How to improve your kitesurfing performance through fitness
Whether a pro kiter or an amateur looking to better your performance, targeting specific areas of fitness pre and post season can render you huge benefits as well as protect your body from unnecessary wear and tear.
When training for a specific sport there are two schools of thought. Do you try to make the exercises as specific as possible to the sport or do you try and balance the weak body parts that will suffer as a result of the sport?
The SAID principle of training (Specific Adaption to Imposed Demands) can be interpreted in two ways. What most ‘fitness professionals’ will recommend doing is to use exercises in the gym to mimic the the movements found in kitesurfing. The other interpretation is that neural muscular pathways are so very specific that, really, nothing will make you better at kitesurfing than.. well, kitesurfing. You can’t get more specific than that!
With that being said both approaches have a place in a well structured fitness program. These can then be further broken down into ‘rest season’, ‘pre season’ and ‘in season’.
So you’ve just finished a few months of kitesurfing and in all likelihood you’ve gone hard often and have picked up a little niggle in your shoulder, knee or lower back. Kitesurfing is a pretty invigorating experience and it’s easy to push yourself past your limits learning new tricks or just riding hard and fast for hours on end. That’s absolutely fine! It’s totally worth it because it’s the most fun you can have with your clothes on.
The point of the ‘rest season’ is to focus on taking it easy and getting you healthy again. At this point stretching, self myofascial release and light cardio (heart rate under 150bpm) are your best friends. It’s also a great time to focus on your diet because you’re not going to be beat up and tired.
Here are a few videos of workouts you can follow along to as the base of your ‘rest season’ kitesurf fitness training . Unilateral training, off angle movements, mobility and activating core, hip and rotator cuff muscles is the goal at this phase of training for your best performance once kite season starts
We’d recommend the following workout routine. Pick 2-4 days a weeks and alternate between MFR/animal flow/ 12 mins stretch on one day and the ‘rest season full body prep’ on the other.
|Day 1||Day 2||Day 3||Day 4|
|MFR on 3 problem areas||Rest Season Full Body Prep||MFR on 3 problem areas||Rest Season Full Body Prep|
|Animal Crawls||Animal Crawls|
|10 minute stretch||10 Minute Stretch|
Now that your body is healthy and feeling good we can work on getting you generally stronger in muscles that you’re going to need for kitesurfing, as well as develop some movements that will mimic the patterns found in kitesurfing.
We recommend you pair strength movements with a stretch in order to save time and prevent you from accidentally getting tight in those areas that were strengthening. Do 3-5 sets of 6-15 reps of each exercise. We’ve given beginner and advanced options for each movement.
|Lateral Core||Side Plank||Hurdle Stretch|
|Legs||TRX Leg Blaster||Quad Stretch|
|Hamstrings/Lower Back||Slider||Single Leg Sit & Reach|
|Pulling||Ring Rows / Ring Pull-ups||Standing Lat Stretch|
|Pushing||Push-Ups / Ring Push-Ups||Lying Chest Stretch|
|Core||Hollow Hold/ Hollow Rock||Seal Pose|
TRX Leg blaster
This is leg training DESIGNED to mimic the demands of kitesurfing. The TRX helps you focus your weight on your heals as you extend your legs and hips and makes you focus on keeping your arms straight as you do so. It also has elements of isometric strength, dynamic strength and explosive strength
It’s also at this time that it’s worth working on your balance as it plays a pivotal role in kitesurfing. We’d recommend 1-3 times a week doing some of the following activities. These are ordered from most specific to least specific (and most fun to least fun!):
Closed eye one legged balance
Bosu ball balancing
Recommended Workout Routine
Get the general strength workout in 2/3 times a week and the balance training (whatever you choose, the more specific the better!) 1-3 times a week. As you get closer to your trip/season, prioritise the balance training.
Whether competing or it’s time for that kitesurfing holiday you’ve been waiting for all year, the goal here is just to maintain the strength that you’ve built in the rest/pre-season and avoid any niggles that have occurred previously during a kiteboarding season. Don’t try and progress in the strength of flexibility, do the bare minimum and focus on the kitesurfing!
Do 1 day a week of the general strength routine, 1 day a week of the full body prep and/ or 1-2 days a week of animal crawls/ 10 min stretch.