How to warm up and stretch for wing foiling?

In wing foil and as in all sports practices, warming up and stretching are important to anticipate the muscular and articular evolution of our bodies. Warming up is done before practice and stretching after practice. Feel free to consult our complete guide to learn wing foil .


Alban's advice

Don’t pull or look for pain in stretching or warm-ups. If you feel any pain, stop the exercises and consult a doctor or Alban (physiotherapist)!

Remember to breathe well during the stretch. Breathe in slowly as you move and breathe out as you release.

Stay hydrated! Hydration happens throughout the day, but after the session, the body has sweated and may be a little dehydrated. So remember to bring water for before and after the session.

For stretching, take your time and to relax, break down the movement in the opposite direction.


Warm up before the wing foil session

When and how to warm up?

The warm-up is done before going in the water. Even if carrying your gear to the slipway or the beach gets you going, it’s not a proper warm-up (too bad)! Once you have changed and your equipment is ready and secure, you can begin the warm-up. To do this, no need for equipment, the body weight is enough. Each movement is done on each side for about twenty seconds or fifteen movements per side.

Muscles to warm up

Lower body:
  • First, to warm up the lower neck or more specifically the pelvis and the lower back, you can perform small rotations in one direction and then in the other.
  • For the torso, you can make a few horizontal rotations to the right and then to the left without moving your feet.
  • Then, with your arms stretched towards the sky, you can make inclinations towards the right and towards the left with your feet anchored in the ground, width of the pelvis.
  • These two exercises will allow you to warm up your back, lumbar and pectoral muscles. Upper extremities:
    • Relatively simple exercise for the wrists: rotations in one direction then in the other, hands joined.
    • For the elbows, place your elbow on your hand facing you and rotate inward while bringing your arm toward you. Thus, the arm of the warmed-up elbow passes under the hand that holds this same elbow. Then do the opposite for each arm.
    • For the shoulders, arms relaxed at the side of the body, rotate the shoulders forward and then backward. At the same time, you are putting pressure on the trapezius muscles. Then perform a full rotation with the arm, one after the other and then both at the same time.
    Neck :
    • Anticipate neck and nape injuries by performing flexions and extensions (forward to backward), rotations (right head, to the left and then to the right) and then tilts (right head, lean to the right and then to the left)
    • The heart is also a muscle and requires a special warm-up. The more trained you are, the more efficient your heart is and the less tired you are over time. The exercises seen previously will already warm up the heart since its heart rate will have increased. The ideal would be to make it rise still in to prepare the heart to the effort.
    • To do this, you can do a small cardio circuit with exercises that you know and can do well. For example, push-ups, jumping jacks, knee raises or even running back and forth on the beach.


Stretching after the wing foil session

When and how to stretch?

You’ve done your session and picked up your gear, it’s time to stretch! Stretching comes after the session. You can choose to stretch on the spot, on your way home or after a nice hot shower, at your convenience!

Once again, no equipment is needed, except for a gym mat (the one in the living room will also do fine).

Take your time with the stretching, the goal is not to weaken your muscle fibers that are already very stressed during the session. About ten seconds will be necessary on each movement and on each side.

Logically, we will stretch the muscles that have worked during the session, namely: the back, shoulders and chest (if you are an ace pumping think of stretching your legs).

Muscles to stretch

Small pectoral :

  • The shoulder is composed of several muscles linked to the pectoral muscles. The wing foil position can lead to the shoulders being pulled forward and thus to a hump in the back. 
  • First exercise to overcome this bad posture: feet width pelvis, arms relaxed and shoulders slackened, you can open your bust by bringing it forward. Automatically, the shoulders will go backwards and the shoulder blades will tighten. Tilt your head back slightly for maximum range of motion, the goal being to feel the muscles stretch.

Great pectoral :

  • Another pectoral muscle, the pectoralis major. To stretch it, find a door jamb, post, wall, etc.
  • One side after the other, place your hand at shoulder height on the support, arm extended. Take a small step forward and if you can, make a very slight rotation in the opposite direction (turn your back to your hand). To feel the stretch more, you can turn your head away from your hand.
  • Do not do both sides simultaneously

Trapezoids :

  • The trapezius is the muscle that connects the neck to the back. It is under tension when you hold the wing in the air.
  • To stretch it, place your hand on the relaxed shoulder to lower it naturally, then tilt your head toward the other shoulder. You should feel a slight tension

Lumbar and buttocks:

  • The lumbar vertebrae make up the lower back and when you are balancing on the board they are contracted, perhaps without you even feeling it.
  • To stretch them, you can lie down with your lumbar vertebrae on the floor. Bend your legs, feet flat, and bring one knee toward your chest, then the other. If you can, to get a better feel for the movement, you can extend the leg that is not working.
  • Another option is to do both knees at the same time to further curve the lumbar region.
  • This exercise will stretch the lower back but also the glutes.

The little plus (for the pumping aces): quadriceps and hamstrings

  • To simply stretch the back of the thighs (ischios) you can stand and, with your legs straight, lean your torso forward so that you are trying to touch your feet.
  • For the front of the thighs (quadriceps):  Stand on a wall or other stable support. Bend one knee back (feet toward the buttock) and grasp your ankle with your hand to “pull” the foot further toward the buttock. One leg after the other.    

You are now ready for your next wing foil sessions!