A Strong Back for Diving


By Gretchen M. Ashton, CFT, SFT, SFN, NBFE

It is important for divers to have as strong a back as possible; especially the low back.  The muscles of the back support the spine and assist with lifting, pulling, bending, standing, reaching and twisting. Most diving activities involve complex integrated actions of all the muscles and joints of the body.  The back, abs and legs are particularly involved to lift gear, stand and walk while wearing gear, cross shore terrain, and climb boat ladders. Underwater strong back, ab and leg muscles are important for kicking in strong currents.

Precautions: The Good Morning is an advanced exercise and it may not be best for divers with low back conditions. Divers with low back conditions and new exercisers can perform the Good Morning without added weight or the Kneeling Ball Roll Out.

Good Morning

Stand erect with feet about hip width apart. Contract the abdominal muscles by pulling the belly button toward the spine to aid in supporting the low back. Cross the arms in front of the chest as shown. The legs are straight with a slightly flexed knee. Inhale while bending forward at the hips. Stand up by reversing the movement while exhaling and squeezing the glutes (buttocks) and repeat. More advanced divers may add a barbell on the yolk of the shoulders (not on the neck).

Good Morning - Position #1  Good Morning - Position #2  Good Morning with Weight - Position #2

Kneeling Ball Roll Out

Kneel on a soft surface or pad with an exercise ball pulled close in front of the body and place both hands on the top of the ball as shown. From an upright posture, slowly roll the ball away from the body by extending the arms and knee joints until the torso is a bridge and the forearms are in contact with the ball. Keep the hip joint straight and the low back in a neutral position. Contract the abs on the roll out and even more on the return. Reverse the roll, by squeezing the (buttocks) glute muscles and rolling the ball back to the starting position. The hamstring muscles on the back of the upper legs will be working along with other muscles of the body during this movement. In case of a hamstring cramp, quickly extend the cramping leg straight out behind and flex the ankle for a stretch. Inhale on the roll out and exhale during the return.

Kneeling Ball Roll Out - Position #1  Kneeling Ball Roll Out - Position #2

This is a stand-alone exercise for all divers and an alternate exercise in lieu of the Good Morning for divers with low back weakness or injury.



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March 11, 2016 |

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