Sailing Fitness - Part 5
RYA exercise Physiologist, Adrian Campbell tells us what we can do to increase our fitness level for sailing
Strength - Machine Weights
Part Four of this series outlined circuit exercises that will improve strength and muscular endurance. While circuit training is great for convenience and options of exercise there will be a point where your own bodyweight alone isn t sufficient to promote further strength gains.
When this happens, you need to move to machine weights. While machine weights are best for strength gains, you need to be strong in the core, technically sound and also have someone to spot you when lifting to prevent problems when you fatigue.
Machine weights allow you to lift in greater quantities than your own bodyweight and are also safe in terms of lifting when the muscles are tiring.
Before you start a strength program in the gym, get one of the gym s qualified instructors to show you the correct posture and lifting technique for each piece of kit.
Make sure you are fully warmed up and stretched before you start, that you keep good posture throughout the movement and don t go beyond your range of motion at the joints.
Here is an outline of the best muscles to train for sailing and how to do it.
UPPER BODY STRENGTH:
Starting Position: Lie flat on the bench, feet on the floor with the bar at chest-to-shoulder height
Movement: Extend the arms until they are straight then lower slowly. Keep your back flat don t arch.
Tips: If you find you are arching your back put a weight under your feet so they are further off the floor
Supine/Assisted/Full Chin Ups
Starting Position: Use an underarm grip - palms facing you - with grips at shoulder width. (Supine chin ups - follow the instructions from Part Four Circuit Training)
Movement: Contract the biceps to so you bend at the elbow until chin is in line with your hands. Then lower yourself back down slowly. Keep the rest of your body as still and stable as possible Tips: Full chin ups are very hard to do for any period of time. Start using a chin up assist machine which takes away part of your bodyweight.
Single Arm Cable Pulls Seated
Starting Position: Sit in front of the cable machine with the lifting handle at the bottom of the weights stack. Legs nearly straight and sat bolt upright with a straight back.
Movement: Using your back muscles and the back of the shoulder pull the cable from out in front of you to past the side of your body. Your arm will go from being straight to bent and your hand should finish in line with the side of your body. Slowly straighten your arm. Tips: Don t allow your truck to rotate too much and remain sat tall throughout the movement. If your body is being pulled forward the weight you are using is too heavy.
Starting Position: Seated with bar in line with your shoulders. Sit tall with straight back. Movement: Push upwards with your shoulders until they arms are straight. Keep you back straight don t arch. Lower again slowly Bicep Curls Starting Position: Sat normally on bicep machine with your back straight, leaning forwards slightly. Movement: Bend your arms at the elbow fully then extend slowly. Don t lean back into the movements if you are doing this reduce the amount you are lifting Tips: Don t lock your arms out fully have a slightly bent arm as this will cause pain in your tendons days afterwards
LOWER BODY STRENGTH:
Leg exercises can be a little limited with a multi-gym so I recommend doing circuit -based exercises but overloading the body by holding dumbbells.
Starting Position: Sat with your back flat against the back support, feet even width apart on the foot plate.
Movement: Extend your legs until straight. Don t lock your knees out, keep your back straight and don t arch. Bend your knees slowly on the return.
Tips: If you struggle to lower the weight slowly then reduce the load being lifted. If you suffer with knee problems or pain you are better to do bodyweight squats with dumbbells or dumbbell lunges (see below) as it lessens the load on your knees.
Bodyweight Squats with dumbbell
Starting Position: Feet a little wider than shoulder width apart, slight bend in the knee, back straight. Have a dumbbell in each hand that is manageable to hold.
Movement: Squat down so that the knees are at about 90 degrees or just under. This movement is more about sitting down than just bending the knees. You are looking to sit back so that you stick your backside out and the knees don t go beyond the line of the toes. Also ensure the knees don t roll inwards. Be conscious to push the knees outwards as you squat to prevent this. Back must stay flat throughout and keep your head up.
Lunges with dumbbell
Starting position: Normal standing position with a dumbbell in each hand.
Movement: Take a large step forward and bend the front leg 90 degrees at hip and knee. From that lunge position stand tall again driving off the bent leg. Repeat with the other leg so that you get into a routine of walking 20m by lunging.
Tips: Ensure the knee stays over the toe and don t allow the knee to roll inwards.
Calf Push/Raises with dumbbell
Starting Position: Standing with toes on a step or ledge and the rest of the foot overhanging the step/ledge. Dumbbells in each hand Movement: Push upwards on to your toes. Lower slowly.
How much each person lifts is entirely individual but as a guide you should be able to lift the weight in a fluid movement, keeping your back straight and being able to lower the weights stack gently. If you can t, then choose a lighter weight.
You should at first choose a weight which you could lift fairly comfortably for 12-15 reps and to be able to do this for three sets. After you have done one set of 12-15 reps have two-three minute rest before you do another one-two sets with another two-three reps in between every set.
There are a few basic pointers to follow when strength training:
1) Balance opposite muscle groups so your body remains balanced. For example if you do single arms cable pulls, then ensure you also do bench press.
2) Work on a program of three sets of 12-15 reps per set. Ensure you have two-three minutes rest in between each set
3) Do two strength sessions a week for best gains and ensure that have a full 48 hours rest between strength sessions. Ensure you cool down and stretch after every strength session.
4) Most importantly start slowly with lighter weights! Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is associated with strength training and you will ache 48 hours after a strength session if you lift too heavy weights and don t cool down and stretch after every session.
NB. If you re new to physical training, get a check up from your GP before you start any training programme.