As spring arrives on the West Coast, more and more paddlers will be hitting the water in the coming days and weeks

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One of the things that many of us neglect to do before we hit the water a little warm-up. It’s actually really important to warm-up before you start any sport to prevent injuries. I always recommend dynamic stretching before any sport or workout. Dynamic stretching involves doing movements that are dynamic, e.g. constantly moving to get into the full range of motion in our joints. When we stretch dynamically, we warm-up the joints, reduce muscle tension and maintain our levels of flexibility.

Start slowly, and increase in intensity as you warm-up.

Here are a few shoulder and upper back dynamic stretches that I like to do with the paddle before hitting the water. You can also do these at home or in the gym with a dowel to increase mobility in the shoulders and upper back.

1. Overhead Stretch

2. Overhead Rotations

3. Upper Back Twist

4. Paddle Moon Pose

5. Shoulder Dips
Shoulder Dips with SUP Paddle

With knees bent in a half squat, place your paddle parallel to the ground, resting on your knees. Rest your hands on the paddle past your knees. Slowly dips one shoulder down between the knees, come back to centre, dip the shoulder down to the other side, moving back and forth dynamically. You often each some cracking in popping in this dynamic stretch.

Try incorporating all or a few of these before your next SUP session. Your joints and muscles will thank you!