Surfing And Neck Pain

Words Glenn Phipps Exercise Physiologist atThe Movement Lab

bededurbidge7Bede sure had some neck pain after this bad boy last year. Photo: WSL / Will Hayden-Smith

If you have ever had a pain in the neck, youll realise why the occurrence itself is associated with a phrase to describe those chronic pests of humans that have the ability turn your good day bad.

Many of us end up with a pain in the neck as a result of poor paddling technique. This can be due to upper body tightness, weakness around the upper back and neck, fatigue or just general laziness and an inability to be aware of when you are wrecking yourself. Muscle dysfunction related to shoulder blade movement is a big contributor here.

So, this exercise kicks off a data bank of things that you can do to check yourself, before you wreck yourself.

Capture SL1Here's an example of what this should look like.

This exercise, whilst it looks pretty easy, can be quite difficult to do well, and is great at helping to bring your body into a good position on the board when paddling out, whether through body awareness or increased strength. I have found this exercise to be incredibly effective in not only improving shoulder stability, but also helping to improve posture out of the water.

To do this seemingly simple exercise, come into a prone position with your breadbasket on the ground, and elbows bent, with forearms supporting your weight as your chest lifts off the ground. Draw the elbows back and let the chest come forward this is especially important if you feel any lower back pain in this position. Keeping this position, begin to lift the right elbow off the ground. Be aware of any compensatory movements, and try to minimise them the rest of your body should be as still as possible. Try to push both feet equally into the ground. Breathing out, reach forward as far as you can without moving the chest be aware of the muscles around the shoulders, working to stabilise position. Breathe in, and bring the arm back to its original position. Throughout, be sure to keep the neck still, with the chin slightly lowered. Repeat on the opposite side for four reps per side.

You could use this exercise as part of your gun-pumping workout, part of a stretching routine, or just for shits and giggles as it tickles your fancy. Even better, stay tuned for more exercises that can help to form part of your body maintenance program. Or as a special offer to Surfing Life readers, get a hold of this injury prevention E-book here: for five dollars.

Glenn Phipps is an in demand Exercise Physiologist who currently works with the world's best athletes in SUP, Surfing, OCR and MMA. He is also the official Sports Scientist for the ESPN program Search 4 Hurt, and has been featured in various health and fitnesspublications. When not bringing clarity to the confusing world of health and fitness, he can be found lamenting why everyone wants to surf at the same time as him, and hanging out with the people he made.

You can find out more about Glenn and his business, The Movement Lab,right here. Or,find him on Facebook. As an added bonus for being a Surfing Life reader, he's offering 10% off your first appointment if you're looking for online help, he'll offer you a second month free for his uniqueonline training program. Just mention this article.

And, stay tuned for his next feature as Surfing Life's in house health expert.

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