Stretches for post SUP muscle tension

Stretches for post SUP muscle tension

Posted: 15th March 2020 by Emma Wall

The best stretches for post Paddle Boarding

So you’ve spent a few hours out on the water paddling like a trooper on your SUP. Whether you’ve been touring some river waterways, dealing with some chop and wind whilst exploring the coastline, or out wave riding in some decent swell paddle surfing, you’re going to need a decent stretch out. These stretches for post SUP will help ease muscle tension in all of the areas that get a decent workout. Your shoulders, forearms, wrists and lower back would all have got a good inning whilst out paddleboarding. Not to mention achy trapezius in your upper back, a well-worked core and overworked rotator cuff and neck muscles.

These simple stretches for post SUP are also a great way to prepare your paddle power before going out on the water. But if you’re too excited about getting out on the water and getting involved, which is totally understandable, they’ll also feel great post paddleboarding to help release your tight muscles ready for the next day’s venture out. Stretches are so important for relieving post muscle tension, so try not to skimp on them after your session on the water. Your body will thank you for it, trust me!

Upper back and top of shoulder stretch

Eagle arms variationEagle arms for shoulder stretch

Stretching: Trapezius/rhomboids (upper back), rotator cuff muscles (shoulder stabilising muscles around the shoulder and upper back), back and middle of the deltoids (shoulder)

This pose is fantastic for getting a deep stretch across the muscles covering your shoulder blades and really effective in helping to stop that whole area seizing up after a long session out paddling. Hold for anywhere between 5-25 long steady breaths each side.

Start with your arms Bent out to either side. Bring your left arm in front so that its parallel with the front of your body, then bring the other arm down and under the left arm. First just work toward touching the back of your hands together, feeling an even stretch across your shoulder blades by keeping both thumbs pointing directly towards you. If you can bring your hands into one more loop, clapping your palms together and again pointing your thumbs towards your centre line, then do. If neither of these options are available to you then cross your arms and hold onto opposite shoulders.

Shoulder, tricept and chest stretch

Cow face arms for shoulder mobility Cow face arms for shoulder mobility Cow face arms for shoulder mobility

Stretches: Opens chest, anterior deltoid (front of shoulder), encourages a greater range of mobility in the shoulders, triceps.

A greater range of motion in your shoulders is undeniably going to benefit your paddling technique and make you more agile with your trusty stick. Bear in mind however that the shoulder can easily dislocate, so we also need a good amount of strength in the supporting muscles of the shoulder in order to stabilise it. The brilliantly named ‘Cow Face’ pose in yoga is a great way to open up your shoulders and chest, as well a fantastic stretch for your triceps.

Extended your right arm up in the air with a strap in it (a scarf or tie will do if you don’t have a strap) and then bring that arm down behind your back. Extend your left arm out in front of you and then internally rotate your palm down and out to the side. Bring that hand behind your back with the palm facing out so that you can grab the belt with your bottom hand. Try not to arch your back and check that you’re not holding any tension in your neck or jaw. BREATH! For 5-25 breaths. If your fingers reach each other in a grip without you compromising the length in your spine then proceed without the help of a belt.

Side neck stretch with resistance

Stretching out the neck post SUP

Stretching: trapezius (covers shoulder blades and neck), levator scapulae (thick muscle at the backside of your neck that’s responsible for turning your neck and lifting your shoulder blades)

Sitting cross-legged bring one arm out to the side and walk it as far away from you as you can. Taking the opposite hand, gently draw your head down to the opposite side. From here try and lightly push back against the top of your hand resisting the pressure. Next play about with the tucking your chin to access the different muscles in your neck.

For some fun poses to try on your SUP with the whole family click here.

3 part back release and front body opener

3 PART BACK STRETCH  3 PART BACK STRETCH  3 part back stretch

Not only does this 3 part stretch work its way up your spine releasing each part as it goes. But its also a wonderful way of stretching out the front of the body. Think about all that core work that you’ve been doing not to mention your chest muscles! Ease into the backbend sequence with a supported Bridge, using a prop underneath your sacrum to gently stimulate this area and help bring nourishment to it. The second posture begins to work more with the tight tissues across the chest. And the last in the sequence gives you a full front body stretch.

Supported bridge – block under sacrum (on the back of your pelvis at the very end of spine) and knees bent with feet hip-width apart on the floor.
Gentle chest opener – legs extended, block under thoracic spine (mid-back) and back of the head with arms extended to the side and palms facing up.
Full front body stretch – with the blocks as before extending the arms overhead or bend them into cactus arms either side.

Hold each pose for around 3 minutes.

for more deep stretches for the back click here.

2 part wrist stretch


So I’ve been known on SUP surf sessions to get down on my board and paddle it back out like a regular surfboard due to the amount of pressure building up in my forearms and wrists. And I know I’m not alone in this. Good wrist health is paramount to a good paddle so don’t forget to give them some love once you get off the water.

Interlace fingers with elbows together and roll wrists
Pull fingers back, then fold fingers to centre – wrists and forearm

Above all else remember that strength and flexibility are a winning combination that will not only bring more agility to your sessions but also help prevent against strains and injuries. 15 minutes stretching post paddle could equal 1 hour more water time for you on your next session as well as leaving you feeling more open and relaxed.


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