Skydiving Health and Fitness | Core Strengthening
Brought to you by Dr. Nancy Grieger, DPT, of Blue Skies Physical Therapy at Skydive Elsinore in California. Video of each exercise is available at youtube.com/skydiveuspa.
Most commonly, skydivers need treatment for pain of the shoulders, hips, lower back and neck, but they should not neglect the core. Core strength is important for all skydiving disciplines.
Check with your doctor before beginning any new exercise program. If you have any questions about the exercises contained in this article, consult with a local certified professional or contact Dr. Nancy Grieger at (702) 904-0178 or through her website, blueskiesphysicaltherapy.com
Gliders (aka sliders)—the discs used for moving furniture—are great to use as exercise equipment. They are inexpensive, fit easily into gear bags and can be found at most big-box stores. The following exercises that use gliders are useful for all skydivers and packers:
Start: Place your toes on the gliders and assume a plank position with your shoulders over your hands.
Action: Simultaneously bend your elbows, pull your shoulder blades together and bring one knee up to your side, near your elbow. (It should look like you’re doing an Army crawl without touching the ground or a cross between a mountain climber exercise and a push-up.) Without losing stability in your trunk, return to the starting position.
Alternate sides and consider that one rep. Do three sets of 10 reps.
Start: Kneel while resting on your arms with a glider under each hand. Keep your elbows straight.
Action: Slide both hands forward while keeping both your back and elbows straight. Allow your hips to extend as you lower yourself toward the floor, then slide back to starting position.
Do three sets of 10 reps. This can be a difficult exercise for many people, so just go as low as you are comfortable with before getting back up to the starting position. As you get stronger, you will be able to go farther. You can also perform this exercise using an ab wheel.
Start: Place a glider disc under each foot, and assume a face-down plank position with both hands and feet in contact with the floor.
Action: Slide both feet forward as you allow your hips to bend, and use your lower abs to lift your body. Keep your knees straight through the entire exercise. (Think of shifting your weight onto your arms to decrease the weight on your feet, so you can slide the glider on the floor.) Your buttocks should be high. Lower yourself back to a plank.
Do three sets of 10 reps. If you cannot lift all the way up, do the best you can. Over time you will get there.