Stretching is an integral part of muscle recovery when participating in sports. It is easy to forget to stretch before and after a surf session, but as one of the most challenging watersports on the body, why should surfing be any different?
Many of us are limited on free time, so we take a look at some of the easiest and most relaxing stretches to try! Whether you are longboarding, shortboarding or even taking your inflatable SUP board for a session, you will feel the benefits of completing regular stretching!
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All in all, stretching can improve your surf performance. It is essential to look after your muscles, as it enhances flexibility.
Yoga, in particular, is a popular downtime activity for surfers as not only does it stretch muscles and improve flexibility, but it also has the added benefits of increased strength and balance; all essential for surfing. For more information, why not take a look at our blog on how yoga can improve your surfing.
A key benefit of giving your muscles that extra TLC not only improves performance but also helps to prevent injury! With suppleness comes less risk of muscle damage making it something to consider, especially as we get older.
What You Will Need
You won’t need much at all to do these stretches except for an exercise mat for comfort. If you don’t possess one of these, use a blanket or a towel instead!
Tips for Stretching
When holding a stretch, you want to feel a tension of around seven out of 10. It shouldn’t feel painful. If it is uncomfortable, it means you are overstretching, and you need to stop the stretch.
Hold each position for around 30 seconds and repeat a further two or three times for the most effective results.
Wide-Legged Forward Bend
One of the most straightforward stretches, and also a yoga pose called Prasarita Padottanasana C, this stretch targets the inside and back of the legs. It also stretches the spine, chest and shoulders while loosening the hips and is the perfect all-around stretch.
Start by spreading your feet far apart, and toes slightly angled in. Hold your hands behind your back and forward fold your body from the hips, trying and meeting your legs.
For extra relaxation, squeeze your shoulder blades and allow your hands to gravitate to the floor.
Lower Back Stretch (Lying Down)
As the name suggests, this stretch targets your lower back. To paddle for waves, the chest and shoulders are lifted, putting much emphasis on the lower back, especially as a shortboarder.
To help release tension in the lower back, start by lying on your mat with your back on the ground. Stretch out your arms, so you create a T shape with your body.
Next, raise your knees, so your feet are flat on the floor then allow them to drop to one side.
You will feel your back and hips gently rotate to the direction of your knees.
Hold the position for 30 seconds and then swap sides. Repeat as necessary.
Kneeling Quad and Hip Stretch
When we’re not paddling, our legs are doing some heavy grafting when popping up and they will warmly welcome some stretches to keep them feeling flexible. We have included a few examples for your legs to ensure they are properly stretched out!
To do the kneeling quad and hip stretch, start by standing. Place one foot in front and kneel to the ground, as if lunging with one leg. As you reach the ground, the knee of your back leg will lie flat to the floor. To enhance the stretch, push your hips forward.
Hold for 30 seconds and then swap legs. Repeat as required.
This exercise is a relaxing way to stretch out your hamstrings. Start by lying on the ground on your mat with your back on the floor. Bend your knees, so they are elevated while feet remain flat on the floor.
Hold both your hands around your thigh, just a couple of inches above your knee. Then lift the leg you are holding so your legs are raised, while your knee is slightly bent and gently try to straighten. Don’t over straighten your leg if it is painful.
Finally, hold the position for 30 seconds and swap legs to repeat. Continue as you like.
Overhead Shoulder and Triceps Stretch
The best thing about this one is you can either stand or take a seat on your mat. You could try to sit cross-legged to open your hips out too.
Simply sit or stand tall, retaining good posture. Take one arm and put it over your head so that the elbow is facing forward. Bend your arm from the elbow, so your hand touches your shoulder.
Take your other hand and place it in the middle of your arm above your bent elbow and before your shoulder and lightly pull.
Hold the stretch for half a minute and then switch arms. Repeat as you like.
All the stretches featured in our article can be completed pre-surf too! What stretches do you find the most effective? Why not let us know on our social media channels and share the knowledge with other surfers!