Many summer sports such as water skiing, wakeboarding, and competitive stand up paddling (SUP) require the ability to remain steady on an unstable surface created by the ski or board on the water while expressing the upper body strength necessary for movement and control. For this reason—whether you are a recreational water sports enthusiast or true water sports competitor—we aim this Muscle Movement of the Month at enhancing lower body stability to control your base of support, maintain a strong body position, and execute upper body movements with purpose.
a. Lie on your back, arms to each side, knees bent and feet flat on the ground.
b. Extend the hips until shoulders, hips, and knees create a straight line.
c. March the heels just below knees to find the best foot position for support and then extend one leg with light band attached to foot.
d.Maintain hip extension on grounded leg, then pull heel of band-resisted foot toward same side glutes and knee toward chest.
e. Repeat on same side for set of repetitions and then switch sides.
Next, we have a single side, upper body strength movement that uses suspension training to also create a total body stability and spatial awareness challenge. Suspension straps or ropes allow athletes to position their bodies in a suspended position, thus using a portion of their own body weight to load the movement. This also requires a tremendous amount of core and joint stability to control position in space and then create the desired path of movement for the exercise. Although it sounds extreme, these single arm rows are a great choice for beginners because you can easily position the body for light to heavier loads by adjusting position of stance.
a. Using a suspension strap that can be secured with one handle, begin by standing with a single arm grip and then lean back into a slight angle while body maintains straight line through heels, hips, and shoulders.
b. Keep hips and shoulders parallel to the ground and pull the body up as one unit by using a single arm row, bringing wrist to ribs.
c. Keep the body from turning out of position and keep plenty of space between the shoulder and ear during the pull.
d. Foot position and angle of the body controls the difficulty of the exercise. Start more upright in order to master total body stability and control, and then move feet closer under the anchor to increase the load.
e. Important note: in order to protect the shoulder and maintain form, always lower the body in a slow and controlled fashion.
There is no doubt that many sports, including water sports, require the ability to express strength and power by using diagonal patterns because of the body’s coiling nature that connects the shoulder to the opposite hip. This can be seen in water skiers pulling to change direction or seen in an SUP stroke pulling the board across the water. This third exercise challenges the athlete to create a strong single leg connection to the ground and then pull the weighted implement through the diagonal movement pattern, finally finishing balanced overhead in a fully extended position. Always start with very light weights to master the movement and then load progressively for strength and power.
a. Start in a single leg stance on the right foot with a light dumbbell (DB) in the left hand.
b. Perform a half single leg squat, reaching with the DB just below the right knee.
c. Once you reach this position, make sure the core is engaged. Then quickly extend the lower body, guiding the path of the DB diagonally and keeping the DB close to the body. Finish by catching the DB over the left shoulder with arm fully extended.
d. Once you have established balance
and control, slowly return to low position and repeat.
e. Use a neutral back position by avoiding any excessive curving or rounding; engage the core throughout lowering and upward execution of the movement.
Bring on a great summer of water sports by supporting your body for performance and fun!
Diane Vives, M.S., C.S.C.S. is an Advisory Member of the Under Armour Performance Training Council. An internationally recognized fitness expert, she has appeared in several publications such as Women’s Health, Shape, and Muscle & Fitness Hers.