A Windsurfers Work Out
The breeze is picking up, no time to chat with anyone. It is now time to be on the water living the lifestyle we’ve chosen while doing the sport we are all passionate about! WINDSURFING…
As we all know, even with all the new and light equipment, windsurfing is a demanding sport for the whole body, which means we need stamina and strength if we want to stay out on the water for hours.
Ladies, as you have already noticed, once you get addicted to this sport, you first get calluses on your palms, then you start seeing your forearm veins popping out and then you develop “wings” – lats. Some get it more than the others depending on the body type and time devoted on the water. And guess what, there is absolutely nothing wrong about having “wings” and nicely toned arms. The key is to keep these muscles strong enough so that any overuse injuries will be prevented and that you will be able to spend more time windsurfing.
A quick overview on a windsurfer’s anatomy:
Upper Back – Latissimus Dorsi (Lats), Infraspinatus (Rotator Cuff)
Abdominals – Obliques, Upper Rectus Abdominus
Arms – lower arms, Biceps
Legs – Quadriceps (especially for the Slalom speeders), calves (especially for those tricksters), ankles
Upper Back and the abdominal muscles provide you with the strength to resist the power of the wind as well as keeping you in balance. Arms become your tool to control the sail – especially if your harness lines are set correctly. By the grip and positioning of your hands, you apply pressure to the boom and to the mast to maneuver the sail and to lead you to your next move (ie. Jibing, jumping, tacking, etc.) And your legs, needless to say, they are your anchor to the board. They create stability and help your abdominals and upper back by directing the force down to the board.
PLANK TO SIDE TWIST
This is the perfect move to get your whole trunk stabilized and strengthened.
This is also the best move to start your workout routines as it focuses greatly on perfect trunk form.
POSITION – On your toes and on your elbows
BACK – Upper back straight, lower back up
BUTT – Down
- When you twist, stack your legs and keep your hips up. From your heels to your shoulders, it should be a perfect line
- If you can’t balance once you twist, put the upper leg in the front (ONLY IF YOU CAN’T BALANCE)
6 Reps (on each side)/2 sets/3 days a week
As challenging this move is, there are a lot of modifications that can help you.
GRIP– Palms facing you (what differentiates pull-ups from chin-ups)
ABS – Engaged to prevent you from swinging
LEGS – Bent
- Australian Pullups – Use a bike rack/railing (2-3 feet off the floor)/table to hold
- Assisted Chinups – Weight assisted chinup machines
- If you cannot perform a single chinup, jump yourself up using the floor and VERY SLOWLY bring yourself down
- DO NOT GIVE UP!
1 to 4 Reps (depending on your level)/1 or 2 sets (depending on your level)/2 days a week (days that you don’t windsurf)
Even though everyone dreads this move, it benefits the whole body. One key thing to success = PERFECT FORM.
HANDS – Slightly wider than shoulder width apart (to focus on the back)
BACK – Straight
BUTT – Down
LOWER BACK – UP! (Avoid bringing your lower back down)
- Modification: Keep it on your knees
- From your shoulders to your heels (if on toes)/behind the knee (if on knees), there should be a straight line.
- Keep the counts slow – hold for half a second when you come down before pushing up.
- Do not STATIC STRETCH BETWEEN sets! (When you do a static stretch in the middle of a workout, you tell your muscles to relax. As a result, they do not give you the full power later on during the workout.)
10 Reps/2 sets/3 days a week (days that you don’t windsurf)
Unlike the last two moves, this one focuses on your smaller muscles.
POSITION – Sitting on a bench/chair
FOREARMS – On your quadriceps with palms facing up
- Forearms should never lose contact with legs
- The only part that moves should be your wrists curling the weight up
10 Reps/3 sets/12 rep max(a weight that you can work only for 12 reps)/2 days a week (days that you don’t windsurf)
This move helps us also with stabilization.
POSITION – Laying down on your side
LEGS – Slightly bent, stacked up (for more balance, bring the upper leg to the front
HANDS – Behind your hand
- Always look towards your side
- When you twist, look towards your feet and hold it there for half a second
12 Reps (on each side)/3 sets/3 days a week
If you want better performance in your windsurfing DURING the season, do your strength training on off days or days that you don’t get to sail much. Make sure to give your body a rest and drink A LOT of WATER – not necessarily ocean water!
Enjoy your LONG sessions!
Nesrin Umur Lueck – aka ‘Nes’
CSCS (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist) by NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association)
YMCA Trainer and Group Exercise Coordinator
Windsurfing years: 20
Windsrufing level: Advanced - currently focused on freestyle
Awards: 3rd in Turkish Nationals 1999
Equipment Sponsors: Tabou, Gaastra