Whether you wakeboard, water ski, paddle board, kayak, surf, the list continues with water sports. Here some very basic exercises that will help improve the three key components of water sports: balance, core strength, and posterior chain.
Balance is one of the most important aspects of water sports. With water being the foundation for these sports, it is critical to have a strong sense of balance. One exercise to improve this aspect is the bosu ball squat (see Figure 1). With being on an unstable environment, it will simulate the same type of environment when being on the water either it being a paddleboard or a wakeboard. This will stimulate more proprietors and will increase control in one’s balance. Simply doing a body weight squat can be changeling to maintain balance. Once this becomes easy to maintain, start incorporating weights to increase the intensity of this exercise.
Figure 1: Bosu Ball Squat
Core strength is essential to all sports and activities. However, having a strong core for water sports is critical to maintain the correct body position. This can be challenging when there is an external force from a 330-horse powered boat (if wakeboarding or waterskiing) or the force from the water when trying to generate power through a paddle. The best core exercise is the plank. Having a variety of different water sports, the plank can be modified in various ways to be specific to each water sport. For example, doing a side plank (see Figure 2) will strengthen the obloquies, glutes and shoulder stabilizers. These are key muscles used coming into a turn when water-skiing. There are many progressions from a side plank to improve the core strength and specificity to each water sport. The side plank is a good place to start for all the different types of water sports.
Figure 2: Side Plank
With the majority of water sports we are always holding on to a handle or paddle and pulling throughout our entire body, utilizing the posterior chain. The posterior chain includes the hamstrings, glutes, erector spinae, trapezious, posterior deltoids and latissimus dorsi. The kettle bell swing is an excellent exercise to target the muscle in the posterior chain. Starting the kettle bell swing, you are activating the hamstrings and glutes (see Figure 3). At the top of the swing, you are activating your upper body, predominantly the latissimus dorsi, a very strong pulling muscle (see Figure 4). Another benefit for using kettle bell swings is it will also increase grip strength. So once out on the water, you will already have the grip strength to be able to go for a long wakeboard and water ski set or paddle board ride.
Figure 3: Bottom of the Kettle-bell Swing
Figure 4: Top of Kettle-bell Swing
As we wait for good weather here in the Northwest, I hope to see you in the gym working on these three key components for water sports: balance, core strength, and posterior chain. Most importantly, I hope to see everyone out on the water this summer feeling stronger from incorporating these exercises into your routine.