(Above: using Pilates principles in a functional surf strength exercise)
My first exposure with Pilates occured after a surf trip to the south coast of NSW, Australia. This area is known for heavy reef breaks and hardcore local rippers. While surfing a ledgy right I took off a little late (and lazy for that matter), was pitched by the lip, slammed on the ocean floor and as a result was left with an unstable lower back. By this stage of my life i had a regular Yoga practice which undoubtedly prevented more severe damage to my back. After the incident I attempted to go back to my yoga practice yet found that i still had ongoing lower back pain. It was not until a friend introduced me to Pilates and 'core strength' that my back pain subsided and I was hooked, immediately training myself and becoming a teacher. Read on to learn what this inspirational form of training is and why it can fix your 'surfers back'.
As a surfer Pilates will provide the following benefits for your surfing:
Strengthens the deep abdominal muscles that support your lower back, pelvis and hip joints. This reduces risk of injury in the surf.
A strong ‘core’ will allow you to transfer weight between your upper and lower body with greater strength, power and speed. This in turn produces greater strength, power and speed through all of your surfing turns with less effort.
The lower back, pelvis and hip joints need to move through extreme ranges of movement during many surfing maneuvers. Stronger ‘core’ muscles gives you greater support and control through these extreme ranges of movement and creates ‘control’ in your surfing.