Injury Free Surfing. The Upper Back and Shoulders Part 2: Assessment


Figure 1

In part 1 of this blog we looked at some possible issues surrounding surfing with restrictions in movement through the upper back and shoulders. This blog will take you through some exercises that can get your surfing injury free.

Now I will address how you can do a few simple assessments at home as well as give a couple of simple exercises to help get things moving better.

First, let’s assess poor posture and lack of movement.

Lets start looking at the first and second postures in figure 1. If we look at the basic posture here, the shoulders are rolled forwards and the upper back is in a slightly curved position.

Get a friend to have a look at you from side on. If this is your natural posture you may want to look at getting some expert advice on how you can improve your mobility and posture in this area. The exercises shown later will also help.

Dowel extension

Figure 2a, 2b, & 2c

Figure 2(a,b & c) shows a simple exercise to assess your range of thoracic extension.

Stand naturally with feet shoulder width apart. Hold a broomstick with your hands a little wider than shoulder width (Fig 2a) and with straight arms bring the broomstick overhead (Fig 2b). If you need to extend through your lower back to get your hands directly overhead, then you may lack good movement through your upper back and shoulders.

Now for some basic exercises to help get things moving.


Figure 3a


Figure 3b

Figure 3(a &b) shows an upper back rotational exercise.

3a shows the start position, 3b represents the end position. The key here is that you keep your hips vertical so that the movement occurs through your upper spine rather than your lower spine.

Don’t force the movement, just go to the limit of range and breath and relax into the stretch. This exercise will help to free up the upper back allowing a better range of rotation as well as assisting extension movements.



Figure 4

Figure 4 Is a very simple upper back extension exercise using a rolled up towel.

You simply lie back over the rolled towel and relax. Gradually move the towel to different areas on the upper back to work on the whole area. This is simply a very gentle way to help promote extension through the upper spine.

This is just a snapshot of some possible ways you can aid your surfing performance. Through improving movement and posture, your paddling efficiency, strength and endurance will improve. You will also get a benefit in being able to get to your feet faster and more easily as well as being more balanced once you are on the wave. If you are continually getting injured or feel you aren’t getting the most out of your body, it may be a good idea to get some professional advice.


Is Technology Giving you a Sore Neck?

ipad kidToday’s business and social world heavily relies on the use of the internet and associated communication gateways and information sharing methods. Along with this, as technology advances at a rapid rate, we are provided with easier and cheaper access to items such as laptops, phones, e-readers and tablets. This is great for business and keeping in touch with family and friends, but what impact is it having on our posture and our neck in particular?


Surviving Easter: tips to successfully crossing over from summer to winter health!

Surviving Easter: tips to successfully crossing over from summer to winter health!

11039285_832310790150206_2860156579541884039_nI have learned over the last decade+ of being not just a PT, nor just an Exercise Physiologist, but a lifestyle coach, that we are about to enter into a dark time for healthy exercise behaviours. Summer has made it so much easier to establish good food and exercise routines. But it’s hard to maintain our new healthy habits through easter, so lets make sure we stay on track!

Those that stuck to their NY resolutions may be in full swing and kicking some serious goals (hopefully this is you!), or perhaps starting to struggle with their choices… and I tend to find that Easter, with all its temptations, can be a good habit breaking time. Lets face it, the time changes making dark earlier, its getting a bit cooler, we get a few sleep ins, a few meals with friends, and yes… those sin provoking hot-cross buns!!! arghhh… who can resist them??!! We just had our first soup for the year at the Martins for dinner tonight… we are starting to cross over into winter behaviours, and these are never great for our body composition and associated health, right??

So here are a few tips to ensure that you keep going right through Easter into a healthy winter:

  • No behaviours are inevitable. They are choices. make some good ones!
  • Winter need not be the time to create a warmth layer out of body fat. That’s what clothes are for!
  • Think of winter as your pre-season. Use it to get an advantage. Start today.
  • Have a hot-cross bun. I will. But exchange your normal grains serve for it. Don’t have your normal toast for breakfast, and then have the buns as extras on top of your normal calorie intake.
  • Include more play time. You have an extra long weekend. Spend some of that extra time playing with your kids, friends, even neighbours! great time to get to know them…. now, now, don’t be TOO competitive!
  • Follow Tim Ferris’ advice and have a cheat day. You are going to be surrounded by chocolates, buns and other delicious and tempting foods. So give yourself a 24hr window to treat yourself. then get back on the band-wagon.

Ok, see how you go with that, and we’ll touch base on the other side of Easter and explore winter health in a bit more detail.



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