Hello everyone!! Yep! I know, it has been a while since my last post. After taking care of some pending issues, here we are again! In this post we will talk about one of the great forgotten subjects by all windsurfers, the warm up.  

To talk about this, we asked for the collaboration of Guillermo Rocha (Willy), who besides windsurfer is a personal trainer at Fidias Health & Sport Center.
I know very few people who dedicate some time to warm up before getting into the water. However, this is a key element in the prevention of injuries.

For the windsurfer whose physical condition is not great, who sails from time to time and has a sedentary life, this is fundamental.

What is to warm up

Even those who train regularly, should also know the guidelines of a good warm up. It’s quite common to see the following sequence: reach the spot, evaluate the wind, choose the gear, rig the sail and run direct into the water. However, our body needs a transition period between the resting state and the maximum activity state. That’s the warm up.

The ultimate goal of warm up is to prepare the body for physical activity in the absence of injuries, allowing greater performance. Therefore, we will define the 3 main areas for the warming up:

  • Functional, making our body raise its temperature and prepare itself for a greater challenge.
  • Motor, making our musculature and joints have a greater load capacity and a greater range of movement with respect to the rest state. It’s critical to do this correctly to prevent injuries. We must warm up in the proper ranges of motion for the specific sport we will practice.
  • Emotional, preparing us psychologically for physical activity.

There are many ways to warm up and tons of literature (you can find some books here) about it. We would like to keep this post specific and applicable to the practice of windsurfing. So, we will divide the warm up in 3 phases, each one with its specific objectives.

General active warming up

The objective of this phase is to raise our body temperature and predispose the body to perform a more demanding physical activity. It should be gradual and involve large muscle groups, as well as accelerate our metabolism by increasing heart-respiratory rate.
Examples of this kind of exercises are running or rope jumping, but both are impractical for windsurfing. As a suggestion, to perform before a session, we lean towards these exercises:

  • Jumping Jacks – A great activation exercise.
  • Skipping – Alternating with the jumping jacks for about 3 minutes should be enough. Remember to start warming up gradually.
  • Burpees – It is a more demanding exercise that can be included after the previous two. The duration must be from 30 seconds to 1 minute to complete the initial phase of the warming up.

The total duration of this phase will depend on several factors, including the ambient temperature. A minimum of 3-5 minutes is advisable and generally sufficient for this phase. In winter we should take it a few more minutes.

Active tension stretching

Once we have our body functioning, we must protect it from injury. That is when stretching comes into play. Where we seek greater involvement at the level of the muscle-tendon complex, the main focus of injuries in sports activity.

It’s really important to indicate that we shouldn’t perform stretching without having done the previous phase, in a proper way. The reason is that fibers (muscle, tendons & ligaments) are more rigid when they are cold and stressing them in this state increases the risk of injury.

Dynamic stretching

There are several types of stretching (ballistic, static, dynamic, PNF) but at this stage, and for our purposes we will only explain dynamic stretching (DS). There are several studies that determine that for those sports where agility and balance (study) is needed, dynamic stretching is the most appropriate. We must also warn athletes that static-passive stretching is totally advised against for sports practice, as they increase the risk of injury and decrease performance.

It is essential that the stretches are made gradually, increasing the tension as our body acquires a greater range of movement (ROM), but without forcing it. Stretches in active tension are intended to simulate the gesture of the muscle involved, but offering resistance throughout the ROM. It’s not necessary to reach its maximum extent, but to simulate a specific gesture with a resistance that can be overcomed. Will be enough of 3 to 6 repetitions for each muscle that we want to stretch, decreasing in each of them the total time of execution. The aim is to completely simulate the movement of our sport.

Thinking about windsurfing and what are the most repeated movements we can conclude that:

  • The arm pulls are on top of the pushes. (Dorsal-biceps)
  • Hip and knees flexors have more work than extensors. (Calves-Quadriceps-Glutes)

Therefore it would be necessary to do an active tension stretching of the involved musculature. For this, we recommend the following protocol:

Quadriceps and hip flexors stretches

Pectoral and biceps stretches

Hip extensors stretches (Hamstrings, Gluteus, Adductor)

Dorsal and triceps stretches

Specific warm up

This final part of the warm-up tries to imitate, as much as we can, the sports gesture that we are going to perform, gradually increasing the phisical demand. For example, if we were talking about weight lifting, the specific warm up would be the approach series. That is, to gradually increase the weight until we reach the effective series that we want to perform.

Transferring this concept to windsurfing is not so simple. Therefore our suggestion of specific warming up is nothing different than go into the water and make the first runs as a part of it. The idea would be to make them without pushing ourselves, without extreme moves and without explosive gestures.

Calentamiento_ESSimply sail and think that we continue with the last phase of the warm up a few more minutes. It all depends on the sailing conditions and the sensations we have, until our body is 100% ready for action.

Summary

  • Alternate Jumping Jack & Skipping for 3 to 5 minutes
  • Burpees for 30 seconds to 1 minute
  • Active tension stretching protocol
  • Make the first runs smoothly, without explosive gestures until you feel 100% prepared for action

Well, I hope you liked the post and especially that you find it useful to enjoy more of windsurfing and to prevent injuries. Once again, thank you very much Willy for your collaboration!!!

Warm Up
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