08 July, 2011
Exercises to Prepare for Skydiving
Skydiving coaches often say the activity requires 90 percent mental concentration and only 10 percent physical conditioning. All the same, you still use your core muscles to stabilize your body in midair, according to The United State Parachuting Organization. When you're in the freefall position, your core musculature shields your spine and prevents injury. The exercises you do before jumps must be designed to strengthen and stretch these muscles.
Building the Core for a Good Drop
Core exercises include planks, reverse crunches and roll-ups. An exercise simulating the freefall position can tone your back muscles and glutes. Lie on the floor with your legs extended and together. Bend your elbows at 90 degrees and extend your upper arms to your side. Exhale and lift your head, chest, arms and knees off the floor. Hold the peak position for five to 10 seconds. Inhale and return to the starting position. Perform eight to 10 reps.
Stretching for a Natural Spinal Position
Stretches for your hip flexors, quads, glutes and hamstrings can improve your posture and help align your spine for skydiving. Begin a stretch for your hip flexors and quads in the lunge position with your left knee bent at 90 degrees and on the ground. Bend your right knee at 90 degrees and align it over your right foot. Slowly roll your hips forward, lengthening your left hip flexors. Hold for 20 seconds. Grasp the ankle of your left leg and draw your heel toward your glutes. Hold for 15 to 20 seconds to stretch your left quads. Repeat the stretch for your right side.
Skydivers must have superior balance, and a basic balancing exercise should help out the muscles that run along your spine. While you're on all fours, get your arms aligned beneath your shoulders and your knees lined up with your hips. Extend your right arm in front of you at shoulder height. Lift and extend your left leg behind you so it’s parallel to your back. Avoid lifting your head but keep it aligned with your body. Hold the arm and leg extensions for 20 to 30 seconds. Repeat the exercise with your left arm and right leg.
Twisting for Belly-Flying
When belly-flying, you connect with other skydivers and assume a belly-to-earth position in which your spine is arched. By stretching your back with a yoga twist, you can relieve the back stress belly-flying can cause. Sit on the ground and bending your right leg. Draw your right foot toward your body. Bending your left leg, place your left foot on the outside of your right knee. Peer over your left shoulder and put your left arm behind you. Wrap your right arm around your left knee. Exhale and rotate your spine to your left and then return to center. Reverse the leg and arm positions to do a twist to the right.
- United States Parachute Association: Beyond Your A License
- United States Parachute Association: Preventing Back Pain Core Exercises for Skydivers
- Yoga Journal: Yoga Helps You… Jump Out of Airplanes?
- Dropzone.com: Can Yoga Improve Your Skydiving - You Might Be Surprised
- United States Parachute Association: Skydiving Disciplines
- InnerVisionPRO/iStock/Getty Images