Your shoulders are designed to function very well but when they don’t, pain is inevitable. This means less energy (the body wants to heal) less spinal rotation (neck, spine and even hips) and less paddle power so that catching waves, duck-diving and paddling are all hampered.
Poor shoulder positioning affects everything down the line (your surfing) and down your spine. Mobility becomes less fluid and weaker movement patterns often emerge in the water. If you want to surf with power and flow, get your shoulders positioned and working correctly. Here’s how…
First, a warning. Surf training principles applied regularly can greatly enhance your surfing body and reduce niggling aches and pains and prevent injury. However… shoulders are often compromised due to excessive spinal flexion and there may be calcification in the vertebrae. Some stretches, lifts and over head movements can be dangerous. If you have spinal challenges, upper spine stiffness or neck pain, visit a spinal specialist first.
How is your spine?
Principle 1 – Alignment
Surfing is all about movement and flow. If your head is not centred over your body – flow is going to be disrupted and pain will eventually haunt you. Not good if you want a strong surfing body.
Always prioritise physical alignment during surfing exercises and training. Also note that lifestyle comes into play – big time. Laptop living, mobile devices and desk jobs come with a price tag. More often than not, back pain, neck pain and you guessed it … shoulder pain.
The Power of Posture
Posture is a power player. Good posture = great function. Good posture = great shoulder function and stronger, functional surfers without shoulder pain. Poor posture = poor shoulder function and weaker, dysfunctional surfers with shoulder pain.
As a surfer, realise that if spinal extension is not addressed, breathing mechanics, spinal rotation and forward arm motion are all negatively impacted. End result – your surfing suffers and paddling will wear down the shoulder joint and create muscular pain in the surrounding tissue.
You want to be able to extend your spine so that your shoulders can move as they were designed. Start by stretching out tight muscles to help realign your body!
Surfers Shoulders & Your Spine
Principle 2 – Basic Movement Patterns
As surfers we are constantly paddling, putting repetitive forces through the shoulder girdle complex. This complex connects to your spine via your shoulder blades and connective tissue / musculature.
In order for that musculature to function optimally your spine must also function optimally. For surfers that often means increasing spinal mobility. Each disc is designed to move, rotate and flex / extend to some degree – in particular the middle part of your back; known as the T-Spine or Thoracic Spine.
Your goal is to improve spinal mobility so that down the spine (hips) and up the spine (shoulders) will be in the best position to heal, energise and minimise injury from paddling.
Small Movements Big Results
Your shoulders are vital for surfing, so look after them! Be consistent with your efforts to improve your posture and mobility – after all – living in a healthy, pain free body is worth every cent. Especially if you reduce the chance of injury, increase paddle power and catch more waves for the rest of your life.
Stay focused and do what you have to do.
To watch videos of all the movements, restrictions and corrections in this article visit the blog over at SurfTrainingSecrets.com
Surfing Fitness & High Performance Coaching
Remember, surfing is your medicine – so be at your best. For speaking engagements or private performance coaching to improve your surfing mind-body, health and fitness contact Hayden at email@example.com
New Fast Surfing Fitness training program coming soon in 2018.
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Hayden Rhodes (Club Manager of Phukets Finest Health Club) is the creator of Surf Training Secrets. If you love surfing or snowboarding and want to get surf fit fast and build a body to last, go visit SurfTrainingSecrets.com