AS A WAKEBOARDER, IT’S NO SURPRISE IF YOU REGULARLY GET DOWN TO THE GYM TO CHECK OUT THE GUN SHOW AND

THROW A FEW WEIGHTS AROUND. MAYBE YOU JOG AROUND YOUR LOCAL STREETS UNTIL IT BURNS A FEW NIGHTS A WEEK. BUT ARE YOU REALLY DOING ALL THAT YOU COULD BE? OR MORE IMPORTANTLY, ARE YOU DOING IT CORRECTLY? WE ALL KNOW THE IMPORTANCE OF KEEPING FIT AND HEALTHY AND HOW IT’LL HELP YOU GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR TIME ON THE WATER. THE HIGHER YOUR FITNESS LEVEL, THE LESS RISK OF INJURY, RIGHT? NOT NECESSARILY. NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU HURT, AN AVERAGE WORKOUT AT THE GYM MIGHT NOT ACTUALLY BE HELPING YOU AS MUCH AS YOU THINK, AS CHRIS O’SHEA FOUND OUT.
Words & Pics: Marlon Platt

O’Shea has always been one to most likely roll out of bed and slip into his bindings, stiff and sore from the day before. Sitting in a sweaty gym has always been the furthest thing from his mind. Ask him and he’ll tell you, he didn’t give a shit about training. Granted, he did some cross-training consisting of skating, surfing and running around music festivals. But that was about it. After an intense season in ’08 filled with smashing double-ups and doublecut punts for video sections, O’Shea’s back began giving him grief. He saw professional after professional, but it only got worse. His father Rick recommended he visit exercise physiologist, Ryan Poole, who he’d been seeing for a hip problem. “Ryan picked up the problem straight away. After a month of working with me intensively, my back was fixed.” says O’Shea. Chriso continued to see Ryan, who set him straight in many areas. “I was stretching all wrong. And even though I looked in shape, my core strength was weak.” Chriso’s outer muscles were getting stronger, but all the while the smaller,

equally important ‘inner muscles’ were being neglected. Being a wakeboarder himself, Ryan was able to better understand the particular demands on the body. And because a lot of wakeboarding involves your legs, core and shoulders, they are treated as one. There is also a lot of focus on stability and balance. “We do this exercise where I squat on a ball side on, while holding and wobbling a body blade up and down in your leading hand, as if it were a wakeboard handle. I do it regular, then switch. I work harder on the switch side, which helps hold a proper stance when actually riding switch on the water.” Chriso has spent a year and a half training with Ryan so far. Being back home on the Mornington Peninsula for around a month a year, he has made the most of Ryan’s Frankston based studio. Ryan has a bunch of programs in place for Chriso to stick to while he’s overseas, plus they keep in contact via email and Skype, if Chriso has anything he has a question about. “Ryan’s also good at making sure I’m not slacking. It’s been great having someone to push me and keep me motivated.” he says. We met up with Chriso at Ryan’s PACE

(Physical Activity Creates Energy) studio, to quiz the trainer himself. After completing an Exercise Science degree, Ryan became a Level-Two Strength and Conditioning coach and quickly found a passion for working with athletes and people with postural problems and weaknesses. He now leads a private Exercise Physiology practice. “The most common cliental for me are people with musculo-skeletal problems, ranging from lower back pain to dodgy knees and shoulders, as well as people who want to improve their strength, posture, performance and resilience to injury.” says Ryan. Your average gym membership usually

entails a ‘one size fits all’ type of deal. But with an EP (Exercise Physiologist), you get a more aligned approach. And this is where it all makes sense. There’s no point hitting up a gym and pushing weight around. While you’re bulking up and looking the goods in the mirror, your other core muscles are being neglected. In fact, the more bulk you put on, the less time your spending on core work, which can lead to injury. “We design functional and precise exercise programs geared toward the client’s sport, past-time or work. Each person is very different and will have different requirements for their program especially if there are injury concerns.”

WE SAT DOWN WITH RYAN TO FIND OUT A LITTLE MORE ABOUT CHRISO’S TRAINING PROGRAM.

Explain Chriso’s training program.
Chris’ program is focused toward stability, power and endurance - which is really important for wakeboarding. When we first met, Chris was doing lots of stretching and yoga - we quickly ditched most of that as he is extremely flexible! What we also found was a weakness through his pelvic and spinal stabilisers (very important for leg and torso strength). So we quickly developed a corrective program to re-balance his body through stability, targeted stretching and myofascial release. Due to his commitment and focus, the program has progressed into an advanced strength, stability and power workout which is totally geared at wakeboarding performance and crash recovery.

What are some changes you’ve noticed in Chriso’s fitness?
He has better posture and far greater stability through his core. As a result he has been able to generate increased strength and specific flexibility for his riding. Chris has also mentioned that his endurance on the water is better, and he’s able to recover quicker from long sessions. He can also handle big crashes better than before.

As wakeboarding progresses, so do the injuries. The importance of fitness and injury prevention is as important as ever. So as of next issue, Ryan will become a regular Wake Mag columnist, giving you professional tips or ways to improve your fitness, by sharing some simple exercises you can do at home. These areas will be stability, flexibility, strength, power and muscular & aerobic endurance. Ryan will provide detailed instruction to allow anybody to complete the exercises at home with minimal equipment, or how they can transfer the exercises into the gym. For more information on PACE Exercise Physiology, contact Ryan Poole. Phone: (03) 9770 6770 Email: ryan@pacehm.com.au

What can people expect to get out of this kind of training?
Riders can expect to get that extra edge on their mates / competitors. The fitness elements combined will make them feel a lot stronger, have better riding endurance, quicker recovery times and will reduce their chances of injury and soreness. 

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EXERCISE PHYSIOLOGY / 61

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