Quantum Sails Greg Gendell

Top Sailing Fitness Principles and Exercises

There is a lot of sailing fitness advice online and in books.  We reviewed hundreds of sources and summarized the common principles and most common exercises to help you find a fitness regime that works for you.

Six Sailing Fitness Training Principles

After reviewing several articles on sailing fitness, we learned the following key principles:

  1. Make training specific to the movements in sailing.  For example, bench presses are not the most effective exercises, since they involve pushing, rather than pulling.  
  2. Overload your muscles to gain strength.  Initially, use heavier weights and fewer reps until you can no longer lift.  After building strength, you can increase reps for endurance.
  3. Compound movements will have a greater impact on your fitness.  For example, pull ups engage your back, biceps, and core all at once.
  4. Allow muscles to recover (48 hours), by alternating strength training sessions.
  5. To prevent injuries, use good posture and work in exercises to balance muscle groups.
  6. Periodically change your routine to give the muscles completely new exercises and loads.

Related Content:

Developing a Personal Sailing Fitness Program
Strength Training For Sailors

Top Eight Sailing Exercises

We reviewed dozens of sailing workout routines and selected several based on simplicity and adherence to the above principles.  The most common exercises in these plans are:

  1. Sailing on a windy day
  2. Hiking on a bench or ball
  3. Chin ups or lat pulls
  4. Inverted rows
  5. Leg extensions or squats with leg curls for muscle balance
  6. Sit ups, planks, or leg lifts with back extensions for muscle balance
  7. Rowing
  8. Cycling, Running, or Elliptical

Related Content:

An Elite Sailor Exercise Plan
U.S. Sailing Conditioning Program

Sailing Fitness Book

If you are going to get one book to help you with sailing fitness, the consensus is that “Sailing Fitness and Training,” by Michael Blackburn, is the book to get.

Related Content:

Three Fitness Measures of Winning Sailors
Three Reasons to Get Fit for Sailing


Sailors Helping Sailors

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