move the board to the left and right, while engaging the core muscles to bring her back to the center, start position and repeat. The trick is to take away any stress you may feel in your wrists, arms or shoulders and bring it back to the center. Also be careful not to let the board slide out.
The advanced progression is then to left one leg behind you about 6-12 inches off the floor and continue the same. Here, she will notice her glutes to fire more actively on the supporting leg that is still on the ground. Very impressive Jules!
Jules’ training always includes core training. Core training prepares the body for the workout or heavier demands in exercising.
To advance this move even further to the next left, I may put the Gigante INDO Board Disc underneath her feet! Crazy action occurs throughout the entire body.
I hope you enjoyed this quick, advanced training tip.
To learn more about my training techniques you can follow me on Face Book to: http://www.facebook.com/suzietraninsmaui or http://www.suzietrainsmaui.com
Suzie Cooney, CPT of Suzie Trains Maui See you on the water!
To get your INDO Board, click here! Jules’ awesome, new training shoes are the OluKai Kia’i Trainer.
A Four Star Stand Up Paddling Adventure at the Zancudo Lodge in Costa Rica
by Suzie Cooney January 2011
Exploring by SUP in Costa Rica
One of many gorgeous sunsets!
I’m fortunate to live in a paradise called Maui, however after recently returning from a new found paradise in Southern Costa Rica, I can now appreciate my new discovery of one of the most beautiful, friendly, places on earth. Warm water, waves and beautiful accommodations is what I discovered. (see all photos below in slide shows )
I was kindly invited by Gregg Mufson, the owner of the Zancudo Lodge; to experience what I can easily say was a first class, four star adventure. Our mission was to scout out the waters, meet the gracious staff and survey the grounds for my SUP stand up paddling clinic he is hosting this April 2011.
On New Year’s day, my arrival to the city of San Jose, Costa Rica I encountered a very smooth transfer from the helpful driver at the airport to the exquisite Intercontinental Hotelwith a comfortable suite. The next morning, after a delicious breakfast buffet, the same driver appeared on time in the lobby ready to take me to local airport where again they welcomed me by first name. Off I went on the modern SANSA plane to Golfito where I would then be greeted by another driver to the boat, which would take me on an exciting ride to the lodge.
Plane ride to town of Golfito
The short plane ride down to the lodge was amazing. Below you could see the gorgeous Dulce coast and the dense jungles with many farms that were scattered throughout.
The plane touched down easily on a small strip and the airport itself had so much character and flavor with, once again my driver looking for me before I could grab my bags!
The colorful town of Golfito reminded me of mine, Paia in Maui. Although we only have one stop light, they have none. The population is roughly 450 people with quaint shops and restaurants and smiles everywhere. My driver spoke very good English so that was helpful to me, since my espanol could have used some practice.
Like clockwork, as I was comfortably waiting at the marina, along came one of the 15 boats from the Zancudo Lodge. The captain welcomed me, grabbed my bags and off we went down the waterways to the lodge. The air was warm and the jungles we passed very thick and I wondered what or who lived in them. On occasion I’d see a gorgeous private bungalow too.
Gregg himself was at the dock and helped me to land. All of his boats were lined up to serve and accommodate us for our private SUP adventures. I was very impressed! My bags were taken for me and I was escorted to the main hall and delighted with a fabulous lunch. The staff made me feel right at home.
My 600 square foot private bungalow was fabulous. I opened the door and thought I had entered the Four Seasons or a modern W hotel. Gregg’s wife, Goldine Wang has impeccable taste and appointed the room just perfectly. This stand alone suite I was in, also called the Junior Suite was gorgeous. It had rare purpleheart hard wood floors, open ceilings with bright light, air conditioning, a very comfortable king size bed, complementary WIFI, flat screen TV, safe deposit box, beautiful bamboo linens and of course a cozy robe and personal slippers. It also had a private sitting terrace. (more photos below)
In the main part of the lodge, the other 12 rooms were appointed in a similar fashion,350 square feet, but had 2 plush, full beds and are just steps away from the main dining hall and bar, adjacent to the inviting pool with teak, comfortable, padded chase lounges.
One can also reserve the impressive Master Suite which is beach front, 1200 square feet, inlcudes a home theatre, separate bedroom and large living space with an outdoor lanai perfect to enjoy the sunsets.
Although I had a bit of jet lag, Gregg was very eager to get us on the water and paddling! I needed the rest of the day to adjust and enjoyed walking on the beach right in front of the lodge that seemed to extend for miles. The water is warm and it’s great for shell hunting.
The weekend I arrived, New Years, is a busy holiday for the local Ticos. The beach was lively and full of warm and friendly waves and smiles. Gregg said that
One can walk for miles on the beach in front of the lodge
tomorrow, it would be dead and very quiet. He was right. The beaches were empty and it was great to stroll as the only one on the beach.
My dinner the first night was outstanding. As a treat, Gregg had a visiting chef named Stephan who prepared us a special shrimp appetizer skewered on sugar cane with a light, tasty lime drizzle. Wow! To follow, a lovely plate of fresh vegetables harvested from the property, fresh dorado caught that day and a side salad.
Finally, the next day our first SUP exploration out in the Bay. Gregg is a stickler for being on time and ready to go, and I appreciate that. Boards, paddles and cooler were loaded already on the boat and at 7am we left the harbor! On the boat, an impressive, powerful 32 footer, Wilson, the first mate and captain Tito were so friendly and really knew these waters. The ride was exiting and sure enough, as planned a nice mellow swell just south of the lodge. We have a code not to share the name of breaks for fear it will be over populated. Trust me, it was awesome. You’ll just have to go and ride it for yourself.
We anchored the boat and paddled to the break that was peeling left all day long. Consistent, nice A shaped, and wow, talk about long rides!?!? Crazy! With only 4 of us on the break, you could easily get in 20+ rides or more if you could handle it. Gregg and Sean were showing me the way pointing out the best sweet spot and where the sand bar began.
These are very helpful tips when arriving to a new spot. Second time SUP rookie, Sloan, a fisherman from New York was handling his board really well. Gregg was just a paddling machine and we had a hard time pulling him off the waves when it was time to go.
Although it was only 9 AM, it felt like 1 or 3pm, for we are much closer to the equator. I was sure to lather up some heavy duty sunscreen. If you needed, you could paddle back to the boat, grab a drink and head back out. What service!
Still recovering from a bit of jet lag, I rode all the waves I need to be absolutely convinced that I did not want to leave this place and explore more waves and other water adventures. Di and Yvonne were also charging. At times when I looked over at them, I thought to myself, “wow here comes a decent set and there they were, still paddling and smiling big.” They were stoked!
Back to the lodge, cooling down after an excellent session with new friends, lunch was already being prepared. The menu is fabulous for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I have to say, although as a trainer, their French fries and special BLT sandwiches were delicious. Topped off with a nice cool drink, I was ready for a siesta in one of the hammocks that are perfectly strung under to gorgeous palms with views to die for.
Time seems to stand still there and although this was a semi-working trip I felt pretty relaxed. Often, before dinner, some would grab a volleyball game. Just before dinner is served is when the paddlers and the other guests tend to gather in the main lodge hall. We were treated fresh lime ceviche and I have to admit a nice cold Imperial or my favorite, Corona beer went well!
All the people I met staying at the lodge were friendly and eager to be social. I met nice folks from all over escaping the cold East coast storms. I, of course encouraged everyone to try stand up paddling. Some raised an eyebrow very curious and others actually signed up with the instructor the next day.
When the rest of my crew, Yvonne and Di of Laster Heathman Media arrived we planned a fitness afternoon with Gregg and the other guest for and INDO Board demo day. Luckily Marvin Ortiz, professional photographer was on hand to capture some of the laughter and everyone hanging ten on this new training gear that all the trainers will use for the SUP clinics scheduled in April. Yvonee, Di, Gregg, Sloan and Elie were rock stars!
Here’s a link to all the fun on that day: http://www.standuppaddlingfitness.com/2011/01/indo-board-demo-day-zancudo-lodge-costa-rica-with-suzie-cooney-of-suzie-trains-maui/
monkeys spotted in the jungle!
I think one of the most memorable days was paddling to the wild animal sanctuary and along the way I, DI and Yvonne I think were spotted first by these darling red Spider monkeys, curiously swinging from tree top to tree top. I thought to myself, “WOW” this alone was worth the 16 hour plane ride. The waters along the jungle were a beautiful turquoise blue and green. I could see lots of sea life below, including star fish and other brightly colored fish.
We left the boards with the captain, and hopped off the boat and soon began a guided tour through the jungle. Marvin was our chaperone. We were told not to wear watches, earrings or especially sunglasses, for the monkeys are quick and will steal them off you in a moment and head up a tree. Most glasses we were told do not survive.
This particular wild nature preserve also rescues injured birds and other creatures of the jungle. We learned a great deal about toucans and other exotic animals. The tour itself lasts about 2 hours, but we had to rush back to the lodge for a live radio show broadcast to SUP radio to tell the world about this magical place to stand up paddle.
We had had a full day. Nearing the end our fun filled week, tonight before dinner, Gregg offered to be my partner and teach me the game of bocce ball. He is quite the competitor and has a unique style all his own. Di as well, you could tell she was a very experienced player and a little competitive too!
This professional grade bocce ball court is very special. Gregg spared no expense when he personally had over 1500 pounds of crushed oyster shellsimported all the way from Bellingham, Washington. He’s pretty serious and so were some of his other guests. I had a blast and learn quickly about back spin and bumping other balls. This was a great way to catch the most gorgeous sunsets of the day and work up an appetite before dinner. The warm tropical breezes were always present, and now and then a quick squall of rain would sneak through.
I miss my compadres, Di and Yvonne, I was very sad to pack my bags and leave this special place. I thought Maui was the best for stand up paddling, well I’ve been proven wrong. What the Zancudo Lodge is offering to all levels of stand up paddlers, is an exceptional property and warm waters for everyone. Gregg’s qualified staff can help. He can arrange private rides to best breaks, or you can simply carry your board right from the lodge to the ocean. You are literally steps away. Should the wind pick up in the afternoon, the boat can take you out to see as far as you like for what are called down winders. I recommend this for the experienced ocean folks and experienced paddlers. I’m sure Gregg will want to join you!
Gregg and Goldine, thank you for an experience of a life time and I will be back in April. Your hospitality and ability to make everyone feel so welcome is evident as to why you are such a success. I am telling everyone I know to not only come this spring for the SUP clinics, but really make an effort to see what this lodge has to offer. Simply magnifico!
Suzie Cooney of Suzie Trains Maui
photos provided by Martin Ortiz, Di and me.
Women of all ages and all SUP levels, come join me here at the Zancudo Lodge and let’s have some fun paddling and getting in great shape. We will have other adventurous activities planned as well. Book your reservation now. Space is limited! Click here for more details.
You can also visit: http//:www.standupcostarica.com
The Zancudo Lodge
INDO Board Demo Day at the Zancudo Lodge Costa Rica with Suzie Cooney of Suzie Trains Maui
January 5, 2011 – Reporting from the most beautiful SUP and surf and fishing spot in Southern Costa Rica, The Zancudo Lodge! Owner, Gregg Mufson is hanging ten on the INDO Boardas he and the crew prepare for the surf rolling in this week. I’m here introducing the team on how The INDO Board is great workout for everyone.
We have all the gear from INDO Board, including the new Gigante disc to challenge beginners to the hard core SUP’rs and surfer alike. Gregg, Yvonne, Sloan, Elle, and Di all participated in an afternoon of learning, laughs and some thigh-burning fun. I can tell their addicted and promised them, after this workout we’ll all be ready for any water action tomorrow!
We started the morning on a mellow, slower surface. Next we graduate to the beach to hard pack sand for some faster action and more fun. In such a short time, everyone got their groove on and was hang’n on the nose. I challenged them to an upper body challenge which Gregg, Di and Yvonne immediately worked up a small sweat with the plank and one leg lifted behind them, alternating at 5 – 10 second intervals. Below, Gregg is performing the advanced plank with one or both feet behind him, on a Gigante disc.
The Gigante disc is the newest platform training tool for INDO Board, that inflates up to 12 inches that achieves the 4-way action intended for those who want to enhance their SUP or surf performance. We placed both discs under Gregg’s surf board and what a ride. Inflate it more and hang on!
It’s my favorite piece of equipment in my studio at home. I also use it for clients just recovering from major hip or knee surgery as a rehab element. Today we’ve kept the inflation to 6 inches as my willing participants start their training.
Then off to what I call the core bug. This move is in the prone position requiring glutes and the upper scapular region of the shoulder blades to work in unison as we seek the most stable position. I recommend keeping the head in a neutral position. I also suggest to keep breathing smoothly and hold the position for 15 – 30 seconds. Rest, then repeat 5 times.
In addition to this great core exercise, by placing the INDO Board board directly on top the Gigante, together we performed leg burning same side lunges, for a count of 5-10 each leg.
Gigante sitting came last where Yvonne, Di and Elle gracefully sat on top of the Gigante as feet and hands stayed off the ground lending to an extreme, deep core constant, contraction! Well done girls.
You can tell we’re having too much fun. I can’t wait for this spring when I host my STAND UP For Women’s Health and Fitness in April, here at the lovely Zancudo Lodge! All the gear is here and so is the fun. For more information go to: http:www.suzietrainsmaui.com/events.
This lodge is like staying at the Four Seasons. From warm waves to a cozy robe in your room, excellent food and gracioius staff, to healthy, to amazing food prepared fresh everyday.
Thank you Chip and Hunter at INDO Board, for sending these boards and discs over. Gregg and the others are on their way to be SUP stars.
Pure Vida and Aloha!
Suzie Cooney, CPT of Suzie Trains Maui
photos by Marvin Ortiz
Lisa deep in it!
Motivation. It is the most important aspect of any fitness regime and yet sometimes it is so difficult to find! There are lots of tricks to stay motivated. For me it’s all about doing something I like to do. Then it’s easy to stay active. I also change up my activity… a lot. Winter for me means snow. Lots of snow. I love to snowboard, ski, snowmobile and cross country ski. In summer I enjoy being on the water, at least when the wind is blowing. For the last few years I’ve been learning how to kite surf. Continuing to challenge myself with something new helps me stay motivated. Having a friend to play with is also a great way to stay motivated. Sometimes when the couch seems more appealing than your bike… it’s great to have a cheerleader to help you get moving. And when you have an abundance of energy you get to do the same for your friend.
I’ve always considered myself pretty fit but certainly recognize that there are some big gaps. And at 45 those gaps are getting deeper. 3 weeks ago I was fortunate enough to get invited to tagalong to a Suzie Cooney workout. I hadn’t previously worked with a personal trainer and the session I did was tailored for someone else… but I loved it and immediately booked myself and my husband in for our own sessions with her.
My idea that a personal trainer was akin to an army sergeant couldn’t be farther from the truth. Yet Suzie provides a perfect motivational force! And she is a force. Moving weights back and forth a few hundred times is not on her program which is good because it has never been on my program. I didn’t know you could do some much with an rubber band and a ball. Every training session is different and each session is filled with an incredible variety of exercises. It is never boring. Suzie works hard at tailoring your work out to address each individuals needs. After our sessions my husband and I always compare what we did… and of course.. who is better at what!
I wish that I could take Suzie with me when I am not on Maui because with her help my current fitness goals are getting closer and closer.
Lisa is an inspiring, charging woman. I enjoy training and working with Lisa for she goes to task and beyond with a fierce focus like I’ve never seen. She has broke records in the studio and takes pride in perfecting and executing all the exercises I put forth and eagerly accepts ANY challenge that I place before her.
For example, standing on a stability ball is no easy exercise. Then why don’t you add some dumb bells to the mix and some shoulder presses. Follow this by a grueling “weighted” session on the Vew Do Board, INDO Board and then finish off with a leg burning round of high performance land surfing on the Brett Lickle special SURF BALL trainer pictured here:
Besides her outer beauty, she is a walking, living example of health and fitness and I hope everyone who reads her story will step it up a notch. When you see her photos you know, this is an athlete! Lisa and I have much in common like fast motors, and fast action packed adventure. You can be sure Lisa will be charging on her snowmobile faster than ever with more body confidence and her training will help her in any condition that is demanding of her catlike, quick reactions. Also be sure to look up if you’re kiting or windsurfing on Maui, she could just be soaring over your head catching some big air. She’s also taken a quick learn to SUP and is already stepping into some tight step turns on her second day! She is real and she is mighty and I’m glad to know her.
Suzie Cooney, CPT
Suzie Trains Maui http//:www.suzietrainsmaui.com
Balance Training Makes a Difference for Two Maui Windsurfers
Whether you’re carving off the lip or throwing a forward loop, we’ve all had those days where crazy landings or a gust or lack of wind can really throw you off balance and into the water.
My two clients and good friends, Mike Abrams of Pukalani and Tim Ellison, owner of Polli’s Mexican Restaurant in Makawao, both windsurf just about everyday even after an intense training session. They’ve been kind enough to share a few of the things we do in the studio that transfers directly to the success and performance on the water.
Tim Ellison flying at Kanaha!!
Tim, pictured here loves to sail on the outside of Kanaha quite a ways out and knows that sometimes those jibes aren’t going to be full of wind. With all of the balance training we do he writes: “I must tell you though, what a great session I had yesterday. I can already feel the improvement in my balance,and what a difference it makes. I am even more excited about working with you as I can see the difference already!”
Here, Tim is working on independent leg strength and balance at the same time. The equipment we’re using here is called the INDO Board on top of the inflatable disc, made by INDO Board, called the Gigante.
I feel it’s important to to allow each leg work out the different finite muscles and the supportive muscles that support the hip, knee and ankle joint simultanouesly. Tim is incredibly focused and I often have to stop breaking studio records and move onto the next challenge.
Tim 1 leg INDO Board Gigante Challenge
Tim shows up ready to bring it each and every training session three times a week. If you’re sailing on the water, you’ll be sure to notice him with his smooth style and incredible balance!
TIm on the INDO Board & Gigante Disc Mike knee balancing on stability ball
Mike knee balancing on stability ball
Now Mike Abrams, also a regular at Kanaha, (click here see his article and extra action photos) really loves a balance challenge too. Balancing on a stability ball with your knees takes lots of practice, determination and focus. For Mike, it’s like nothing new. BUT, when we ad a 8 lb medicine ball, everything changes. If you’re just starting out on this move, be sure you practice near a stable object like a treadmill or stationary bike-something to hold onto.
Mike holding 8lb med ball
Balance training should be an integral part of your regular routine no matter what sport you enjoy, or even if you’re just reentering fitness at any level. Having good reaction skills can prevent injuries and unwanted down-time. You don’t have to have fancy equipment like this to make the best of your balance training.
Carve harder, last longer on the water with stronger legs, and get your balance game on! Order all the gear here:
For example, just simply stand on one foot with your knee bent softly and your knee tracking over your second toe. Use a long mirror to see how your body performs and to que yourself. If you like, take a dumb bell and hold it out in front of you and then move from side to side and see how you can control your positon.
Tim and Mike, a big thank you to you for sharing your talents and your experience with everyone! See you on the water.
For more tips and if you’d like to be trained by a professional, I’m happy to help. Call me at 808-283-2121 or visit my webiste at http://www.suzietrainsmaui.com You don’t have to be a windsurfer like Mike or Tim to benefit from balance training.
For more balance tips, check out other articles I’ve written : http://www.athleta.net/chi/2010/04/15/the-new-wave-of-balance-training/
You can also follow me on Face Book: http://www.facebook.com/suzietrainsmaui.
In good health and Aloha,
Suzie Cooney, CPT
Quick Reactions and Good Balance Can Make a Better Stand Up Paddler by Suzie Cooney of Suzie Trains Maui
Whether you surf the big waves of Maui’s North Shore or touring the beautiful channels and waterways of Jupiter, Florida, or on Lake Tahoe, it’s known that if you have good balance and can respond quickly to changing water conditions or obstacles that can come in your path; better chances for a more enjoyable SUP session.
Time and time again I’ve had to call upon some of the tiniest muscles, to fire fast and respond to get me out of trouble or to dodge a turtle on the same wave! I’ve also encountered large pieces of floating debris, strange breaking waves, or other people in my line that I had to have quick reaction times and good balance for recovery to get my footing back.
As a trainer and water sports enthusiast, I’ve always encouraged the importance of trying to mimic similar conditions in your workout program on land. You can keep it really simple or add some fun equipment too.
To me, balance training is like brain training. Without getting too technical, it’s like adding a few more wires to our brain or panels so you’re ready for anything. One technical term I will use is called neuromuscular training. The definition simply means selecting specific exercises that are very specific to increase one’s performance, and trigger the appropriate actions to allow your nervous system to operate and perform functionally at its maximal level.
Your eyes, core, and all of the muscles connected to your central nervous system have an important role to quickly gather information, route it to the right department and fire away. Ever had the feeling like you’re moving in slow motion while during a serious wipe out? I have. It’s the strangest feeling. I’m not sure I’m fond of it and I try really hard to have cat like reactions and excellent balance to avoid that.
Stand up paddling, as simple as it looks does in fact require a little balance when you’re beginning and as you advance. When you’re learning, you’re so busy turning the paddle in the right direction, looking at the horizon and more than likely, gripping the deck with every single muscle in your foot, leading to early fatigue.
Once you’re up and gliding there’s not much to it. But, as you step into your first wave or go down in the size of your board, you may discover you need a little better balance or to retrain your brain to learn again.
Next time you’re in the gym or in your own home gym, start practicing a couple balance techniques to keep your brain and muscles fine tuned.
Equipment: The BOSU, INDO Board, my KIALOA paddle and an 8lb medicine ball or 12 -15lb body bar.
These are advanced moves, so start out slowly and progress safely:
1. BOSU, dome side down with paddle, medicine ball or body bar:
I’ve actually taken a bit of sand paper to roughen up the plastic side of my BOSUs to aid in traction, or have sand on my feet! I recommend barefoot so you can really get the feel of the movements of the BOSU. Step on safely, feet parallel to the plug, posture nice and tall, relaxed looking ahead. Take your paddle, medicine ball or body bar and start to paddle 2 strokes each side. Switch off to mix it up. As you move your arms out and to the side, notice how sensitive the BOSU becomes. I like to try and go to fatigue or until my legs scream!
2. INDO Board on top of dome of BOSU: see photo up topPlace the INDO Board itself on top of the dome of the BOSU. I like to have a little less board off the back to I can really pretend I’m heading down the line. Or if you’re more comfortable to start, place the INDO board so it’s nicely balanced in the center. Change it up. You can place your feet side by side as if you’re cruising and do it that way, or if you’re charging some waves, assume the surf stance.
This time you’ll notice the added extra burn to your back carving leg at the same time looking ahead where you want to go, down the line.
Good balance for stand up paddling is key and important for many things we do in life. Next time you’re on the water, try paddling on one foot, or simply standing on one foot. In the gym, try kneeling on a stability ball for extra fun. Be sure to hang onto a sturdy object at first. Add more air to the stability ball to make it more challenging and fun.
Any questions about these exercises or to learn more, feel free to email me at Suzie@SuzieTrainsMaui.comor check out www.suzietrainsmaui.com and www.standuppaddlingfitness.com
Glide with good posture, react fast and paddle hard!
Aloha, Suzie Cooney, CPT of Suzie Trains Maui
Suzie is a Pro Team SUP Rider for Naish International. Check out her profile here! Follow Suzie on Face Book: http://www.facebook.com/suzietrainsmaui
Suzie is wearing shorts from Athleta click here.
Surfing to Stay Fit, Lose Weight and What Beginners Should Know. Also, Which Muscle Groups are Affected and How to Stay Safe on the Waves
Suzie Cooney, CPT Suzie Trains Maui
Surfing is amazing sport that requires endurance, upper and lower body strength and also good flexibility. What’s great about surfing, is that it’s really a total body sport and get’s you toned and in shape. Most surfers I know are in amazing shape from head to toe!
You can burn a great deal of calories while surfing. Even as a beginner you will challenge muscles you may have not even knew you had! As you are “pulling” your arms through the water as you paddle, that additional resistance is really a workout. Since you are also in the “prone” or face down position, while you are paddling, this places a little more stress on your heart, therefore an opportunity to perform a little cardio.
So most definitely if you are embarking on a weight loss program, surfing can do wonders for the entire body. I encourage all my clients to give it a try to mix up their routine and keep things fresh. They are all so amazed on how strong and lean they can get fast. You don’t see too many out of shape surfers!
Surfing vs. other sports (surfing benefits in staying fit and losing weight)
Our Paige Alms ripp'n at Hookipa Photo by Simone Reddingius
Surfing has so many wonderful health benefits to keep you fit and keep the weight off. Besides being super fun and probably the most challenging sport you’ll ever try, the long-term results are your reward. You have to realize that water is constantly moving in all directions, say vs. a tennis court. Tennis of course is a great sport that definitely gets you in shape, but it doesn’t require the same extra challenges. Surfing requires you to have good balance, fast reactions, and to recruit so many more muscles. It is an explosive movement to hop to your feet and then stabilize and react to the wave or other surfers that may be near you. Also, as mentioned earlier, surfing requires total body endurance which equals more calories burned!
Muscles We Use to Surf
The main muscles that are used are the upper back, lats, shoulders, lower back, neck and legs. Your core muscles, (rectus abdominis, erector spinae, multifidus, internal/external obliques, transverse abdominis, hip flexors) is where all movement begins; must work in unison to keep you stable and steady as you paddle. Your triceps and chest muscles are the ones that will help you push up quickly to your feet. Your upper back and neck muscles assist in keeping your chest up off the nose of the board, so you can be more efficient as you paddle. The low back muscles work hard to support your entire upper body as you paddle. Finally, your legs are the power house that get’s you up to your feet fast and helps you carve your turns or hang ten on the nose!
Exercises and stretches to do before surfing and in the gym.
There are many great exercises and stretches a beginner surfer should learn, that will make surfing way more fun and allow you to last longer on the water. Although there are many theories as to when and how one should stretch, I recommend that before you hit the water one should perform “active” stretches that actually mimic surfing. Active stretching is different than static stretching or holding a stretch for more than 30 seconds. When you are not on the water and are training for your surf sessions, specific surf conditioning exercises are very critical to help build better endurance and strength.
An example of an active stretch would simply be standing on the beach; feet shoulder width apart, and moving your arms independently in large forward and backward circles. A count of 10-15 reps each side is good. Also, head rolls for your neck. Same position, shoulders loose, tilt head down, slowly roll up to the right and then left. A few times each side. Also, quick leg squats to help you to your feet faster and warm up the hips and legs. Stand with feet a little wider than shoulder width apart, toes pointed at 10 and 2 o’clock, grasp hands together in front and at a pace that’s a little fast, squat down then drive up through the heels, down then up. About 10-15 reps is great. You can also throw in some side and forward bends. Lastly, quick shoulder shrugs up and down, then wax and go!
Exercises in the gym or at home could include, lat pull downs, lots of push – ups ( knee bent is fine ), burpees, leg squats and lunges, tricep pull downs, low back exercises and a great deal of core work. For surf conditioning, remember it’s about total body endurance, not lifting a huge amount of weight, but increasing your reps.
IndoBoard Push Up on Disc
Indo Board Push Up on Disc
Check out a few of my beginner and advanced exercises at www.suzietrainsmaui.com/blog. You’ll notice most surfers are lean and don’t have a huge amount of bulk. I’ve trained really big athletes who are professionals and they can’t move as easily, nor are they as quick to their feet. But don’t let that discourage you.
Balance training is also critical to ensure your pop ups are smooth and stable. I have all kinds of training toys that mimic surfing. My favorite is the Indo Board. It’s like training your brain and all the finite muscles that help stabilize the larger muscles of the hips and legs. You can practice standing on one leg and then moving that leg in all planes; front, side and back. To make more challenging, hold an 8lb medicine ball or dumb bell with arms extended in front of you. You can also try and kneel on a stability ball. I love this.. Not only are you helping your balance, you are training your core too. This is an advanced move, to if you would like to attempt this exercise; you may want to hold onto to a sturdy object.
Examples of good surf specific exercises are tricep dips, tricep kickbacks and tricep presses as suggested earlier. In addition, shoulder and lat pull downs, shoulder presses with lighter weights, variations of chest presses or pushups, single leg squats, and burpees ( dropping down into the push up position, then quickly jumping to your feet, then jump in the air ). Or simply, practice your pop ups by lying on the ground like you are paddling. Looking ahead to where you want to go, then in one fell swoop, up to your feet! Do about 10 of these and you’ll be getting your heart rate up!
Is surfing for everybody? Are there medical conditions that affect surfing that beginner surfer should know about?
Continue reading Surfing to Stay Fit, Lose Weight and what Beginners Should Know. Also, what Muscle Groups are Affected and How to Stay Safe