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Amp Up Your Fitness: Building Strength through Wing Foiling
Wing foiling is one of the newest sports in the watersport scene and involves a person holding an inflatable wing (similar to a small kitesurf kite with no lines) and using the wind to propel them along the water. A hydrofoil can be added to a wing board to then allow the individual to pick up speed in the wind and allow the foil to glide and lift the board above the water. Foiling allows enthusiasts to go out in lighter winds and gain more speed as the drag of the board in the water is eliminated as it moves above the water surface.
The Benefits of Wing Foiling
Wing Foiling requires a lot of physical effort and as a sport it manages to work a lot of different muscle groups. Combining balancing on a board (when foiling they are not normally the biggest volumed ones either) with holding an inflatable wing above your head in gusts of wind, it results in a great form of exercise and a full body workout.
Those first few times out winging are known to always leave your arms in pieces the next few days from holding the wing above your head waiting to catch that wind – but say goodbye to bingo wings! As you head out more often, your muscles get used to that sensation due to your core and lower back muscles strengthening. Holding your arms up and out while standing when wing foiling enables your core to be activated and improve as it continually works to support the pull from the wing but keep you on that board at the same time!
The process of learning to wing foil also massively improves your balancing ability. From starting on a large board and sizing down board volumes to get up onto the foil, your core and your leg muscles (quads and hamstrings) get strengthened to react and improve your balance, even in windier and wavier conditions. Soon enough, you’ll find without even realising that your balance has greatly improved as you either find it super easy to get up and go for longer, or can even drop to smaller kit.
As with any sport, improvements in your fitness and strength takes time and practice, but after a few weeks and months you should find what was super tiring on the body a lot easier for you.
Is Wing Foiling a good cardiovascular workout?
Wing foiling is not only a great workout in improving strength and muscles, but also your general fitness as it raises your heart rate and cardiovascular activity. Your heart rate will rise not only due to adrenaline when wing foiling, but the cardio workout can be a lot more intense at the start of your wing foiling journey, as the effort comes from hauling yourself up onto the board, getting the wing in position in the wind, getting up onto your knees and then standing up on the board.
Also take note, it can be more of a workout at the start when learning to wing foil as you may be going out in lighter winds as to not be overpowered, but make it a bit easier for you to get up on the foil at a more controllable speed! Once you are have progressed slightly in the sport, it is still a great workout, but you will have more muscle memory and will tend to be better and more efficient at getting up on the foil so less effort is required. This is why you will find when you get better at wing foiling, you may go out for long periods of time, or specialise into a style of the sport, such as wave (learning tricks and jumps on the waves) or racing.
However, the ultimate cardio workout will come from when you are pumping the wing, this uses the whole of your upper body and core strength and takes the breath out of you until you are up happily floating on the foil! Pumping is super intense on the arms and chest, but it becomes a full body workout as you don’t want to move the board around too much as you need to maintain that stabile position so the foil can pick up speed and glide smoothly. When you're more proficient on the foil with flying, tacks/gybes, its less intense but still a great work out.
Your core can also be activated further when wing foiling during tacks and gybes as you will be stretching your body and the wing in opposite directions in order to swing round the board with the wind and change direction. Once you have completed your turn, you can then quickly switch foot positions on the board too, requiring added skill and balance.
Wing Foiling in your fitness routine
To really elevate your strength and fitness, we would just recommend to try and get out on the water winging as much as you can. Practice really does make progress, and each time you will learn something and your body will keep building that muscle memory and fitness up. The first few times out after a while or if it is your first few times in general will always be harder.
Within a general fitness routine, there are also some workouts and exercises that could strengthen certain muscle groups to improve your riding on the foil. As we have spoken about. winging can be very intense on your arms and shoulders. A great exercise to practice is pull ups and dead hangs. These work both your triceps, biceps and more importantly those obliques and abs for your core.
An incorporation of exercises to strengthen the quads and support the knees would be a good idea to add to your regime. This could include squats, bulgarian split squats/ lunges and hamstring curls. Strengthening the quads and hamstrings will reduce the strain around the knees when transitioning from kneeling to standing form and general balancing on the board.
For any more questions around wing foiling, give us a call on 01202 700503 or email email@example.com