This topic and question has come up a lot recently and I’ve been amazed to be contacted by so many people that are looking to embark upon epic kitesurfing trips.
Only last week, a guy who is planning to Kitesurf from Jersey to Bournemouth next year contacted me and whilst chatting with him he was keen to understand what are the best methods of training to prepare your body for long distance kitesurfing journeys.
For me personally, I haven’t had to change my training routine much at all. I’ve certainly increased certain aspects of it but when it comes to preparing the body, here is a list of what I go through. I’m not suggesting or saying this is right for everyone but for me it certainly works for me.
Press ups – Every morning without fail I’ll knock out 100 press-ups in set sets of 50… not before the first coffee of the day though.
Stretching – I can’t confess to know much about Yoga but I’ve certainly picked up a few moves and each morning I’ll run through some simple stretching to improve flexibility and strengthen the core.
Curls – It’s important to mention that none of my exercise routine involves using a gym. I hate the gym and prefer to use what’s available to me at home. This one’s a bit weird but I use a steel sheep hurdle (like a small gate weighing 50kg) for my curls, 100 split into 4 sets of 25.
Triceps Curls – I’ll also use the hurdle for triceps curls, holding it behind my back and then straightening my arms to locked position. Not everyone has one of these kicking about at home so dumbbells are your next best option.
Triceps Dips – Again a bit weird but I do these in the kitchen whilst waiting for the kettle to boil. Using the kitchen worktops in the corner of kitchen, place your palms on the worktops and with locked arms lift your body up curling your legs behind you. Now dip until your chest almost touches the work top, hold for 2 seconds then push up slowly. Initially, these are killers and most people can only knock out a couple. However, keep doing them every time you boil the kettle and soon you’ll be amazed how your strength improves, it won’t be long before you can push out 20.
It’s important to note that I’ve built up to all of the above, you’ll need to find what comfortable and then build up accordingly… don’t over do it.
Cycling – Now this is my biggest tip to improving your stamina for endurance kitesurfing. Both off road and road cycling are great for improving your fitness but I certainly favour road over off road. Road cycling combines everything you need to improve cardiovascular, leg strength / power and strengthen the core. It’s an amazing full body workout but most importantly focuses on the core muscle groups you use most in kitesurfing. Now road cycling on your own can be boring, particularly as you’ll need to push yourself to stay in the saddle for longer. Initially, short rides of 2hrs and then building to longer distances of 4 – 5 hrs. One of the best ways to tackle this is to ride organised Sportive. Don’t be put off, if this is totally new to you, you will find that organised events cater for both guys and girls and mixed abilities over various distances, typically Fun, Standard and Epic. By far one of my favourites in the UK is UK Cycling Events / Wiggle Super Series. These events are run with military precision and provide amazing support with clearly signed routes and feed stations. You just rock up, register and ride… easy!
Kitesurfing – An obvious one I know but of course the only way you can improve your kitesurfing endurance is to hit the water as much as possible and push yourself to kite longer distances. One of the best ways to do this from safety angle is down winders. Rather that kiting out miles on your own without support, plan some long runs down wind, this way should anything go wrong or you need to get back to shore quickly then you can with ease. In preparation for the Channel Crossing, I kitesurfed from Bognor Pier to Brighton Pier, a distance of 26miles. I picked a day when the wind was almost bang on shore, this meant I could kite against the wind rather than a full down wind run. You can read the full story on my Pier-to-Pier journey here.
So that’s it for me, a simple workout that I’ve developed to suit my lifestyle and focus on all the core muscle groups yet still giving a good all over body workout. I won’t bang on about diet, that’s really down to you as an individual but just try your best to eat good food and avoid junk, basically if you eat crap then you’ll feel crap.
If you have any questions on the above then please ask, I’m not expert by any means but I’ve been doing this a while now and it certainly works for me.