Maintaining the body from old injuries and sorting out niggles: A focus for the seasoned board rider (surf, snow, skate). 

Common themes I see within board riders who are the from the more “seasoned crew” is that they have never set foot in a gym, looked for any help and have just got out there and done the hard yards, which is totally fine! I get it, and personally I probably wouldn’t have set foot in a gym or sought help if I hadn’t been involved within the environment doing my undergrad degree in sport. I would rather be out there doing it, not having someone tell me what’s wrong with me, say I need to do a bunch of exercises and random things I have been suggested to do, that I don’t want to do, nor have the free time to do.   

Let’s face it, exercising is a chore and a gym can be very tedious place with loads of complete nobs in there grunting and getting super jacked bro. Or some lady getting super pumped up in the bike class and yelling at people to ride harder etc… yea no thanks! It’s simply not in the board riders’ “DNA”. We are an individual, creative lot that froths on implementing skills on a board that A) We get Endorphin and Dopamine hits from sticking turns, catching good waves and landing tricks, B) it keeps us fit, C) keeps us mentally well/in-tune C) it’s a release and D) it’s our life/culture and often we work around doing these sports. Hitting a gym, pool or attending some surf fit, yogaesk classes is something that’s uncool and a bit wanky, costs too much and not seen as a necessary thing to go to or attend.  

However, like in all sport, there are going to be injuries and wear and tear.  Often these wear and tear issues are overlooked and slowly get worse, generally they are only looked into once something is really stuffed and we cannot do the sport anymore!  

Starting from the top of the common issues I do see in board riders.  

Shoulder pain. Often tight, lacking mobility and stability and often niggles from overuse issues if they are surfers which is due to all of the paddling. Trouble with so much paddling (can range around 2-4km per 1 hour of surfing) is that the shoulder is consistently inwardly rotated during the paddle – over time this makes the pecs short and tight, the muscles around the scapular get tight and weak and the shoulder becomes internally rotated – which leads to poor mobility. It is when its tight that problems occur, such as when an external force hits the shoulder moving it beyond its normal range of movement…classic example board being yanked backwards in a wave with the arm and pop/tear/shheeeit that felt weird … and now we have a rotator cuff tear and need rehab.  

Here are a couple exercises that can free them up.  

Thoracic spine: the part of your back that’s in the middle, that’s used for rotation (designed to be mobile, not rigid). This part is often seized up due to sitting all day or loads of overuse from construction and never been exposed to drills to help free it up. A tight, none moving spine = issues/injury.  

Here are a couple exercises that can help make it move better.  

Lumbar spine: lower part of the spine that takes an absolute hiding – no matter the sport or lifestyle. It is designed to be stable…but often is super tight, lacks movement around the vertebra and we like to lift from it (as opposed to our legs) and this causes it to get wreaked big time!   

Here are a couple exercises that can help look after it. 

Hips is another major issue. The ability to crouch, compress and extend is vital in all of the board sports. Hips that are too tight lead to poor form, execution of maneuvers and often leads to back issues. Hips that don’t move tend to lead to utilising the back for the movement – which it is not designed to do!  

Here are a couple exercises that can help free them.  

Ankles. These can take an absolute hiding and often not rehabbed properly. The ability to dorsiflex (upward movement), plantarflex (downward movement), be stable and create circumduction is critical in board sports. A weak, non-mobile joint is going to cause issues up the chain – as in the knee, hips and back will end up doing jobs they are not designed to do, and this leads to injury/niggles. A very, very critical part of the body that you use a lot – look after them as you need the feet to balance!  

Here are a couple exercises that can help them to be stable and mobile. 

If you have any questions regarding these exercises, niggles or thinking … hmm maybe I could do some help then do feel free to contact me I can do in person or online consultations to help out, and if I don’t have the answers, I’ll find someone who does!