Before I do any kind of strenuous activity I stretch a bit. It doesn’t have to take half an hour, but at the very least you want to get your muscles warmed up a little, and let your body know there’s some effort coming. If I’m going paddling or surfing I do some dynamic stretches–some windmills, cross hugs, shaking out my shoulders and just hopping around a bit. And then I do a few static stretches or even yoga poses for anything I’m having problems with. Before a workout I do more static stretches to increase range of motion so I can get more out of the exercise, and then a do an easy run in the sand to warm up. Don’t push that, you don’t want to start your workout off with an injury or an overexerted muscle. People rush through stretching. Don’t do that, take your time. Take your time, let the stretches extend gradually.

Yoga is an important part of my general conditioning. I know what you’re thinking, a bunch of women in a hot room doing odd poses and saying “ooommmm” (and why is that bad?). But I’ve found it extremely beneficial, and I’ve been doing it off and on for more than ten years. Yoga is beyond the scope of this video, and a lot of the most useful poses require expert instruction to gain the full benefit and avoid injury. I strongly recommend you join a yoga class and get some basic instruction. The improvement in flexibility and reach, as well as the improvements in injury recovery and joint strength, are well worth the relatively small time investment.

Shoulder Stretch

To do the shoulder stretch, reach across your body, then use your other arm to grab the arm between the elbow and shoulder, and help pull it flat to your chest. Give a steady pull to open the shoulder joint, warm the muscles and get some blood flowing. This is an important stretch both for prone paddling flexibility and to increase your reach using a paddle.

Turn your head to increase the stretch. You can add a head roll and do two stretches at once. Look across the shoulder you’re stretching, then roll your chin down across your chest until you are looking the other way. Roll back and press your head towards the shoulder to deepen the stretch. When you feel the muscle relax add a little more tension. Not too hard, things are still cold, we need to get your muscles warmed up and stretched before we push them

Overhead shoulder

For the overhead shoulder stretch, reach straight up with your left arm, fold it over your head Grab your elbow with your right hand and start pulling it back over your head. Once you have a good stretch going, increase it by leaning away from your left side. Release your elbow and let your arm come slowly down. Give it some time to move. Now switch to your right arm.

Behind the Back

Reach high behind your back and clasp your hands then rotate them outwards and down. Let your shoulders roll back. Increase the stretch by pushing your arms up, but don’t extend so far that your shoulders roll forward.

squat stretch
Extend your arms straight out in front of you and drop into a squat.

Roll your shoulders forwards and reach with your arms. If you have knee or flexibility issues you can just bend your knees to a sitting position. Press forward to increase the stretch


Spread your legs wide and lean over, stretching until your hands touch the ground. Now walk your hands to the side to reach first one foot, then over to the other. Repeat several times, then bend you knees slightly and stand up. It’s not a good idea to stand up with your knees locked.

Runner’s Stretch

Start the stretch by stepping back into a runner position with your front knee behind your toes, back knee touching the ground. Push forward to stretch the groin and thigh muscles. Then raise your rear knee and come to a straight back leg, pressing your rear foot flat. Push back to accentuate the hamstring and ankle stretch

Thigh Stretch

Shift your balance to your left leg, raise your right leg and grasp the ankle with your right hand. Pull the heel tight against your backside. Do the stretch until you feel the muscles begin to loosen, then switch legs

Confusion Stretch

This is a ballistic stretch, a good one for warming up your shoulders, and it’s a bit of a mental exercise too.

Okay lets run, a slow jog, nothing hard, we’re still warming up. The easier we take it while we’re warming up, the better off you be tomorrow morning. If a jog is too much right now just walk fast and take a few jogging steps every so often. Do everything at your own speed. I particularly like running in sand, it gives you resistance and works your thighs calves, ankles. It gets all the little balance muscles working to stabilize your feet and legs. It seems fitting to me that the beach is the best place for a waterman to work out.
I don’t like running on hard surfaces. After a sand run I feel fatigued, but I don’t feel the impact pain that often follows road running