Category Archives: Strength and Conditioning

The Essentials to Stay Healthy While Traveling

Wakeboarding asks a lot of our bodies, but often times traveling to a competition can do more to your body than actually riding! Riding in a car or plane, eating out, and jet lag can take a toll on your body and affect your performance.

Here are a few ways to help combat the stressors of travel and increase your recovery for peak performance.

1. Drink water. Dehydration is the main component in the ill effects of travel. Air conditioning and heat in cars and planes dry out skin which is your biggest organ. Dehydration can lead to headaches, stiff muscles, joint aches, and poor immunity. The easiest way to prevent dehydration is by PRE-hydrating. The week before travel aim to drink a gallon daily. Bring an empty bottle to fill up after airport security and continue to drink water throughout your travels.

2. Bring tools. Lacrosse balls, tennis balls, rollers, and other mobility tools are helpful to decrease muscle tension and soreness while traveling. Many are small enough to put in your carry-on or backpack. While sitting, use the ball to massage back muscles, shoulders and glutes. Foam roll while waiting between flights or before getting into the car.

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Image: https://breakingmuscle.com/learn/the-4-best-self-myofascial-release-products-on-the-market

3. Stand up and stretch! Take breaks from sitting. Sitting is an unnatural position for our bodies leading to tightness in the hip flexors which ultimately leads to back pain. Walk around the plane during long flights, stop frequently during car rides and stretch out. The front body (chest, abdomen, hip flexors/quads) is the most compressed during travel so focus on opening this side rather than forward folding. Laying with your legs up the wall is also helpful to drain any swelling in the feet or ankles. You may look like a weirdo in the airport or plane, but your body will thank you!

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4. Wear compression. Compression tights are helpful during long flights or car rides to combat the swelling from sitting for long periods and changes in compartmental pressure. Swelling can make joints feel achy and decrease joint range of motion which will decrease performance. Compression can improve circulation and ultimately keep your legs feeling fresh during travel.

5. Pack your own food and take supplements. Airports and rest stop stations lack nutritional options for food so plan ahead! Pack healthy snacks, fruit, veggies and nuts to keep your diet well rounded. Fast food and sugar will decrease your immune system and increase your chance of getting sick!

Supplementation is always helpful to combat illness and aid muscle recovery.

-Vitamin C, B complex and Zinc can support immune function

-Glutamine, fish oil, and boswellia can aid in muscle recovery and inflammation reduction

Happy travels!!

 

 

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Benefits of Inversion

Its mid summer and wakeboarding is in full swing. This means lots of riding, progression, new tricks, and unfortunately, tired and sore bodies. One part of the body that gets taxed the most during wakeboarding is the spine. The spine is our center where most of the shock absorption occurs. The discs, which sit in between each of our vertebra, or back bones, are little cushions that help translate the pressure that happens when we jump, land,  twist, and bend. Keeping these discs healthy is important to avoid nerve injury, compression fractures to the spine, and disc bulging or herniation.

There are two very easy ways to keep discs healthy and continue riding safely and pain free. The first is simple has been written about before. Hydration. Drinking water hydrates the discs, making them taller and more supportive. Water also helps to keep the surrounding muscles, tendons and ligaments pliable and stretchy, which are good qualities of tissue to keep you injury free. Keep a bottle of water with you wherever you are: home, boat, cable, work etc. This will encourage you to drink more. Also, be sure to replenish lost water from sweat and exercise after riding and/or working out. Sun, wind, and sweating can dehydrate you quickly!

 

 

 

Handstand  Inversion Table

 

images: http://www.wholeliving.com and http://www.inversiontableanalysis.com

 

The second way to keep your discs healthy is inversion.  Inversion is the act of turning upside down in order to let gravity undo the daily pressures put on the spine. There are a few ways to invert, using a inversion table, which allows you to hang from your feet, or doing a head or handstand (freestanding or against a wall.) Both have astounding benefits for the body. These benefits include:

1. Natural decompression: Gravity pulls the spine in the opposite direction as our upright life, allowing for traction in the spine which increases the disc height, gives more space for the nerves and relieves pain. Not only does decompression help the spine, it also helps with hips, knees and ankles as well!

2. Posture correction and flexibility: Inversion stretches musculature and allows our bodies to elongate in the axial direction. This allows for misalignments in the spine to be corrected and slouching in the shoulders and middle back to be undone. Inversion keeps the muscles, tendons and ligaments flexible keeping joints healthy.

3. Circulation and Energy: Inversion allows for the heart to be above the head, causing a surge of circulation to the brain. This allows for increased energy, mental clarity and focus. The movement in the blood can cause a release in neurotransmitters causing an increase in mood as well. Increasing circulation also cleans the blood and moves lymph, helping with immunity.

Inversion can be done daily and should be held for 10-20 seconds upside down, then 10-20 seconds back at neutral (or right side up)  for a total of 10 minutes maximum. This allows for a pumping motion in the spine, causing the most nutrients, blood flow and hydration to return to the discs. Also, it is not necessary to be completely upside down. Many of the benefits of inversion can be received by moving the head below the heart, like in downward dog or shoulder stand, the yoga poses.

downward dog shoulder stand

 

 

 

 

 

images: http://www.the-yoga-connection.com and http://www.health.com

 

Note: Inversion is not for everyone. If you suffer from a heart condition, glaucoma, bone weakness, high blood pressure, ear infection, pregnancy, stroke, retinal detachment or significant spinal injury, inversion is contraindicated. Please consult a medical professional before trying inversion.

 

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Foam Rolling Revisited

I recently did a video here in Orlando for iWake.com for their Winter Workout series.  I highlight some of the best foam rolling exercises for keeping wakeboarders healthy.  Check it out!

IWake.com Foam Rolling with Abby

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Strengthening the Lower Back for Wakeboarding

backThe lower back is an extremely important area in the sport of wakeboarding. It acts as part of the core to stabilize while being pulled from either the boat or cable. It also is often engaged as the center of gravity for flips and spins. The lower back  is stocked with layers upon layers of muscles and ligaments for stability and cushioned with discs for shock absorption. The complexity is great, but often times, the small, but important,  muscles tend to be underutilized. It is important to keep them all engaged to prevent injury and remain pain free.

image: corpushumain.ca

Here are a few exercises to strengthen the stabilizing muscles in the lumbar spine:

1. Pelvic Tilts– Begin lying on the ground with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Start pulling your belly button into your spine and drawing it in and up. Hold for a few seconds then release, moving into an arched position. Repeat for 20 repetitions.

pelvic-tilt

image: ericavijay.net

2. Bridges– Begin in the same position as pelvic tilts. With your arms at your sides, palms facing down, push your pelvis up, contracting your glutes. Hold for a few seconds and lower back down to starting position. Repeat for 20 repetitions.

bridge-exercise

image: goldenworkoutroutines.com

3. Cross Crawl- Begin on your hands and knees, with your belly button pulled into your spine and your head in a neutral position. Start lifting right arm and left leg, extending out and elongating. Bring back to starting position and repeat with opposite arm and leg. Continue alternating for 20 reps per side, aiming to have a smooth transition and holding the abdominals tight.

lower_back-cross_crawl_kneeling2

image: humanhealthplace.com

4. Cat-Camel– Begin in the same position as cross crawls. Start by arching your back and sagging your belly (the cat). Hold for a few seconds and transition into pulling your stomach in as high as you can (the camel). Alternate back in forth for 20 repetitions.

catcamel

image: precisionsportsmedicine.com

5. Side Plank-Start in a push up position, except on the elbows. Move your weight to one elbow and open up to stack feet on one another or beside, depending on proficiency. Raise the free arm into the air or bend and place on hip. Hold for 30-45 seconds. Repeat on opposite side.

sideplank

image: womenshealthmag.com

6. Supermans- Begin lying on your stomach. Reach arms out overhead. Lift arms and legs a few inches off the ground and hold, while engaging the glutes and lower back muscles. Hold for 30-45 seconds. Repeat 3 times.

superman

image: fitnessandfreebies.com

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The Importance of Time Off: The Truth About Overtraining

We think there’s no possible way to over train in wakeboarding, right? The set is only 30 minutes long riding boat or an hour at the cable, so there is no way you can damage yourself by riding daily! WRONG.

The constant load on the body during wakeboarding can have some devastating effects.

overtrain

image: ausport.gov.au

How do you know you are overtraining?

1. You aren’t progressing, you are actually regressing. If you can no longer land the tricks you normally land, it takes more effort to do what was normally simple or routine, or if you feel sluggish with nothing to attribute it to (hang-over, heavy crosstraining, extended period off the water), you may be overtraining.

2. You feel restless, anxious, or have trouble sleeping. “When a power athlete overtrains, the sympathetic nervous system dominates. Symptoms include hyperexcitability, restlessness, and an inability to focus (especially on athletic performance), even while at rest or on your off day. Sleep is generally disturbed in sympathetic-dominant overtrained athletes, recovery slows, and the resting heart rate remains elevated. Simply put, the body is reacting to a chronically stressful situation by heightening the sympathetic stress system’s activity levels.”

Read more: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/overtraining/#ixzz2E1mdqgE0

3. Your muscles and joints hurt. Constant overuse can contribute to stress fractures, muscles strains, and an early onset of degeneration due to the constant forces on the body without any time for recovery. Muscles, especially, undergo Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS), after an intense workout and may not show up until a few days after the initial workout, but can also be easily confused with improper training techniques or a microtrauma. It is important to differentiate the two, so any minor injuries can be given proper time and treatment to heal.

4. You are tired, have lost your appetite, lost muscle mass, and are irritable. Not a great combo, but are some tell-tale signs you’ve been training too hard.

So, what to do? 

Make sure you have at LEAST one day off completely. No activity.  Schedule cross-training and yoga/stretching/foam rolling so that the activity that requires the most effort (wakeboarding) is first, and the optional activities happen later. This will help prevent injuries caused by wakeboarding while  fatigued.

Listen to your body. If you are sore, in pain, fatigued etc. take the day off or commit to doing a lighter activity.

Use modalities like heat and ice, as well as proper nutrition and hydration to keep your body functioning at its highest potential. Massage, acupuncture, and chiropractic treatments are beneficial to help recovery times and aid in minor injuries.

Keep an eye out for warning signs to prevent any serious damage or injury.

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Fall and Winter Weather Riding: How to Battle the Bite

Around this time, in most places, fall has begun to settle in. The air has gotten cooler and soon to follow will be the water temperature. Riding in cooler temperatures brings a whole new set of conditions to deal with, but who wants to cut the season short? Below are a few tips to help keep your riding at its best throughout the fall and winter months.

photo: redbullusa.com

1. Get a wetsuit: a good one. Being comfortable on the water is the most important. Wetsuits are design to maintain your core temperature and keep a small layer of water between the skin and wetsuit warm, so you stay warm. Quality wetsuits can make or break your winter. Find a suit that is a proper thickness for your climate, and try to find one that is sealed, GBS (glued and blind stitched.) You want mobility so find one where the neoprene is stretchy. Also, shop around and make sure you are comfortable in what you buy.

2. Do a proper warm up. Don’t just jump in and go! Warm up on land a but to help to increase your body temperature and heart rate. Then when its your turn, make sure you spend time warming up some basics before jumping into your hardest mobe. This will help to increase the circulation to your hands and feet, the areas that will lack blood supply when in colder temperatures.

3. Know when its too cold.  Nothing good will come out of a set that is in 45 degree water with 40 degree air temp. Know the boundaries and stick to them. You risk injury, hypothermia, and feeling pretty uncomfortable when you battle the weather. Make sure the benefits outweigh the risks.

4. Listen to your body. When you are riding, listen to your body and the signals it gives you. If you cannot feel your hands or feet, its probably time to come in. If you feel any aches or pains, or have trouble catching your breath, its also time to go in and get warm.

5. Bring a change of clothes. As soon as your set is done, change out of your wet clothes immediately. Especially if you have a few more people riding before you head in. This will get you warmer faster by eliminating the feeling of water evaporating.

6. Stay in shape and eat well. Keeping your fitness up and feeding your body with proper nutrition will keep you more conditioned to ride, regardless of the outdoor conditions. This will help you to bare the elements throughout the winter!

7. Ride at a cable park. Typically you spend less time in the water at a cable park (I supposed this is dependent on skill level…) and when you are in the water you are moving, kicking, and swimming to the side. Another thing at the cable is that you tend to ride, collectively, for a longer period of time. Your activity is more sustained, leading to a higher output of energy which keeps you warm! But, that being said, still keep in mind all of the above!

8. Plan a warm weather wakeboarding trip! 

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Shoulder Pain Part 2: How can you prevent it?

Preventing shoulder injury  is all about balance.  The balance comes between proper muscle strength and flexibility. It is important to be strong,mobile, and be able to accommodate to any condition or situation. Wakeboarding is a one-sided sport with dominance in both hand and foot. Balancing is the key to make sure you are riding long through this upcoming season and many more to come injury free!

Where to start: A training program designed to increase muscle strength while not sacrificing range of motion and flexibility.

What will help: Neuromuscular reeducation. Training your muscles to fire when needed, in proper sequence, to ensure each muscle works to its highest potential. This will include sport-specific exercises to engage and retrain the musculature.

Shoulder Strength Exercises:

1. Kettle Bell Swings- With a kettle bell or weight in hand, squat with kettlebell between legs. Swing the weight up as you stand and continue swinging until arms are overhead. Lower back down into a squat. Repeat. Make sure to maintain a tight core to protect the lower back.

Image: dk-workoutlog.blogspot.com

2. Wall Angels- Begin this exercises with your feet, buttocks, lowback, and neck/head all against the wall. Bring arms up overhead, while maintaining contact with the wall. Act as though you are doing a snow angel against the wall. The purpose of this exercises is to train the upper back and shoulders, while maintaining a neutral spine. For a demonstration, watch this video by Men’s Fitness UK.

Wall Angel Demo

3. Triplane Flying Pushups- Attach a full circle resistance band, like the Superflex band around a chin up bar or something of equal height. Attain a push up position with the band around your waist. Move from central, left, and right completing a full push up and exploding to the next position.  For added difficulty, add an incline or Bosu ball to the sides to vary the push up surface.

Thanks to Ned for introducing me to this exercise!

Neuromuscular Retraining

1. Handle Pass on Indo Board: Attach a handle to small weight. While maintaining balance on the Indo Board with knees slightly bent, begin to pass the handle. Continue around 15 times and then switch directions and repeat.

2. Resistance Band Handle Movements- This exercise will be varied depending on what tricks you are working on/towards. You can do these on solid ground or on an Indo Board. The purpose is to do handle movements against resistance which is anchored to mimic a line and handle. Doing repetitive motions mimicking tricks will help to build, not only shoulder strength, but muscle memory. For example, moving your arm in a crosswise fashion across your face and body to mimic a whirlybird, or pulling the resistance band to the middle of your back for landing blind. This will help to coordinate muscle movement while building strength.

Again, preventing shoulder injury is a fine balance between strength and flexibility. Train properly and you should remain injury free!

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No Gym Required: The 10 Best Body Weight Exercises

Have trouble getting to the gym? Memberships and equipment too expensive? Not to worry. Some of the best and most efficient exercises to stay strong and lean can be done with just the use of your own body.  Body weight exercises can be just as efficient at burning fat and building muscles than their weighted or machine versions.  Below are 10 of my favorite for a full body workout!

Photo: trialx.com

1. Squats: Squats target the entire lower body. The quads, hamstrings, glutes,  calves, and peroneals are worked to stabilize and balance as the torso lowers.  Begin with toes pointed forward, shoulder width apart. Sit back, like you are sitting on a chair, with full body weight on the heels. Make sure your core is tight and there is a slight arch in the lower spine.  Don’t let your knees go forward past your ankles. Work up to 3 sets of 25.

2. Tuck Jump: Tuck jumps also target the lower body but give an extra kick to the abdominals and increase cardiovascular endurance. This exercise also trains the muscles for explosiveness, which is helpful when taking off at the wake.  To do this exercise, jump as high as you can and lift your knees to your chest. Work up to 3 sets of 15.

3. Side Lunge: Side lunges work the medial and lateral muscles of the leg, called the adductors and abductors. Begin standing with legs together. Take a giant step to the right, bending the right leg and keeping the left extended. Return to beginning position. Repeat on other side. Work up to 3 sets of 10 per side.

4. Single Leg Deadlift: The single leg deadlift targets mainly hamstrings, but is useful in balance in coordination. Begin with feet together standing. Step forward with right leg and bend forward at the waist with all the weight on the right leg and the left leg coming up behind you. Return to standing by squeezing the glutes and hamstrings. Repeat on opposite leg. Work up to 3 sets of 15 per side.

5. Burpee: The burpee is an all purpose fat burner and muscle toner. Begin standing. Plant hands on the ground, jump back into a pushup position, and jump feet back between hands. Jump up and return to standing. Repeat. Work up to 3 sets of 10. For added difficulty, add a pushup while in pushup position.

6. Tricep Dip: This exercise targets the triceps, but also works the muscles of the shoulder and forearm. Begin sitting on a sturdy chair. place hands on edge of seat, begin buttocks. Lift up on hands and drop buttocks down in front of chair. Push up and lower back down. Repeat for 3 sets of 15. For more of a challenge, straighten legs in front of you.

7. Pullup: The classic pullup is beneficial for entire upper body strengthening. Changing the grip can alter which muscles are targeted the most. Change between under grip for more bicep work, over grip for posterior shoulder muscles, wide grip for lats, and holding to a towel draped over the bar for an added grip challenge. Work up to 3 sets of 10.

8. Pushup: The pushup strengthens shoulders, chest, glutes, and core. Vary the hand position, much like the pullup, for variation in target muscle. Wide hand placement will target lats, narrow hand placement will target triceps. Elbows in and back will target the anterior deltoid and pec minor. 3 sets of 15.

9. Bicycle: The bicycle strengthens the abdominals circumferentially, meaning all around. Lie on your back supporting the head and neck with your hands. Crunch up and bring left knee to right elbow while the other leg is extended. Switch. Alternate sides and build up to 3 sets of 10 per side using good form.

10. Plank: The plank builds core stabilization as well as glute and shoulder strength using isometric contraction, meaning holding with no movement. Begin in a pushup position with elbows on the floor. Maintain tight glutes, abdominals, and keep body in a straight line. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat for 3 sets.

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Protecting the ACL: Knee Strengthening

Unfortunately, the most common injury among wakeboarders happens to be tearing or rupturing of the ACL. The ACL connects the front of the shin bone, or tibia, to the back of the thigh bone, or femur. This stabilizes the knee joint and prevents the knee from hyperextending. Tearing the ACL happens from deceleration, like landing a jump or a trick, or from a twisting or shifting movement with the leg attached and anchored to the wakeboard. Bindings make us particularly more vulnerable to stress and tearing of the ACL. The ACL is most weak when the feet are pointed outward, knees inward, and torso flexed forward.

How can you protect the ACL? Multiple factors are involved with stabilizing and conditioning the knee. Strengthening the surrounding musculature is most important to help decrease the stress to the ACL  involved with deceleration in the knee joint. This includes the quadriceps, hamstrings, hip abductors, hip external rotators, abdominals and obliques. The muscles assist in stabilizing the knee and prevent hyperextension. Below are a few exercises to add to your normal routine to make sure you protect your knees!

1. Body Weight Squats: Begin with knees and ankles separated, shoulder width apart, standing straight up. Hands can be on the waist or out in front for balance. Bend at the hip and knee, pushing buttocks backward like sitting in a chair. Make sure your knees don’t push forward of ankles. Return to stand. Repeat 25 times.

2. Heel Pulls: Lying on the floor, place one heel on top of a small plate weight (begin with 10 lbs). Stabilizing with your hands against the floor near your hips, pull heel with weight towards your buttock then back down to start position. Repeat 10 times per leg.

3. Box Step: Stand in front of a box, chair, or bench about 2 feet high. Step up onto the box, straighten the knee and step back down. Repeat on both legs 15-20 times. When this exercise becomes easier, add dumbells to hands.

4. Abductor Lifts: Lying on your side with bottom leg bent and top leg straight, lift top leg up. Hold for 3-5 seconds and lower to starting position. Repeat 15-20 times and repeat on opposite leg. Ankle weights will increase the intensity.

5. Adductor Lifts: Lying on your side with bottom leg straight and top leg bent and planted in front, lift bottom leg and hold for 3-5 seconds. Lower to floor and repeat 15-20 times. Repeat on opposite leg. Ankle weights will increase the intensity.

The next step in preventing ACL injury is to add coordination and proprioceptive exercises to help with the dynamic, or moving, strength of the knee, like in jumping and landing. Focus and attention should be made on maintaining an upright torso, increased knee flexion or bend, and lowering the center of gravity to help absorb the deceleration, both in the exercises and in landings behind the boat or cable.

1. Box Jumps: Stand in front of a box, chair or bench. Jump up with two feet to stand. Jump back down. Special attention should be made on bending the knees and absorbing the landing. Repeat 15-20 times.

2. Bosu/Indo Squats: Stand on the wobble board side of the Bosu ball or on top of an Indo board. While maintaining a tight core, bend at the waist and knee into a controlled squat and return to standing. Make sure chest is up and knees are not bowing in while in the squat position. Repeat 10-15 times.

3. One-Legged Star Plyometrics:  Begin the 4 star drill by drawing (or imagining) a box on the ground. Each corner of the box will have a number that corresponds to it.

1                           2

(5)

3                           4

Perform the 4 star drill by hopping from one spot to the next. You can follow the order from 1 to 4, or you can change the order for some variation. You can also add a fifth spot at the center for even more difficulty.

Keep your ACLs protected and strengthen those knees!

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The Perfect Warm-Up: Foam Rolling

What’s the best way to get warmed up before you ride? I used to think it was running to the dock and throwing my lifejacket over my head. I’ve learned, however, that method was far from optimal. When I began working at Orlando Sports Chiropractic, I learned about a technique called foam rolling. It takes less than 5 minutes to do, feels like a deep tissue massage, and comes with a vast array of health benefits!

Foam rolling’s benefits include increasing muscle flexibility, increasing blood flow to the muscles, decreasing joint soreness and stiffness, and balancing muscle length to promote muscle symmetry. Foam rolling also breaks up scar tissue, or adhesions, in the muscle fibers which can help to increase function and decrease the likelihood of injury. The positions used in foam rolling also help to strengthen the core and increase proprioception, our body’s awareness of itself in space.

For a mere 20 dollars at a sporting goods store and about 5 minutes, sounds like a pretty efficient warm up (and cool down!) to me!

Video: http://www.teamosc.com

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