We all know we should stretch before exercising, but most boaters don’t think to do it before hitting the water. It’s easy to forget when you’re in a rush to pack up and launch the boat. However, if you take a few minutes to limber up before a day of casting, fighting fish or any of the other physically taxing activities that can take place on the water, your muscles and joints will thank you for it the next day.
In this video, Mercury Pro Team member and co-host of the “Saltwater Experience” TV show Tom Rowland demonstrates a simple leg-stretching routine that you can do using only a band or strap. It’s a great way to loosen up your legs, hips and hamstrings. You can do this entire sequence from the ground. Take as much time as you want with these. The routine will help you stay stretched out for any workout or activity that is hard on your legs.
This routine is best done in a flow where you move from one position to the next. Start by lying on your back. A simple nylon strap is great for this, but a belt or dockline will also be fine. There is really no need for anything fancy or expensive.
- From your back, loop the strap over the toe of your right foot – holding one end in each hand – and extend the leg up to as close to a 90-degree angle as you can get. Straighten the knee as much as you can. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds to a minute.
- Now pull your leg across to your left side until parallel with the ground or floor. Keeping your leg straight, hold the stretch for another 30 seconds to a minute. You can try applying a little pulling pressure up toward your head for a deeper stretch.
- Now bring your right leg back to center and allow it to fall over to the right side until parallel with the ground or floor. Keep your leg straight while pulling the strap up toward your head to get a good stretch. Hold in this position for 30 seconds to a minute.
- Finally, bring your right leg back to center. Then bend your knee and roll over on to your stomach. Your right leg should now be bent up so your heel is pointing toward your back. In this position you will be pulling the foot and knee toward your head, getting a deep quadriceps stretch. Hold here for 30 seconds to a minute.
- Once you have completed all these stretches with your right leg, return to your back and complete them all with your left leg.
As we stand, fish, ride in the boat or train off the water, muscles can get tight, and this tightness can lead to injury. A simple stretching routine like this can be done anywhere with a strap or band long enough to go around your foot.
“I have done this with a belt, hotel towel, old piece of rope and also an expensive yoga band,” Rowland said. “It doesn’t matter what you use, only that you do the stretching on a regular basis. This particular stretching routine has been incredibly effective in keeping me healthy when I’m running a lot. Whether you are a runner or not, we all get tight, and we can all benefit from some targeted stretching.
“Remaining flexible and mobile is a key to longevity, durability and enjoyment of any activity.”
Want to try Tom Rowland’s stretching routine yourself? Grab a band, belt or strap and follow along with this video.