This was introduced in PPG Bible edition 6, but here is the latest advice on before-training exercise. Thanks to Andrew Polidano, Australia, Chief Flight Instructor
These flexibility and strength exercises will help prepare for foot launch training.
Shoulders get sore as new pilots struggle with holding their arms up in “flight position” for an extended time. It’s largely from a lack of rotation due to thoracic curvature. Standing in a corner rotating chest up and gently opening arms out pushing chest into the corner.
New pilots complain of abdominal muscular pain as their core is being activated more than usual while flying or kiting, especially forward kiting. Gradually increasing core muscles strength will help with stability of the spine while on the ground and in flight. there are a range of core strength exercises that help.
Anaerobic explosive power is helpful for launching in nil wind, and Interval training will target that energy system. Adopting exercises that target launch-specific muscles is critical, but must also hit the right muscle fibers. Look at box jumping. Gym equipment can be utilized to simulate lifting a motor as well as ground handling a wing. Movements can be studied such that gym equipment can be modified to develop strength and flexibility in essential areas of the arms and legs. Identifying and rectifying deficiencies in strength and flexibility will enhance a students progression, saving time and money.
An exercise program will improve student success and enjoyment. It can also help those that have suffered injuries or just want to perform at their peak.
In addition to teaching paragliding since 2001, Andrew studied advanced sports medicine in college.
Here are some basic suggestions:
- Cardio. Anything that gets you breathing hard for at least 20 minutes helps with endurance, especially running. It’s valuable for kiting—the skill that best predicts success in paramotor (or paraglider) launching.
- Squats and leg exercises. Good kiting technique involves moving with bent knees which is most closely matched by these exercises. Leg lifts and “core” exercises help with getting into the seat and carrying the motor.
- High repetitions of light weight dumbell lifts and lat pull-downs will help with arm endurance while kiting. Choose a weight that you can lift at least 10 times.