We have all heard of the major muscles, the biceps, the pectorals, the hamstrings etc. Supporting these muscles and ensuring they move in the right way are much smaller muscles, one’s we generally haven’t heard about.
Let me introduce you to the stabiliser muscles, these are a kitesurfers secret weapon.
When we go to gym and particularly when we use machines designed to focus on these major muscles, these stabiliser muscles generally do not get activated (this is compensated for somewhat by using free weights).
When we then come to do a dynamic sport like kitesurfing because they haven’t been trained, these smaller muscles become tired very quickly.
As they tire the major muscles are forced to take up more and more of the work normally done by these smaller muscles or in many cases it simply doesn’t get done at all.
This leads to the major muscles getting tired more quickly and also increases the chance of injury as these muscles are no longer secured effectively and may flex in directions they are not designed to.
These stabiliser muscles are also heavily involved in our ability to balance, which is crucial in kitesurfing.
So how do we target these smaller muscles?
The best way we have found of doing this is using a balance board.
You don’t have to spend 100’s on this, I picked one up for about 20€ and you can fairly easily make your own if you’re so inclined.
Simply by standing on the board (extra points for actually doing your workout on them!) for 5 mins a day you’ll be firing all those stabiliser muscles over and over again and will quickly bring them up to strength.
Meaning they will be able to take more of the strain during your kitesurfing so the major muscles don’t tire so quickly, improving you stability and reducing your chances of injury. You’ll also notice improved balance as these muscles are heavily involved in keeping you aligned and in balance.
As an added bonus a balance board also targets the stomach and lower back.
As the primary power transfer point between the kite and the board (as it’s where your harness sits) this area is of major importance in maintaining posture and ensuring maximum efficiency whilst riding.
So what should you do?
Well to start with, just standing on the damn thing for 5 mins a day should be enough.
Don’t be surprised if the first few times you try this you find yourself wobbling all over the place, it’s normal and quickly improves.
Start small and build up, this can be surprisingly tiring and better to start with 5 mins and then build up than go for 30 mins and struggle to walk the next day!
Once you’re happy doing this you can move to standing on the board one footed, striking yoga poses and even doing your more normal exercises on the board, bicep curls with free weights while stood on the board is a great example.
You can also use it the other way, so push ups while supporting your hands or feet with the board can be an interesting exercise to try.
Just by doing this for a few weeks you’ll start to notice profound improvements in your stamina and general fitness on the water.
One final piece of advice, give yourself plenty of room!
See you on the water,
ps If you want to improve your kitesurfing when you’re OFF the water, so you have more stamina for kiting, recover faster in between sessions, get injured less and look great in your wetsuit 😉, download the FREE 4 week kitesurf specific workout here >>