Strength Training Routines for Kite Surfing
Kite surfing is an exhilarating sport that is becoming more and more popular. To the casual observer, kite surfers appear to effortlessly skim across the water on their boards. This perception has led many newcomers to the sport. However, these rookies soon realize that, while exhilarating, kite surfing is far from effortless. In fact, in order to enjoy an afternoon of kite surfing, you must have a good deal of muscular strength especially in the back, shoulders, forearms, and abdomen. This article will outline a realistic yet effective strength-training regimen that will ensure that your arms don't give out before you're ready to call it a day.
First, we need to analyze the movements that are performed during a typical day of kite surfing. In fact, there are few movements of the upper body when using basic kite surfing techniques, although many muscles are isometrically contracted (contracting but not moving). The grip is constantly taxed by hanging onto the handle using a one-handed grip which is even more difficult. The arms are generally straight out in front of the body, which places tremendous forces on the front of the shoulders and upper chest. The upper and middle back muscles must undergo isometric contractions in order to prevent the arms and shoulders from being pulled forward.
Finally, the abdomen maintains isometric contractions to keep the torso straight. So, you see, although there are relatively few upper body movements during typical kite surfing, there are in fact, many muscles that are contracting and, over time, will fatigue.
Next, we must determine the ideal training method to strengthen these muscles. The law of specificity regarding exercise-training states that in order to improve performance, a muscle must be trained in a similar manner than it undergoes during sport. By applying this principle to kite surfing, isometric contractions should form the core of your strength training routines.
Strength training should be performed twice per week in order to improve strength. After adequate strength is achieved, then one workout each week is enough to maintain strength. Below is a sample workout routine that can be completed in just 30 minutes.
3x10 Bench Press
Strengthens the chest, shoulders, and triceps and helps to ensure that these muscles are proportionally strong in relation to the back muscles.
3x10 Seated Row
Include a 5-second pause when arms are extended ensuring that the weight stack is still suspended in the air. These 5-second pauses will simulate the actions during kite surfing when arms extended and gripping against a pulling resistance.
3x10 Dumbbell Front Raises
Include a 5-secoind pause when arms are extended and parallel to the floor. Again, this exercise strengthens the front of the shoulders and upper chest and simulates the actions of kite surfing
3x30 Seconds Bar Hang
This exercise is designed to improve isometric grip and forearm strength. Grab a pull-up bar and just hang from it for 30 seconds with the arms extended.
3x20 Twisting Crunches
Standard crunches alternating a twist to either side strengthens the front and side of the abdomen. Include a 5-second pause at the top of each crunch to maximize isometric strength.
This is a total of 15 sets and will take about 30 minutes to complete. This assumes that you take a 1-minute recovery between sets much more than 1-minute rests will limit your strength gains. In total, 1-hour each week of strength training can improve your functional kite surfing strength. This, in turn, will allow you to kite surf longer and to perform more advanced maneuvers without fatigue or injury.
Finally, all serious kite surfers should make certain that they enjoy top quality nutrition in the form of fresh foods abundant in natural vitamins. Proper nutrition is an essential part of keeping a body healthy and strong. It also lends itself to successful strength training as well. Try to avoid vitamin supplements and concentrate on a healthy diet. If feeling the need for supplementation use concentrated whole food supplements such as additive free aloe vera juice.
Dr. Linda Kennedy MS SLP ND