fitness and laser sailing

Discussion in 'Laser Talk' started by keenbean, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. keenbean

    keenbean Member

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    hi all,

    it's been a while since i posted on here. Someone here told me that Scheidt was supremely fit because he wanted to concentrate solely on boat speed and not have to worry how his body was hurting.

    This season was the fittest I have been and it has made such a massive difference. I am still a naff light wind sailor but I would rather be fast in the heavy stuff and increased fitness levels have made me much more speedy in force 4 plus.

    I am not a naturally gifted sailor but have started to beat better sailors than i am and i would say this is mostly down to superior fitness.

    Has anyone else had a similar transformation and found this?

    cheers
     
  2. Int. Sailing Academy

    Int. Sailing Academy Member

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    Fitness should be a regular part of everyone's sailing, not only for the improved physical output, but also for prevention of injury. For example, the most common injury is lower back and knees. The biggest contributor is hiking position and posture. If you consider which muscles you are using while holding an isometric contraction in a laser, it is always the ones facing up. everything from our shins, to thighs, hip flexors and abdomen are constantly exerted, where as your lower back, glutes and hamstrings and calf muscle are not. Not only is this bad for imbalance in your body that causes injury, but your ability to improve at hiking is limited since your body requires a stronger back in order to maintain proper growth of muscles in the front. I would recommend anyone to spend atleast 5:1 ratio on these body parts.. ie if you sail for 10 hours in 1 week, you should spend atleast 2 hours working out your core, lower back, calves, glutes and hamstrings.
    Other great fitness exercises for Laser include: cycling (but be careful of the strain on your lower back), swimming (this is what sheidt did/does a lot of), and crossfit or cross training.
    I hope you continue to improve! Fitness is the best way
     
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  3. laserxd

    laserxd Member

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    Definitely, It makes alot of sense to be fit for laser sailing,

    and it gives you a good excuse to workout!

    Personally I love cycling, mountain biking, swimming, ice hockey, skiing...

    I think if you can diversify yourself a little outside of sailing it makes you a better sailor, and you'll probably become better at everything you do

    Ice skating is great, it requires balance and flexibility

    I ran track and when we ran on trails almost always someone would come limping back with a sprained ankle, I used to twist my ankle on the trails sometimes as well, but I never got injured even once thanks to skating
     
  4. racinglasers

    racinglasers Member

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    OK I need help .... I admit it.

    I'm 63 .... run 3 miles several days a week, bicycle 10 - 20 miles, kayak for 60 minutes upstream and back home, weight machines at the athletic club, ..... the darn Laser wears me out sailing more than four or five 45 minute races in an afternoon ...... do I need an MC Scow or is there hope???
     
  5. Int. Sailing Academy

    Int. Sailing Academy Member

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    well 4-5 races is a lot of racing in 1 day.. my biggest day of racing lasers was in windy cold conditions in Medemblik, Netherlands for the Delta Lloyd regatta where we did 4 races that took over 6 hours of the day to complete. My calorie count was over 4800 kcal, which if you consider the breakfast @ 800 kcal, drink formulas on water @ 200 kcal and 3 bars at @ 200 kcal each, thats still an energy deficit of more than 2000 calories, which on top of the muscle fatigue would make anyone feel "unfit". I would recommend taking more high sugar supplements on the water. Gatorades and cliff bars.. even candy if it's really windy.
     
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  6. MrPelicano

    MrPelicano New Member

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    After too many years tending bow on big boats, I jumped into Lasers a couple months ago, just in time for the local Frostbite series. Even though I had been working out in the gym 4-5 days a week for nearly a year, including 3 months with a personal trainer kicking my butt, my first time in the boat was absolutely brutal. Subsequent outings were a bit better, but sustained straight-leg hiking for more than a minute or so proved tortuous at best. Now that the off-season is here, I've been following Michael Blackburn's fitness and training programme in the gym, and I'm hoping this helps me focus on the right combination of strength, endurance and cardio. But I reckon that there's really no substitute for time in the boat, adopting the necessary postures for significant periods of time.

    What really surprised me, for some reason, is that even though I was totally fit enough for extended hiking on big boats and Melges 24's, and for scurrying up and down the rig, the Laser called into play all sorts of muscles that seldom saw the light of day in those other contexts. At the same time, I suspect that building up Laser fitness will transfer in the other direction much better - should I ever decide to jump back into the leadmines.
     
  7. racinglasers

    racinglasers Member

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    Thank you for this .... I've ignored the energy aspects of a long day on the water!

    At the 1978 (I think) Laser midwinters on Biscayne Bay we were on the water all day ....... the Coral Gables Yacht Club support boats came by and threw us a paper bag lunch which of course landed in the salt water before I could retrieve and devour!
     
  8. laserxd

    laserxd Member

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    There is hope for you! We've got GGM's in their 70's still very competitive in our fleet,

    From what I've heard they ride the bike for a while at the gym, I'll ask them next time I see them for the specifics
     
  9. jeffers

    jeffers Active Member

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    The Laser is one of the most physically demanding boats out there to sail. Key to fitness for is is a strong and stable core core as this is what enables you to hike harder for longer.

    When I was sailing a lot more than I am now and was doing my fitness regularly a good proportion on my training work was done on a gym ball.

    A lot of Laser sailors say the boat is hard on the knees. This is not true as it is their bad hiking posture that puts all the strain through the knee ligaments causing problems. Key to sorting that out is good posture, strong upper leg muscles and a good set of hikers to spread the load and reduce muscle fatigue.

    Don't sail to get get, get fit to sail...if you want to be as competitive as you can of course....
     
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  10. racinglasers

    racinglasers Member

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    Good words ..... as long as I don't have to make another one of those insane hiking benches like I used to use for watching TV in my den .....

    hiking bench.jpg
     
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  11. Slipstream

    Slipstream Member

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    The laser is definitely a physical boat to sail, especially if you want to be competitive. So to compete and stay injury free, one of the biggest commitments i made is to my health and fitness. Also like you said boat speed is a big factor. if your boat handling is good and you are fit, there is a chance you can be up there on any given day.

    From a boat handling point of view, the more time i spend on the water the more I learn to finess the boat. The laser may seem like a relatively clunky boat compared to a skiff, but a lot is going on and it responds well to small adjustments. This helps takes takes some of the load off.

    It is also a very satisfying experience when different things come together in the middle of a race and you are aware of it as it is occurring. Being fit allows me to get my head out of the boat and think about other things rather than getting caught up in the physical exertion.

    In terms of personal fitness, I spend a lot of time thinking about posture, core stability, active recovery, balance, warm up, post race stretching etc. I also make it a point to listen to my body, and pace myself. -I'm in it for the long haul
     
  12. keenbean

    keenbean Member

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    so what kind of things do you all do in gym? e.g.cycle, row, run and how far and how long for? Any weights stuff? It is off-season in the UK but trying to improve my fitness atm.
     
  13. Sailorchick

    Sailorchick Member

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    I find a mix of things is best, and things you enjoy so you stick at them. I cycle to work as its an easy way to fit in some fitness stuff everyday (and is far quicker than the car). I also do spinning classes, body combat classes, body pump classes and pilates so I get a good mix of CV, strength and flexibility work.
    Fitness is key really, as I'm finding out to my pain. Currently seeing physio for a hip problem that hiking/roll tacking/walking exacerbates so make sure you take care of yourself and ensure you have good technique for any exercise that you do.
     
  14. BVS

    BVS New Member

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    I'm a tad light for the Laser really so when I hit the gym I tend to lift weights more than doing cardio. I'm 75kg now and am concerned that if just do cardio I'll end up losing weight. Do you think increased stamina in the muscles may be more important than a few extra kgs??
     
  15. torrid

    torrid Just sailing

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    I would think so. More stamina well help you hike harder and longer.
     
  16. laserxd

    laserxd Member

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    ideally you want to try for both, gaining a few lbs of muscle and also training for those long beats

    this is interesting about running too fast and too long:

    I'd say what you probably want to do is excersise at a high intensity for a shorter time, then follow up with healthy foods,

    you can gain a few pounds and be even healthier
     
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  17. lasereng

    lasereng Member

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    Interesting. I always cycle and do a bit on the rowing machine. Probs cycle for 1 hour twice a week and row for 2000m and do some weights too
     
  18. jeffers

    jeffers Active Member

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    No such thing as off season in the UK...unless the lake is frozen of course....
     
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