Profiling elite stand up paddle boarders

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Publication details

Schram, B, Hin, W, Climstein, M & Walsh, J 2014, 'Profiling elite stand up paddle boarders', Journal of Fitness Research, vol. 3, issue 1, pp. 40-51.

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Introduction: Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) is a rapidly growing sport and recreational activity where anecdotal evidence exists for its proposed fitness, injury rehabilitation & core strength benefits. A review of the literature failed to identify a single article which examined the potential physiological adaptations associated with SUP.

Aims: The purpose of this study was to profile elite stand up paddle boarders in relation to balance, muscular strength and muscular endurance.

Methods: Eight elite SUP's were recruited from the Stand Up Paddle Surfing Association of Australia. Anatomical measures of multifidus cross-sectional area (via ultrasound), postural control under static and dynamic conditions and an isometric test of lumbar extension were performed.

Results: Results found no significant differences in height, significantly less mass (p = 0.001) and significantly lower BMI (p < 0.05) than published Australian Bureau of Statistics data. Significantly lower static postural control indicated by increased velocity of sway ((p < 0.01), Eyes Open (EO) = +72.02% Eyes Closed (EC) = +76.34%) and significantly higher levels of dynamic postural control indicated by decreased velocity of sway (p < 0.01, Eyes-Open-Anterior-Posterior instability condition (EOAP) -34.54%, Eyes -Closed-Anterior-Posterior instability condition (ECAP) -35.83%, Eyes Open Medial Lateral instability condition (EOML) -16.91 %, Eyes Closed Medial Lateral instability condition (ECML) -10.42%) were recorded in all but one condition when compared to national level surfers, which we attributed to time spent in the standing position on an unstable surface.

Conclusion: These results indicate that stand up paddle boarding may indeed be beneficial for strength and endurance training of the trunk musculature, for balance training for other sports and useful as a rehabilitation tool for musculoskeletal dysfunction.

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