Surfing is a sport that you do for fun, but for health, you have to add a lot more exercise on the shore to compensate for the uneven load.
I have a friend, Sasha Pavlov, a surfer and professional fitness trainer well-versed in physiology.
I asked him to talk about exactly how a surfer suffers from his hobby and whether it is possible to fix or reduce the negative effect of surfing.
A bit of general physiology
All muscles are connected in a standard chain, and their fascia connects – connective tissue, elastic, but elastic, which does not allow the muscles to part, holds the fibers together.
Each muscle is located in its fascia; each muscle bundle is wrapped in a tight fascia; this structure gives the body density and creates internal pressure.
When the body of the muscle contracts, movement occurs. In human anatomy, two sides are distinguished – the front and back. The muscles are divided into flexors and extensors (they are called antagonists about each other, for example, biceps and triceps).
Any movement consists of three muscle groups: the primary muscle shortens and performs work, concentric contraction.
There is also a synergist muscle, it also contracts concentrically, but in this movement, it is auxiliary; it takes on a small part of the work.
Finally, the antagonist’s muscle is also involved in the work; it in turn lengthens, but it does it in a controlled manner. Therefore this movement is called an eccentric contraction.
Everything in our body is interconnected, and if there is a violation of imbalance in some place, the body tries to compensate for it with available means.
In the case of muscles and skeleton, these compensations sometimes lead to dire consequences.
It is how inversions are obtained; for example, if the pelvis is shifted forward or backward for one reason or another, the natural center of gravity shifts in the opposite direction.
It can also happen because of the head: for someone who looks at the phone a lot, the head goes forward, and the body must adjust to avoid collapse – the pelvis and thoracic region change.
Hence, kyphosis and arthrosis are obtained, and if the pelvis goes to the side – scoliosis, it may be caused by constant sitting with legs crossed.
I have S-shaped scoliosis – a curvature in the lumbar spine and a slightly smaller, compensatory, in the thoracic, shoulders from this one slightly higher than the other. And the story is this: as a child, I always did my homework, “throwing my legs over my ears,” one leg under the butt, the other lying on the table somewhere nearby; in short, I sat super crookedly. I remember how happy I was: “It’s great that my mother doesn’t chase me for this.” But, I am not satisfied; I am upset that my mother did not chase me for posture. It is a note to young mothers.
A story from life.
In general, the body can compensate for imbalances in a way that we don’t even notice. For the time being.
But it always breaks in a weak spot, and the problems come out either with age or when we suddenly start doing something, for example, the same surfing and the body says: “Well, no.”
Weak point # 1. Back muscles
It is the most “labor-intensive” part, and the technique of execution implies an intense backbend; moreover, in statics – you bend over and row with your hands.
Being in constant tension, the muscle shortens, and the fibers themselves contract unevenly – some return to their average length, and some shrink and get stuck in this state.
So, probing an overstrained muscle, it is easy to find problematic areas in it that look like “lumps”; they are called triggers.
The most unpleasant thing is that triggers cannot relax and do not leak blood. As a result, the tissues suffer and hurt.
In addition, careless movement with an insufficient warm-up or cold water can lead to injury – the compressed, inelastic parts of the muscle fiber tear.
Overexertion occurs during prolonged muscle work, so you need to stretch after training. I know how lazy it is to do this when I go out, want to drink, eat, go home, etc.
So I came up with a life hack: make it a rule to unbutton the leash without lifting your leg but bending down.
Stretching a muscle after a long load is very pleasant; therefore, reaching for the Velcro, you feel pleasure and want to stay in this position, and maybe even turn to the sides a little.
Even with regular stretching, triggers can form, and massage can help eliminate them.
The process includes three stages: the first step is to “break” the trigger, crush it firmly, forcing a section of the muscle to relax.
Then, having rested, the power must be stretched, and it must be toned by trying.
Then, having got used to it, you can break the triggers yourself utilizing a golf ball or a unique roller – find a sore spot, squeeze the ball between it and the floor/wall, and roll.
Then bend over, stretch the muscle, lie on your stomach, and make several shoulders raises.
Weak point # 2. Spine
Unfortunately, these muscles are hypertonic due to constant static stress, constantly contracted, and not only during surfing.
As a result, the “back” side of the body begins to tighten, bending the spine forward, like a bow with a stretched bowstring, and the first problem comes out very quickly – protrusion, this is when the intervertebral disc is washed out, the next stage is a hernia.
For the muscles to function correctly, the antagonists in the body must be potent in a particular proportion.
For most flexor-extensor muscles, such as biceps and triceps, this is a 1: 1 ratio.
For an even posture and a healthy back, the front and back sides of the torso should be pumped in a 1: 2 ratio; that is, the back is twice as strong as the press.
The abdominal muscles recover quickly, so you can swing it at least every day, do different twists, planks, raise your legs holding on to the bar, and perform exercises with additional weight.
In addition to the main workout, it is advisable to do 2-3 sets of 20 twists each time after skating, but here the story is like stretching; very few people can do it.
I manage to do this in surf trips because you usually sit in them right at the spot; that is, you can walk home in a swimsuit and work out a little. Plus more free time.
The synergistic muscles – the gluteus maximus – help maintain a good back deflection. The stronger they are, the better the load will be distributed, and the back will not be overstrained.
Another critical point: as mentioned earlier, the antagonist’s muscles work in pairs; when one shortens, the other lengthens.
A clamped muscle cannot be forcibly stretched. Still, by contracting its antagonist, the brain sends a command to the power for an eccentric contraction, which is, in fact, a signal to return to its physiological length.
Thus, if your over-strained back muscles hurt, swing your abs; it will become easier.
Weak point # 3. Shoulder joint
As a result, the shoulder blades (back and middle deltoid muscles) constantly work, become stronger and begin to “pull” the shoulder joint back.
This common is the most mobile in our body; its structure is such that if the muscles on one side pull it more strongly (in this case, from the back), the humerus begins to press against the bones of the shoulder blades, creating excessive friction, as a result of which the articular tissue is erased, swelling and severe pain begin.
The solution is again similar to the previous example – it is necessary to pump the muscles of the antagonists so that they balance the force of the “back deltas” and keep the joint in a physiological position.
The anterior deltoid muscle works during push-ups (Peikoff does not count, this load is not enough) and on lifting weights in front of you, for example, dumbbells on outstretched arms to chest level.
The same exercises will help compensate for the too strong trapezius and rhomboid muscles (the upper back); they also tighten the back since being pumped.
A wheel chest is good in moderation, not in moderation – no better than a stoop; it affects posture and the position of internal organs.
However, when rowing, attention should be paid to technique. It’s terrible if you only have biceps or triceps; this happens if the elbow joint is fixed (you row only with a straight arm or only with a bent arm).
Correctly tune the component forward, then bend the arm, putting biceps force into the stroke, and then take it even further back due to the work of the triceps.
Weak point # 4. Neck
Right now, sitting with a straight neck, place your hand on the 6th vertebra; this is the one located above the most protruding 7th.
Now throw your head back. Do you feel how he went deep inside? So, while rowing on a board, he is constantly in this position, pushing the intervertebral disc into the spinal canal, where it squeezes the vessels, impairing the blood supply to the brain.
The protrusion is not a hernia yet, but its precursor and symptoms can be headaches, pain in the neck itself, and even numbness in the extremities.
In general, the only preventive measure is to watch yourself and not lie too much on the board.
It is better to wait for the wave while sitting, keeping your neck straight or even slightly bowing your head.
A friend of mine, a surfer, went to the doctor because of neck pain and numbness in the fingers, he wanted to do an MRI, but an X-ray was enough.
Since the stage was the very initial, and the operation was dangerous with muscular complications, the doctor advised you to follow your posture and do yoga.
He urged the latter in secret because this is more traditional medicine, but it works.
It is essential to understand that the injuries listed above are cumulative; they have a cumulative effect and do not appear immediately.
Health must be taken care of, as they say, after 30 years, the guarantee for the body ends. In addition to the topics discussed above, Sasha focused on how vital stretching the back of the legs is.
Stretching the gluteus maximus and hamstring determines the position and health of the pelvis, body mobility, and range of motion.
Not only for surfing but life in general.
There are many small muscles in the foot, and the fascia of the legs is uniform and very stiff; it starts right on the sole; therefore, first of all, you need to knead it there.
We take a hardball, the ideal one is a golf ball, and we roll each leg for 5 minutes, properly smoothing out all the muscles and tendons.
After that, you can already move on to the bends and pull the calves and hips.
I started rolling the ball regularly, and I want to say that this exercise ideally helps wake up and pleasantly invigorates; at first, it is painful, but then a real thrill.
I don’t have a golf ball, but “with magic,” it rings when I roll it
In conclusion, I want to wish you health, a responsible attitude, care, and love for your body, because it is thanks to it, you have the opportunity to surf.