Kitesurfing is a highly physical sport, but as most of the power of the kite is taken though the waist/seat harness. it makes the sport accessible to virtually anyone with average level of fitness, however it still pays to keep as well conditioned as possible. The general assumption is that it requires significant upper body strength. But as the power is not really taken through the arms, this isn’t necessarily the case. The shoulders do require good range of motion for all types and levels of riding and particularly for body dragging.  Which we all do at some point, not just when we’re learning!


Kitesurfing places high demands on the quadriceps (front of thigh). As the knees are often bent, effectively putting you in an isometric (static) contraction for the whole session. The hamstrings (back of thigh) and gluteals (buttocks) are also acting as global stabilisers.� Core and back strength plays a huge role as, even in light winds, kitesurfers are working with huge dynamic forces pulling in all directions.

Light winds will see you mustering as much trunk rotation as possible to maintain your edge and your position on the water. Whereas stronger winds, creating more bar pressure (pull). Will demand a lot more of the shoulder, (back and side of the trunk), arms – including forearms and wrists. And at every level of kiting, the neck takes the brunt of falls and mistakes. With strain to the neck flexors (front and side of neck).

Why Kitesurfing?

As with any sport, over time, training hard can make all of these areas prone to tension and tightening. As the body’s soft tissues. Muscles, tendons, ligaments, shorter and less elastic. A good stretching regime will help to counteract these effects and regular sports massage will play a vital role. Sports massage stretches and lengthens muscles fibres that often struggle to be stretched in any other way. Flushing out tension in the muscles and associated structures.

Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation

Steep Learning Curve 

Compared to windsurfing, kiting has a very quick learning curve, so you can soon find yourself riding harder and longer. Doing jumps and tricks, all of which puts more force on the body. The constant changing direction and pull of the kite in opposing directions. Requires huge amounts of stabilising and deceleration of many of the major leg and trunk muscles.

Jumping specifically puts huge loads on the body, especially with repeated bad landings, which can create discomfort and injuries in the back, knees and ankles. It is also not uncommon to receive a blow, from contact with the board, beach or collision with other riders. Significant blows can cause swelling and bruising which will require RICE protocol. (Rest, application of Ice and Compression and Elevation) to help the injury repair. In this case massage will help break down� adhesion’s� and scar tissue that may otherwise start to inhibit movement and will encourage blood flow to the area to help eliminate waste products, brought about from the healing process, from the tissues.

In the right conditions, kiters will ride for hours with little or no break, and our slow-twitch muscle fibers work hard to build endurance. Along with our fast-twitch fibers that enable power moves. As you engage in more aggressive riding, along with freestyle and wave-riding, you place a lot more strain on all the muscles and also on the myofascial slings (diagonal anterior and posterior connective tissue). These slings can shorten over time, reducing flexibility and causing pain and stiffness.


All of these areas require conditioning. Weight training will help replicate the additional forces placed on the body when in water and will enhance muscle strength and joint stability.� Pilates will assist with core strength, spine and pelvic alignment and general muscle balance.� Regular stretching and regular maintenance sports massage will help keep soft tissues in an optimal state of health and pliability and together will limit our likelihood of injury and allow us to keep improving our riding.

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If you are interested in Sports Massage in Poole or Bournemouth, Lilliput Health has an expert team of Sports Massage Therapists that can tailor treatments for your specific needs.

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