Thursday, March 15, 2012

My response to this video on Land Training & Fitness

I like the use of functional training tools like objects and things in your surroundings and your own body weight to create an effective workout. I use weight training to gain overall strength during the off-season and taper off to lighter weight training and switch to more circuit training bases exercises that emphasize agility, speed and coordination drills during the regular season. I look at imbalances early on in the pre-season and perform a Functional Movement Screen to determine if its a stability or a mobility issue that is causing the imbalance and from their I focus on adding corrective exercises to address them.

I come from the sport of cayuco which I've shared with you but as with other paddles sports I think this translates well. I always start by looking at the mechanics of the sport and what are bodies are doing especially during repetitive endurance sports, our bodies are flexed forward at the hips and in the shoulder area for the most part when we paddle so the muscles in the front of the body like the pecs and hip flexors are shortened through repeated forward motion and contraction as well as from the numerous hours we spend at work hunched over a computer. The first thing I tell people is to stretch their pecs and hip flexors using a LAX ball/small hard ball or foam roller and work on lengthening and stretch those muscles. The next would be to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles that retract the shoulder blades and the muscles that pull the shoulder back because these muscles get lengthened because of poor posture (hunched shoulders), repeated flexed position during paddling, but also because most people tend to spend time developing muscles they can see like the chest rather than the back therefore causing an imbalance and increasing the likely-hood of rotator cuff injury.

I also think that their is value in a workout outdoors, especially in the beach where you can mimic some of the wind and weather conditions you would feel on the boat as opposed to being indoors in a gym.

I am a big fan of squats, single-leg deadlifts, lunges, burpees, and sand running as seen in the video as this builds strength and power in the legs. The transfer of energy from the floor through the legs and the trunk/core and effectively carrying it through the arms is what's important. I emphasize a lot of back exercises, trunk exercises that emphasize stability and rotational movements, as well as upperbody exercises that focus on body weight movement like pullups, pushups and rope pulls/battle ropes. Also, I love using jump rope as a great cross-training alternative as it helps self-correct some imbalances in posture and coordination while giving you a intense interval training workout.

In addressing the question about getting quicker on the switch it really comes down to having the proper mobility in your shoulders and torso to be quick and effective as well as practice, practice, practice. Nothing like the real thing when it comes to mechanics. My two cents, let me know if you have any questions. Love the conversations. - Gael