Stronger paddling without pain or fatigue

Awareness of alignment, posture and core control

Stiff neck, stiff shoulders, stiff lower back. We’ve all experienced it. You may have been out of the water for a month and have lost some condition or you may be on a boat trip surfing 8 hours a day and your paddling muscles are overworked.

These symptoms are common but are very rarely addressed by surfers until something breaks down. The accumulated tension, imbalance and discomfort becomes too much and our bodies fail us. We then go and visit our Chiro, Physio or Masseuse to get us back on track until the cycle begins again.

There is another way. We can take responsibility for our own function and eliminate these bodily problems before they even occur. In fact, not only can we be free of pain but we can actually thrive, and feel better than we ever thought possible. But it’s gonna take some effort. Many people I talk to believe an absence of injury “I’m not injured”, or an absence of disease “I’m not sick” is optimal. This is a very limited way of seeing things. Why not go for feeling amazing? Today we look at paddling and how we can let it be easier.

If we notice tension in our neck, shoulders, and back it suggests there is an imbalance in our paddling pattern These muscles are being asked to do too much without adequate support and stability from other areas of our body. Tight (shortened) muscles are obviously not going to help us paddle faster and stronger, in fact they will complain and we will feel tired or even pain.

Firstly we need to give back to these areas of our body that have been doing such a mountain of work for us. This can be done in the form of lengthening (stretching and quality massage) tight areas with a focus on optimal body alignment

Stability in our shoulder girdle, spine and pelvis will help with our paddling and ensure paddling forces are being distributed evenly throughout the body. Our breathing is major player in our core control but that’s a whole other article.Become aware of your alignment whilst paddling. You need to be aware all the time.

Am I arching my lower back too much?
Is my neck relaxed and long?
Am I breathing deep into my abdomen?
Am I snaking side to side?
Is the nose of my board moving unnecessarily?

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