Now that spring is here you’re probably thinking about grabbing your paddleboard and heading back out on the water. Paddleboarding offers a full body workout using all the major muscle groups and a lot of the smaller ones. Before you jump on that board and start digging in full steam ahead you should stretch out a bit to avoid injury. Here’s 4 paddleboard stretches you can do before you head out to help keep you feeling loose and healthy.
You might not always notice right away when you’ve pulled something and you’ll keep going making the injury worse. These are a few simple stretching techniques to help lessen the chances of tweaking your back, shoulder, hamstring etc. Stretches you can do on the beach or in the parking lot to help get you loosened up for your paddle.
Arms and Upper Back Stretches
We can use our paddle in a number of ways to stretch out a variety of muscles in our arms, shoulder, back and torso.
- Latissimus Dorsi, better know as your Lats, are the muscles that run from your armpit down your side to your lower back. To stretch these out hold your paddle over your head with your hands a little wider than shoulder width apart and bend laterally to one side and then the other. As you extend hold the stretch for a few seconds and then release by going back to the starting position. Do the same for the other side. You should feel the stretching from the back of your arms all the way to your hips. And if you’re like me you probably hear some vertebrae cracking, lol.
- The rotator cuff and upper arm muscles are constantly going when paddling so it spend so time stretching and warming these up. Hold your paddle behind you parallel to your spine with your right hand reaching back over the top of your right shoulder and left hand reaching across your lower back and grabbing the paddle.
First, pull up with your right hand- you feel a good stretch happening throughout your left shoulder. Hold it for a few seconds and release. Then pull down with your left hand. You should feel a really good stretch going through your triceps and pectorals. Switch hands and repeat on the other side.
Lower Torso and Legs
- The lower torso muscles running from your abdominals to your back also feel a lot of pull and twisting when paddleboarding. To stretch these out place your paddle behind your neck and place the inside of your wrists a little more than shoulder width apart over the shaft so that the paddle is resting on your shoulders. Your feet should be about shoulder width apart. Slowly turn the to the side until you feel the stretch going through your lower torso areas. Hold for a few seconds and release to the starting position. Then turn to the other side and repeat the process. Note- you will feel this stretch working on some muscles in your upper back as well.
- Hip flexor stretches are great for your lower body and legs and they are easy and quick to do. Start off by kneeling on the ground with your back perfectly straight. Take your left leg and extend it out until your knee makes a right angle. Lift both of your hands over your head, reach upwards and shift your weight forwards from the hips. You should feel the stretch through your lower abs and the quads in your legs. You can hold this stretch for a several seconds and then switch positions so that your right leg is forward- repeat the stretch on that side.
Stretching is a great way to get your muscles prepped for early morning paddles when you haven’t been that active during the day and temperatures outside tend to be cooler. This is a time when your body really needs to ease into your workout with a good head start by warming up and stretching first. After you stretch you can start your warm-up routine on the water. So for your next paddle try it out and see how it feels- chances are you’ll feel a lot more comfortable and limber out there.