Stretch It Out
Stretching, we all have done it, but have you thought of doing it before going sailing? If you have that’s great, your one step ahead of everyone else! If you haven’t, why not? Sailing is a sport just like any other, however, we see many sailors forgetting this very important step of getting ready. Stretching is essential in helping your body get ready for the workout about to come your way as well as make injuring yourself less likely. I am here to guide you on the importance of stretching before and after sailing, and the best stretches you can do for better performance on and off the water.
So why stretch for sailing? In sailing just like any other sport you are using your muscles. So before heading out on the water it is essential to get the muscles you are about to use warmed up. Most of the time sailors are heading out sailing in the morning when their muscles are still tight. By stretching those tight muscles you can avoid injury while out on the water for a regatta or practice. Stretching has also shown to help improve athletes performance during competition. Just as it is important to add stretching to your routine before heading out sailing, it is also just as important when you get off the water. Stretching after sailing will help reduce muscle fatigue, increase your flexibility, and help improve your circulation. Now that you can see why it’s important to stretch before and after a sailing session lets check out the different stretches you can do, and what is best for before and after sailing.
First lets start with the different types of stretches out there.
- Self Myofascial Release or Foam Rolling: This form of stretching is done by rolling a piece of foam on different trigger points on your body. You are massaging away restrictions to your muscles to improve your soft-tissue extensibility.
- Static Stretching: This is done while your body is at rest. You use different movements to lengthen your muscle to an elongated position and hold it for at least 30 seconds.
- Active-Isolated Stretching: During this stretch you are moving your joint through a full range of motion. Hold each stretch for 2 seconds then repeat for 5-10 repetitions.
- Neuromuscular Stretching or Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation: This stretching involves a Sports Performance Professional moving your limb until the first resistance barrier.
- Dynamic Stretching: This form of stretching is using your force production and body momentum to go through a full range of motion.
So of these five stretches what is the best for before and after sailing?
Before Sailing: Most people may turn to static stretching as being the best before any physical activity. However, static stretching has been shown to decrease athletes performance if used before competition. The best form of stretching before heading out on the water or any sport is dynamic stretching. Dynamic stretching is the best for several reasons; it activates the muscles you are going to be using, it helps improve your range of motion, and it has shown to enhance your performance during activity.
Check out the list of my favorite dynamic stretches then check out the video of these stretches below:
- Walking Straight Leg Kicks
- Knee to Chest
- Lunge with a Twist
- Hip Stretch with a Twist
(Perform these stretches by having a starting point go in that direction for 20-30 feet, then turn around and repeat that same stretch. Then go on to the next dynamic stretch.)
After Sailing: After you finish up your day sailing you should also do some stretching. This is where static stretching, active-isolated stretching, and foam rolling come in. All three of these can be used or combined to help reduce muscle fatigue, increase your flexibility, and help improve your circulation.
Check out my list of my favorite after sailing stretches:
- Hamstring Stretch
- Hip and Thigh Stretch
- Active Side Lunge
- Shoulder Stretch
- Tricep Stretch
- Foam Rolling of Legs and Back
Adding stretching to your routine will not only make your body thank you, but you will see your sailing performance improve. Stretching before you go sailing is an easy way to warm your muscles up for the workout to come and avoid injury. When you stretch after sailing you help your body reduce muscle fatigue, increase your flexibility, and help improve your circulation. Add stretching to your before and after sailing routine NOW for better performance out on the water! Check out the stretching video below for a better understanding of how to do the above stretches.
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