Strength and Fitness for 505 Racing

Bill Green asked the 505world e-mail list for thoughts on getting and staying in shape. There were several interesting responses
What do all of you do to stay/get in shape to race? Separate skipper and crew workouts? I am a crew and I will be driving this season. What can I do to get myself ready for hours of hiking and pulling on heavily loaded lines. I have easy access to a gym, but have never see a hiking bench. One skipper suggested leg extensions (quads) with low weight and high reps. Can anyone add to that? How about upper body?


Bill Green


If you are a skipper I would suggest concentrating on the following:

Legs - extensions to build muscles around the knee (great for hiking), light squats for quads, leg curls, and perhaps toe raises (great for us shorter crews looking to get as far out on the trap as possible).

Arms - curls for biceps, dips for triceps (also works shoulders and upper chest).

Shoulders - dumbbell military press (straight bar can hurt you're shoulders), dumbbell straight arm raises.

Chest - bench press and flies

Cardio - 20 min/ 3X a week. Work at you're target hart rate (age related). You won't burn much fat unless you do some cardio. Benefits can be huge on race course.

Before you do any of this, you should warm up by riding a stationary bike or jogging/stairmaster for ten minutes. Getting you're heart rate up will increase fat burning during you're workout and will warm your muscles to prevent injury. After warm-up STRETCH! Very important for preventing injury.

I have had a regular workout regimen for years and I feel it has improved my sailing considerably, especially on the last beat where many people are tired. Now if I could only get my skipper to pump some iron...

Jesse Falsone
US 8643 crew
Annapolis, MD

Bill, regarding fitness for skippers, I echo Jesse's comments but will add a few other thoughts. First, standard curls are good, but you may want to add high rep, light weight hammer curls. This motion is a little closer to pulling a mainsheet. It also puts more stress on the forearms, which get quite of bit of work in 505s. This means that grip exercises help as well. If your gym has a rowing machine, or a weight machine that mimics this motion, I'd recommend that as well. Typically, in a windy race, skippers start to use their backs to work the mainsheet. This is hard on the back and not very efficient from a ballast perspective. Rowing reps will help with this. It also provides general strengthening for the back. Lastly, don't forget about your abs. They help hold your back together. Find the person at your gym with washboard abs and find out how they do it. Include obliques in all of this. Jesse is right on, I think, to emphasize stretching. 505 sailors don't do enough of it. Lastly, remember that form is most important in weight training, especially for 505 sailors.

Good luck.
Jonathan Phillips
USA 7879

Ed. - Notes from a conversation with Mark Elliott, who helped coach Allison Jolly and Lynn Jewell to the women's 470 Gold Medal in the South Korean Olympics...

Based on 1.5 hours five days a week.

Each workout:

30 minutes cardio
then 15 minutes stretching + stomach
then 45 minutes of weights

On weights, rotate by day:

  1. chest + arms
  2. back + shoulders
  3. legs
chest is flat and incline press

arms is triceps and curls

back is lat pull down and rows

shoulders is upright row, flies, military press

legs is lunges, squats, extensions, curls, calf

stomach is (in sets of 100)

  1. lying on back, knees bent.. just lift shoulders an inch or two off the ground
  2. lying on back, legs straight up in the air.. just lift shoulders an inch or two off the ground
  3. lying on back, legs straight in the air, move elbow towards opposite knee (don't move the leg). elbow goes to centerline
  4. obliques. lying on back, knees bent, rotate knees to one side... 100 each side.
  5. legs extended flat all the way out
for all of these, you are just lifting your shoulders off the ground, while looking at the ceiling, and not changing head, torso angle.. think of lifting head towards ceiling.

Can lift hips off the floor slightly to ensure you tighten abs rather than upper chest muscles.

All stomach exercises down slowly

do this for nine months... fatigue not an issue, in any conditions....

Mark Elliott

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