Has back pain got you coming off the water early or keeping you from kiting multiple days in a row? You can easily prevent back pain while kiteboarding by stretching and cross training.
Here are a few simple tips and guidelines to help your next session be pain free; they will likely boost your kiteboarding skills as well!
Warm Up First
Even before pumping up your kite, it’s critical to stretch your lower back and hamstring muscles. This task alone puts a lot of stress on the muscles. If they’re cold and stiff, you’ll be straining them, making them open to injury during your session. An important tip to remember while pumping up your kite is to keep a slight bend in your knees. Bending your knees helps take pressure off of your lower back, and makes the hamstring muscles do more of the pumping action.
Before Launching, Stretch It Out
I know it may be the hardest thing I ask you to do, but your back will thank you greatly. Move into the stretch until you feel tension in the muscle, but do not stretch into pain. Hold each stretch for approximately 30 seconds.
Correct Your Stance
Now that you are ready to hit the water, let’s make sure your kiting stance is correct! If you take a second to notice the posture of the other kiters out on the water, you will soon notice the ones who look strong, having a straight body with their chest in line with the hips and legs, and the others who well, let’s just call it grandma kiting.
As you kite, focus on pushing your hips forward so it should not look like you are trying to sit into a chair.
After Session Cool Down
Likely the toughest thing to do, next to stretching before hitting the water, is stretching after your session when all your muscles are tight, and worn out. When you come in from an intense exercise session, the muscles in your body tighten up in response to the strain. This should be a sign that it’s time to stretch, as this will improve muscle length and flexibility, especially after exercise. Intense exercise followed by sitting can actually functionally shorten the muscle fibers, there in turn, increasing your chances of having pain during your next kiting session. So, take a few minutes and quickly run through the basic stretches again. Your back will thank you!
Train When Off The Water
If you practice steps one through three, but start to notice your hips sinking back after an hour or so, and more pressure going into your back, then your core muscle may not be strong enough to support the load of the kite. The best way to strengthen those muscles is of course to kite more, but, for a lot of us who have day jobs, this is not an option. By just doing a few simple core exercises at home, you will get your body strong and ready for that awesome four hour session out on the water.
Source: www.catchsomeair.us; Sarah Ellis, Anthony Spencer; 2014.