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

by | Apr 16, 2015 | Sport, Surfing

April 16, 2015

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 1a, 1b, & 1c

Figure 1(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 1a) and with straight arms bring the broomstick overhead (Fig 1b). 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 keep you injury free surfing.

Figure 2(a & b) shows an upper back rotational exercise.

Figure 2a
Figure 2b

2a shows the start position, 2b 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 3 Is a very simple upper back extension exercise using a rolled up towel.

Figure 3

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.



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