This is a stretching program specifically for kiteboarders that will lower your risk of injury and it will make your more flexible for doing grabs and kiteboarding tricks. With other word; it will make your moves more stylish.
And another reason for me to make this program is that I see so many people not doing stretches properly. So here is also some tips on, what to focus on.
It’s normally said that you should hold a stretch for at least 30sec. This is not optimal! It’s effect won’t last a whole day. Stretching up 1-2min in each stretch will dramatically increase the effect of stretching and will indeed make you a lot more flexible. But since a stretch is a static exercises, where you “cheat” your muscles to become more flexible, you have to do these stretches often. About 5-7 times a week if you want the full effect. Otherwise your muscles will unlearn what you programmed them to by doing the stretches. Basically what a stretch is doing is programming the muscles to not tighten/stop the movement, when stretched. Ligaments and muscles don't get longer.
If you're doing the stretch 100% correct and can't feel it. You probably don't need that stretch. You're probably flexible enough from nature.
So, if you want the full effect of a stretching program, you need to do the program 5-7 times a week and hold each stretch for about 1-2min. And even more important; Do them correct! I’ll show you…
Legs and hip stretches
These stretches are very important to lower the risk of injuries in your knees and to get greater mobility for easier grabs and better style. They can also cure many people’s back problems.
Hip flexor (Ilio-Psoas)
This is a basic hip flexor stretch with a twist. A normal hip flexor stretch is only stretching half psoas muscle, but that’s only half of what you really want to stretch. By adding the twist over your front leg, you also include the whole Iliopsoas, which is often considered as one muscle. Another key element in this exercise is to tip your lower pelvic (Pubic Symphysis) forward like the photo below. People very often don’t do this and won’t get anything out of the stretch.
Remember to bend your front leg a little bit. This will keep you from stretching your calfs (Gastrocnemius) and concentrate the stretch on your hamstrings. It’s also important to remember to arch your back by looking up and shooting out your chest. These things will help you to get the best stretch.
Calf stretch (Gatrocnemius and Soleus)
Push your heel down to maximize the stretch. The more you bend your knees, the more you will concentrate the stretch on Soleus (the deepest calf muscle) and the more you straighten your leg, the more it will hit Gastrocnemius (the big calf muscle, which we usually consider the calf - it's the muscle you can see on your calfs)
Keep your feet at shoulder width or more. Get all the way down and use your arms to push out against your thighs.
Glute Stretch (Gluteus)
It’s very important to arch your back (straighten it) to get a good stretch in this one. Look at the picture below. It’s also very important to pull the knee against you and twist as far as you can as you look over your shoulder.
These stretches will significantly reduce the risk of shoulder injuries. Especially for the rotator cuff.
Start by keeping your shoulders down and elbows in the center of your body. Think about squeezing your elbows and hands together equally. You should feel the pull wrap around the back of your shoulder.
Stretch for external rotation muscles (rotator cuff)
This is not a stretch you see every day. But it’s really important for kiteboarders to do!
- Gently place hand behind back.
- Keeping shoulder in line with your body gently bring elbow forward.
- Do not let your shoulder come forward with your elbow.
- For a little added stretch you can gently pull your elbow forward.
Stretch for internal rotation muscles (rotator cuff)
You won’t see this stretch every day either. But it’s just as important for a healthy shoulder as the external stretch
- Keep your elbow in
- Gently push your hand forward while keeping your shoulder and elbow in place
Bend your arms a little bit to avoid stretching your biceps. Keep the hand above shoulder level.
Chest and neck
One way to get a bad posture or neck pain is by NOT doing these stretches
Chest Stretch (Pectoralis)
Remember to open up your chest and try to push your shoulders back.
One very important thing (that no one does!!), when stretching your neck, is to make a double chin by pulling in your chin towards your chest. This will stretch the deeper muscles in your neck (the ones that give you a headache). Stretching the neck is probably more for beginners, because they can get tension in the neck by looking at the kite all the time, when trying to get out of the water. But many people suffer from headaches caused by neck tension, which these stretches will handle as well.
Remember to pull your chin towards your chest like this:
And if you can do it like this, when you're 90 years old, you've been doing it right ;o)
Kiteboarding stretching program = get more flexibility in your kiteboarding tricks
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