Fitter off the water = More creative on the water
It might seem crazy to some, surely the wakeboard season is months away? But the sooner we start preparing ourselves the better! This can help to prevent injuries, strengthen our muscles for more solid landings, reinforce our core for better stability and just ensure better overall riding! Off season should not mean that our opportunities to improve on the water are off bounds too!
Wakeboarding requires us to deal with a number of different forces. We constantly need to adjust ourselves to find a happy balance between the pull of the rope and the push of the board. It is a sport that demands huge amounts of core control! There is nothing that can recreate the exact movements of wakeboarding, however there are numerous ways to train off the water in order to be stronger on the water!
The following exercises require very little equipment and are accessible to everyone!
I come from a martial arts background and have always loved jumping rope, but I can appreciate that it can initially be quite hard! It is a great way to get some cardiovascular training while working on coordination drills, and serves as a great warm up. Here is a great video to get you started! Once you have it all figured out try and change things up a bit, do some single leg work, double unders, cross overs!
Wakeboarding benefits: Coordination and cardiovascular.
This is a fantastically efficient exercise for building core strength, shoulder and back strength.
The most important thing in this drill is to keep your back in a good position and your shoulders back and down. Your lower back should not be drooping and curving. In order to keep your back in the optimal position you need to use the muscles of your core. Your back must remain flat throughout the entire exercise. When you push up into a high plank position you must move through a full range of motion.
This is a hard exercise and if you do not have the required core strength it will take time to be able to complete a high level of reps. So start slowly and build up over time!
Wakeboarding benefits: core stability, back and shoulder strength.
Squats are one of the best exercises for the lower body. They also happen to be one of the best functional exercises out there (functional exercises are those which assist your body in performing real life actions.) We essentially squat down every time we sit on a chair! Squats help to build up muscle, they help our muscles work more effectively, as well as encouraging better mobility and balance! All of these benefits allow us to move more efficiently in every day life, and particularly on our boards!
The ability to squat with good form will translate into a series of benefits for all sports. It will help you activate the necessary muscles for basic movements, such as jumping and pushing off the ground. Understanding how to activate your glutes, quads and abs in sync is one of the keys to producing both speed and power!
Wakeboarding benefits: stability, strength and mobility, injury prevention and better landings.
Pull ups and chin ups are great for both upper body strength and grip work! This is an exercise which entails the incorporation and recruitment of a number of muscle groups, much like wakeboarding. The muscles used when performing a pull up also help to stabilise the shoulder joint and can help in preventing any potential shoulder injuries!
Pull ups necessitate a decent established level of fitness, if you are new to strength training and are not yet able to do a pull up, do not worry!! There are a number of ways to work towards a pull up! I have broken it down into 3 levels:
· Level 1: Bodyweight Row
· Level 2: Assisted Pull Ups even if you can do pull ups, this is a great drill and will allow you to work on perfect form throughout the full movement with less fatigue!
· Level 3: Full Pull Up once you reach this level, start with low reps, always make sure you have perfect form.
Wakeboarding benefits: Improves grip strength, strengthens your shoulders, arms, back and core, helps to prevent injury.
Torn ligaments are extremely common amongst wakeboarders. Wakeboarding places a huge amount of force and torque on the knee joint. If the muscles that cross your knee joint, especially hamstrings, are not sufficiently strong, or are not being activated correctly, you are much more susceptible to these injuries.
Stability ball leg curls are a great drill for developing strength, endurance and mobility in your knee joint. They also work your glutes and hamstrings! Start with two legs on the ball and eventually work up to single leg curls, this will work on your core too!
Wakeboard benefits: strengthens glutes, hamstrings, core and helps prevent injury.
Box jumps are another great exercise to condition our knees! The impact forces of landing (or even worse casing the wake) can be hugely damaging to our knees. Adding some jump training to your off-season programme is a fantastic way to prime your joints for the impact forces of wakeboarding where your muscles are forced to contract rapidly and forcefully while also decelerating your body!
Remember that as important as jumping up is, jumping down requires just as much focus! Emphasise soft and controlled landings, with knees bent and pushing outwards! Progress over time with the height of the box, make sure it is always at a height where you have full control!
Wakeboarding benefits: Increased power and control on both take offs and landings, stronger legs and core, and more pop off the wake, injury prevention.
Not being able to ride for a few months doesn’t mean that you can’t still work on drills to improve your riding! Implement these drills into your off season training routine and reap the benefits this summer! If you are lucky enough to be riding already, add some of these drills in a couple of times a week! For a little inspiration try this workout!
5 rounds of 30 seconds on 30 seconds off skipping rope (depending on your skill level use this warm up to work on your single skips, or for the more advanced throw in some double unders!)
Every 2 minutes for 10 minutes complete:
4-8 Pull Ups (this again depends on your skill level).
5-10 Stability Ball Leg Curls (per side)
4 rounds of:
10 Box Jumps
5 Pillar to Push Up