Looking forward to getting out on the water this season? Yeah, us too.  Paddle boarding has certainly become one of Central Oregon’s most popular summer recreation activities over the years and there is nothing better we like seeing than the boards coming out of winter hibernation and the locals getting after it.

Whether you like to go the distance around the lake or take a relaxed sunset paddle with your family, improving your core stability, arm strength and balance can go a long way in making this season your best yet.  The team at Alpine PT has put together a great program for you that’s easy to perform at home. Let’s take a look:

The Plank:

Why you should do this: Core strength is a must for balance and power with your stroke and the plank simulates both the core contraction and the anterior leg stability needed for a solid foundation. An oldie, but goodie.

To perform: Start lying on your stomach and rested on your elbows. Place your awareness on your lower abdominals and lift into the plank by contracting the lower abs (versus pushing up). Hold in alignment with shoulders, hips and ankle in a straight line. Beginners can start on elbows and knees. Hold 10-30 secs. 5-10 reps. 3 sets.

To progress: Hold the same position as before, now alternate a slight raise of each leg keeping core engaged (be aware not to over recruit your hip flexor by raising pelvis up). Hold 10 secs. To increase recruitment of abdominals, focus on the diagonal between opposite elbow and the grounded leg by imagining the elbow moving towards the foot. Place foot back down. Repeat on other side. Work to fatigue 1-3 sets. Using a stability ball is a great way to increase the challenge as well.

Single leg bridge:

Why you should do this: The glutes are a powerful extension stabilizer along with the paraspinals or your lower back.

To perform: start in lying with knees bent and feet flat. Raise one leg up to 90/90 position and contract your lower core. Push through your leg up into a bridge position until you feel a glut and lower back contraction. Push into your full pain free range. Maintain a level pelvis (do not drop/rotate). Slowly lower. Perform 15 reps. 3 sets.

Box step up with lateral leg raise:

Why you should do this: Hip strength and lateral core stability are important for maintaining balance on your SUP

To perform: Step upon a exercise platform (or stair) keeping knee centered and stable. Maintain engaged lower core and upright position with step up.

Once you are in standing, perform a lateral leg raise, return to neutral and step down. Perform 15 x maintaining balance. Repeat on other side. Increasing box height or adding ankle weight are great ways to increase the challenge.

The Side Plank

Why you should do this: Another exercise that recruits Hip and lateral core stability for maintaining balance on your SUP

To perform: start by lying on your side with your arm underneath the shoulder. Contract your lower abs and push up through a stable shoulder girdle and your legs to the plank position. Hold for 5-10 secs. Repeat 5-10x. To advance raise top leg keeping body stable and in a straight alignment (no twisting).

To progress: raise and hold your top leg. Repeat on opposite side

Knee high to Single leg squat:

Why you should do this: increases dynamic challenge of balance/strength of your hips and core.

To perform: stand and balance on one leg. Lift opposite knee up to chest maintaining centered balance and level pelvis.

Maintaining balance bend forward and extend leg behind your into a ‘scale” position as you move into a single leg squat. The deeper your squat is the more challenging the exercise becomes. Do not bend at your back. Pause and hold. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15x. Then perform on opposite leg.

Eyes closed Tandem balance:

Why you should do this: Paddleboarding is a great activity to challenge and improve your balance. By removing vision from the equation (as you are able) we place the focus on your body sense to maintain stability.

To perform: looking forward, place one foot in front of the other and engage the core with a slight bend in each knee. Start with eyes open and work up to 60 secs. If you can perform, repeat with eyes closed and focus on a stable stance. Place your senses you how your body feels both through the feet and the muscles of your trunk. This sense reinforces you brains connection to you balance strategies. Repeat on other side 3x each. Starting in a doorway is a great place to allow you to hold onto the frame as needed to stabilize.

To progress: perform eyes closed single leg stance. Maintain centered trunk and level pelvis keeping core/hip muscles engaged. Goal 60 secs.

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Alpine PT’s team of talented Physical therapists is proud to be serving the Central Oregon Community since 2006. From orthopedic and sports injury care to women’s health, we have a solution for you. Contact us at 541.382.5500 or [email protected]