Etchells News

Top six stretches for racing sailors

Posted September 15, 2013

Andrew Verdon works with the Australian Sailing Team and he has been glad to provide health ideas for you to consider.

Do you always read we should stretch after exercise (including yacht racing)? Yes? However, what stretches should you actually do?

The best way I think to learn anything is often to ask an expert or an experienced and successful competitor for their viewpoint thoughts. So to find out some good stretches, let’s ask two of the worlds best - Mal Page, the 470 World Champion and 2008 and 2012 Olympic Gold Medallist, and also Michael Blackburn Laser World Champion, Olympic Medallist and 2008 Olympic Laser Radial Coach.

I asked them what are the favourite stretches to do after a day on the water?

Mal Page’sfavourite stretches after a day out on the 470 are:

Back rotation stretch - A good all round back stretch.

Forearms - Mal says this is a great stretch after a windy day as the forearms do a lot of gripping work, especially when pumping down wind.

Michael Blackburn’s favourites from his vast knowledge of Laser sailing are:

Hip Flexor - This is probably the most important stretch for any sailor who hikes.

Lower back - Another great one to stretch the lower back after a day spent hiking.

Here are my two favourite stretches for any position on any type of boat. I like these because they are great ‘bang for your buck’ stretches as they hit many muscle groups at one time and stretch in the opposite direction to many movements done during competitive sailing.

Posterior chain stretch - A great stretch for the calves, hamstrings, glutes and lower back.

Bench stretch - Another great stretch for hamstrings, mid-spine, chest and back muscles.

Stretching Guidelines

  • Do each stretch for 30 to 45 seconds on each side. No less.
  • Repeat if you feel one side is tighter, then repeat this side again.
  • Hold to the point of approximately a feeling of 7 to 8 out of 10.
  • Do not bounce or hold your breath. Breathe as normal.
  • Keep good posture at all times.