All of the moves below are dynamic in nature to calm tight muscles and allow energy or chi “the life force within” to move freely. Awaken the nervous system and reset tissues to flow with ease maximizing functional output. When performing dynamic exercises stay loose, keep movement fluid. It is important not to hold any position for more than three seconds prior to activity. This sequence of exercises is meant to be performed in this order.
1. Caveman foot shift – squatting down, extending arms out grasping the shaft of the paddle, shift weight onto the balls and the toes of the foot then rock back shifting weight onto the heels. Each position should not be held Continue rocking back and forth 6xs.
Paddler Benefits: turns on the nervous system, activates the arch, reduces foot cramps, adds in ankle flexibility and heightens proprioception.
2. Hands/wrist/fingers – continuing in the bent knee caveman stance, place hands in prayer position in front of chest, spread fingers as wide as you can, pointing your elbows outward, pressing hands together, pull hands downward towards the ground feeling the stretch in your fingers. Now keeping hands in the same position, point fingers toward the ground and pull wrist toward the chin feeling the stretch in the wrist.
Paddlers Benefits: increases dexterity of the hands, increases mobility in the wrist and opens the forearms
3. Paddle Reach Lat Lengthener – place palm on top of the t-grip with the blade in catch position on the ground. Placing pressure on the blade with extended elbow and shoulder, bend the knees and drop into a squat, lengthening the lat muscle.
Paddlers Benefits: the lat (the biggest muscle in the upper body) runs into the hip and its functional reach provides better positioning of the shoulder and more torque in the stroke.
4. Pectoral paddle opener – begin with feet shoulder width apart with hands on the paddle in A frame position (make sure the top hand is placed properly on the t-handle), turning the paddle horizontal to the ground at chest height. To begin the movement, the lower hand drives the shaft into the palm of the t-grip hand raising the hand to initiate a stretch response in the chest pectoral region while opening the shoulder joint. Angle it at shoulder height level, then return to starting position and then stretch again at 90 degrees. Note there is no rotation of the spine or neck, you should always remain facing forward during the stretch with no rotation in the core.
Paddlers Benefits: Tight pecs pull the shoulder from its ideal axis, nerve pain and trigger points camp out in short tight pec muscles. To get maximum strength out of the lat, stretch out the chest/pectoral area.
5. Side flexion Side Reach – standing feet shoulder width apart, extend arms over head holding on to the shaft of the paddle. Reaching out of the waist line, extending up as you fold to the side, stay active don’t hold for more than three seconds. Return back to center and repeat to the other side for a total of 6 xs per side.
Paddler Benefits: Tightness here in the Quadratus lumborum limits just how much the hip can do and one’s ability to do any advanced paddle techniques.
6. Spinal Swing – start off with feet facing forward, hands on the shaft a little further than shoulder width apart. Begin by keeping feet firmly planted on the ground, square forward while rotating body side to side, swinging from the upper body only, raising hands with each arrival at the opposite side. Once hands have reached directly above your head continue the motion moving in a descent. Once you have reached the starting position continue rotating arms from side to side, this time pivoting on the ball of your foot lifting the heel, opening the hip, rotating the spine even more, extending your range of motion. Ascend till your hands reach above your head upon which you begin the descent back down to starting position. Do this a total of 10xs back and forth with fluid movement.
Paddlers Benefits: When the spine is warm and open, repetitive twisting, rotating and extending/flexing begins to flow much easier, in turn one will avoid injury and increase performance.
7. Reverse lunge with paddle rotation – Begin in standing position with feet shoulder width apart. Hands need to be on the paddle shaft with blade low to the ground, hip width, with arms extended chest high. Step back into a deep bent knee lunge, while also rotating the upper body (paddle in hands) toward the forward leg. Extend reach as far to the back on the side of the forward leg as you can. Return to starting position and repeat opposite side. Each ending range of motion should never be held for more than three seconds. Start with a set of 6 on each side and work up to 10.
Paddlers Benefits: One of the best integrated full body movements to prep the whole body for board time.
8. Overhead squat – start with feet forward, shoulder width apart, hands on the paddle shaft a little more than shoulder width, extending arms over head as straight as you can. With feet flat, weight in the heel, drop down into low squat with the arms extended straight up. Return to starting position and repeat up to 10xs.
Paddlers Benefits: gets the ankle, knee, hip and lats activated, opens up the posture. A great one for long paddles and finding weakness and imbalances within ones energy.
9. Cross crawl - extend both arms up straight above the head. Now bend the right arm driving the elbow to the midline of the body while raising the left leg connecting the opposite elbow and knee together. Then repeat on the other side .Do this for a total of 10x
Paddlers benefits: The cross crawl is a therapy energy balancing movement to unblock the flow between the right and left hemispheres of the brain. A great mind body tune up and multiple joint warm up as well.
Enjoy the Glide...
See all the Fit-toPaddle Workouts on the Health & Fitness Blog.