I’m at Bells Beach as I write. I was at the Surfing Medicine International Conference prior to the start of the Rip Curl Pro. A great conference.
Speakers included W.S.L. personnel, Doctors, Surgeons, Researchers, Physiotherapists, Chiropractors, Psychologists, Eco Activists, Elite Trainers, Surf Life saving, Surfing Victoria and Ex Pro Surfing input.
Various attendees from many walks of surfing life. However, there should have been more surfing representatives.
Sadly lacking was anyone from any of the Surf Schools around Australia. That seemed very strange to me, the info would have benefited them immensely.
The safety aspects in the water are becoming a real concern. I had some stupid beginner calling me off a right the other day, as she was charging the wrong way into the foam on her giant mal to immediately fall off! I’m beginning to wander what some of the schools are teaching, it certainly doesn’t seem to be etiquette, manners, pecking order and anything remotely related to surf safety. Of course they’re not all the same, some definitely put something back into the sport. However those that take the money and run, without putting anything back certainly should be pulled into line in some way.
Ok, that’s my opening rant!
Let’s look at safety. If one is going to embark on an exercise regime, a clean bill of health is a great way to start. Understanding any disabilities or injuries, that may hinder training is paramount. Any training needs to start there. A simple set of initial tests around balance, posture and movement patterning is where I always start, not negating any medical issues relayed and understood prior.
Let’s look at some safety around cardiovascular training for a start point.
Setting a correct medium for heart and lung training (Cardio), is extremely important. I tend to favour the bike, no impact. I was also a level two Cycling Coach at one point in my life and raced a bike on the road, which I wasn’t that good at and dabbled in the velodrome, which in years gone by, would have been my forte.
If we’re looking at the bike for a means of training, it’s not just ‘get on and pedal’!
It’s extremely important to understand bike set up and riding principles regarding pedalling and alignment. The leg should have a slight bend when sitting on the seat and having a flat foot at the bottom of the stroke. One close guide for this is the seat height should be approx 95-97% of the inside leg measurement. The joints of the big toe and the little toe should diagonally intersect the axis of rotation (pedal axle). The gym bikes have one ‘toe clip’ for each of the feet to fit into. Therefor a smaller foot will never reach the front of the toeclip or come even close.
A good bike will have a fore-aft seat adjustment and sometimes handle bar up/down and fore-aft adjustment. Set the fore-aft seat adjustment first, before the handlebars, remember the fore-aft seat position will also affect the leg length slightly. Moving the body backwards and leaning forwards more will involve more ‘rear chain’ musculature (hamstring/glute).
If we’re looking at a rower, then normal (non rowing background) people need to realise that they should not lean back like real rowers. Perhaps in time they may be able to, but rowers are conditioned to do this over many years. For the general public; a strong neutral spine is required and only a slight lean back. Also the timing of the leg push and the arm pull must be synchronised so the knees ‘never get in the way’. Feedback from the Concept Rower is really valuable, better than most bikes these days unfortunately. Especially with regards to distance travelled.
The treadmill has mixed blessings, walking, incline, pace etc, however not everyone should run. the impact from every landing can be a real issue for many. Foot alignment is paramount to alleviate knee issues developing.
Cross trainers/Stair Climbers are pretty straight forward, foot alignment is important and if the machine has ‘arms’ and that range of motion is greater than your ‘reach’, don’t use those ‘arms’. Posture is paramount as always and being dragged forward will lead to shoulder and neck issues.
Swimming can be a good way of doing cardio, but overdoing that without balancing the front stroke and back stroke can cause shoulder issues over time.
There are of course always ‘new inventions’ but quite often they are fads.
Modern technology often allows you to watch the news, have a scenic route etc, so more motivational.
Music/Headphones in the cardio setting all good, however a lot of people wearing headphones, when weight training, can turn them into clowns losing their spacial and general awareness.
Safety and awareness seems seldom taught these days and so gyms are becoming more hazardous. The Duty of Care of personal trainers, strength and conditioning coaches etc, means they should be teaching safety and awareness to their clients on an ongoing basis.
In the next article, I’ll write some weight training exercise tips. I hope the above is helpful.
Until then, keep surfing, hopefully swell will arrive today to get Bells back on track.
Clive Rodell (Exercise Technique Specialist).
Email Clive directly, [email protected]