Author Topic: How the heck do you engage your stinkin' core?  (Read 2449 times)

linter

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How the heck do you engage your stinkin' core?
« on: December 10, 2016, 06:46:12 PM »
  First, let me say that I really really dislike California surf.  What's with all the backwash and the absence of low tide?  I mean, how is that even possible?  Tourmaline in SD is where I've been going out but also Mission Beach Jetty.  Same deal there. 

  Anyway, after I got out of the water today, this guy came up to me and starting going on about how when I paddle I'm just using my arms and not my core and you gotta start using your core, dude, and he was all like that. 

   I'm sure he's right.  I'm sure I'm an arm-flailing maniac.  But for the life o' me, it seems perfectly natural.  So, if I wanted to start to 'engage' my crappy core, how would i do that so that i know i'm freakin doing it?

  btw / I hate it when people tell me what i'm doing wrong ... even if they're right.  really chilled my morning vibe.  then again, yeah, i probably needed it, which is why i'm posting about it here.

TallDude

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Re: How the heck do you engage your stinkin' core?
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2016, 06:59:04 PM »
Easy. Just paddle as if your elbows don't bend. If you could slide rigid tubes over your arms at the elbows then go paddle full strokes, you will be engaging your core completely. Not that I don't have my upper arm just slightly bent as I reach to anchor my paddle, but arms go immediately straight after that.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2016, 07:12:34 PM by TallDude »
It may be overhead to you, but it's waist high to me.

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PonoBill

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Re: How the heck do you engage your stinkin' core?
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2016, 07:29:52 PM »
Yup, and if you stack your shoulders to get max reach, and push down with your upper hand as you start your stroke, you'll automatically unwind your body to engage a little more of your core muscles. I watched a few pretty good surfers paddling sups over the last few days, and they were all paddling with their arms. Yeah, it works, but it's weak.
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southwesterly

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Re: How the heck do you engage your stinkin' core?
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2016, 07:33:16 PM »
Engaging your core while paddling is an esoteric state of affairs.

You’ll know it when you feel it.

linter

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Re: How the heck do you engage your stinkin' core?
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2016, 07:38:46 PM »
   My excuse (at least to myself) has been that the flailing-arms thing helps counter my poor balance and that if i keep my arms straight, i won't be able to make the quick adjustments necessary to keep myself upright.  Does that theory cut the mustard?

pdxmike

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Re: How the heck do you engage your stinkin' core?
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2016, 07:51:40 PM »
Easy. Just paddle as if your elbows don't bend. If you could slide rigid tubes over your arms at the elbows then go paddle full strokes, you will be engaging your core completely.
Actually, that would be an interesting drill to try, using actual cardboard tubes or plastic pipe.


Someone (very good) told me to imagine stretching Saran Wrap from one arm to another, and keep your arms straight and in a constant relationship with one another as if you were trying to keep it stretched, and not let it droop.  That could also be an interesting one to actually try.

PonoBill

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Re: How the heck do you engage your stinkin' core?
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2016, 08:01:25 PM »
   My excuse (at least to myself) has been that the flailing-arms thing helps counter my poor balance and that if i keep my arms straight, i won't be able to make the quick adjustments necessary to keep myself upright.  Does that theory cut the mustard?

No.
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LaPerouseBay

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Re: How the heck do you engage your stinkin' core?
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2016, 08:30:41 PM »
   My excuse (at least to myself) has been that the flailing-arms thing helps counter my poor balance and that if i keep my arms straight, i won't be able to make the quick adjustments necessary to keep myself upright.  Does that theory cut the mustard?

Yes.

That's why we all arm paddle on Sup, outrigger and ski.  Rougher conditions and tippy equipment in particular.

You are probably a very good surfer that prefers to focus on the wave and not "proper" racing technique.  Surf paddles are shorter anyway, which makes it tougher to rotate the shoulders.

That clown that was harassing you in the surf was probably a flat water racer.  Dave Kalama would never say something like that to you.  Just have fun.     
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TallDude

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Re: How the heck do you engage your stinkin' core?
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2016, 08:40:37 PM »
   My excuse (at least to myself) has been that the flailing-arms thing helps counter my poor balance and that if i keep my arms straight, i won't be able to make the quick adjustments necessary to keep myself upright.  Does that theory cut the mustard?
  Surf paddles are shorter anyway, which makes it tougher to rotate the shoulders.
     
Partly true. I find my hands are just closer together with my short surfing paddle. I still keep my arms pretty straight.
It may be overhead to you, but it's waist high to me.

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linter

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Re: How the heck do you engage your stinkin' core?
« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2016, 05:05:50 AM »
  oh right -- i'm talking about paddling in the surf, not flatwater.  i'll try paddling with my arms less bent today but i'm sure what i currently do is going to be a hard habit to break.  and i'm not sure what changing would do for me anyway.  aesthetically, core paddling would probably look better, but i get all the waves i want as is and it's not like my arms are totally spent at the end of a session.
  thanks, guys, for the varying opinions.  (esp. glad to have mr. bay weigh in ... his comments will make me feel better if i decide it's too much effort or not worth it to go core.)

cantSUPenough

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Re: How the heck do you engage your stinkin' core?
« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2016, 06:04:01 AM »
About a year ago I did some Pilates and learned to engage my core.  As a result my balance is much better and I have not experienced back pain since (very common previously).

And if you use your core (and legs) to paddle I think you can put more power into your paddle - you get out the back quicker and you save your arms which you may use in the fury to get on to the wave (and it strengthens your core with the above benefits).

And I believe you are less likely to experience elbow and shoulder injury if you use your core.

But I think you should get some off-water core training - Pilates on a reformer did it for me.

(99% of my paddling is in the surf.)
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Area 10

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Re: How the heck do you engage your stinkin' core?
« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2016, 06:22:13 AM »
It's very annoying getting unsolicited advice.

But learning good stroke technique will enhance your SUPing in SO many ways. It's the gift that keeps on giving, and your body will love you for it. It's worth the effort.

Keep your arms as straight as you can and pull the paddle by twisting your upper half. You can engage your hips and thighs to help. Concentrate on entering the blade at a positive angle, and press forward and down as the blade enters, and get the blade deep. If you do this your blade will grab the water so hard that it will be hard to pull just with your arms. And having the blade well loaded helps a lot with balance - you transfer weight to it so it becomes the third leg of a tripod. It takes a lot of practice, and almost certainly everyone here is still working on it. But it's worth the effort. You will catch more waves, fall less, cover more distances per session, and develop muscles in places you didn't even know you had places. Good luck!

PonoBill

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Re: How the heck do you engage your stinkin' core?
« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2016, 06:27:28 AM »
What Dave WOULD say, and often does, is that proper technique is the key to catching bigger, faster waves. Horsepower equals acceleration, and the horsepower available in skinny arms is less than what is available in your core and legs.

It's just another technique to add to your quiver, but it's worth learning. I tend to let technique go south when I'm excited about catching a wave, and the result is simply not as good as getting it right to begin with. My typical over-excited flail results in doing a late drop after running to the nose and beating away on the water. I contrast that with staying in the sweet spot of the board, accelerating hard and getting into the wave early, still balanced, with no need to sprint back to the tail to make the bottom turn. Just from the standpoint of balance, the result with technique and power is much better. But from the point of being able to do more with the wave, and beat sections, stay in the pocket, and do what I want instead of what the late drop forces me to do, there's not much comparison. It's like the difference between a good longboarder coming smoothly to their feet, exactly where they want to be on the board, and a noob, wobbling to their feet in the wrong spot with the board bouncing around.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2016, 06:34:39 AM by PonoBill »
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linter

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Re: How the heck do you engage your stinkin' core?
« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2016, 08:02:31 AM »
thanks, bill.  i'm with you on that over-excited flailing stuff, though I've got to say I sometimes like taking off on the nose, if only because, depending on the wave, you can stay there and even move forward.

in my special-flower case, my arms are about as strong as my legs, which means both are fairly weak.  core is okay strong though covered with a nice layer of flab.

skipped the surf today.  more junk.  but next time i'm going to practice core paddling at least while i'm moving around in the line up.  come a wave, i may revert to my old ways but maybe not.  we shall see.

surfcowboy

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Re: How the heck do you engage your stinkin' core?
« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2016, 09:33:56 AM »
When I'm down, let's hit the bay and paddle some flat water. (Yeah, it sucks but it is great for technique.) Unsolicited advice is a boundary failure, I heard someone smart say once, but having someone who's on your side and not a dick about it can change your life.

This is one I have pretty well down but I think that you will want to adapt it a bit due to your challenges, that said, it's very do-able and when you feel it, it's great.

You will drop in and out of form but once your muscles remember it, it self-corrects once balance returns. Also, the benefit is longer sessions and feeling better when you get out.

 


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