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Kiteboarding is fast becoming one of the world’s most popular extreme water sports. Using the power of Mother Nature to launch you into 30 foot jumps and then pulling your favorite kiteboard moves is the dream of every kiteboarder! Individuals at the elite level of kiteboarding capable of such feats often possess an abundance of natural talent and have the physical attributes to support the unique demands of the sport.

To be a good kiteboarder, you need to have a high level of both upper, lower body and left to right coordination and skill. Agility and balance are required in order to turn and react quickly to changes in both board and wind direction. Strength, power and endurance are other essential physical components and skills needed. Identifying, assessing and address the key physical components of kiteboarding is necessary for anyone serious about taking their performance to the next level, whether it be from the beginner to the elite.

Kiteboarding is very similar in many ways to many other extreme board sports i.e. wakeboarding, snowboarding, landboarding and surfing. The individual is attached to a board and is required to control and adapt to the ever changing environment around them (whether it be water, snow or the ground). The key difference between kiteboarding and many of these other board sports is that not only does the rider need to be capable of riding the board, but they must also be able to control and fly the kite. Those already adept at such board sports will often find that this transition occurs quite quickly.

Physical Components Important to Kiteboarding

Optimal performance involves training these skills and physical attributes.

Body regions that need to be addressed and trained include the upper body, lower body and the core.

No single muscle is more dominant or stands out in kiteboarding. Instead, there is a need to focus on training movements rather than individual muscles. Almost every action performed by a kiteboarder involves a balanced and controlled involvement of the upper body, lower body and core. Is there a solution to the question of, "How do we train for this kind of sport?" Yes! Address these areas and train them in exercises that assimilate the real life activity. You can do this by training multiple body regions and training them for the role for which they are required i.e. strength, coordination power, balance and speed etc. Therefore it is essential to address these areas and incorporate them into exercises that assimilate real life activity. It is also important to train these activities using methods in which they are to be used i.e. strength, endurance, power and speed etc.

Kiteboarding training can be broken up into various models. Examples of this can include training specific physical components, kiteboarding skills training such as learning to fly the kite (a training kite is a fantastic tool for this), cross training as well as combining all of these. Cross training is a key component for anyone looking to take their fitness and skills to a new level without causing injury or burnout.

Kiteboarding Training Equipment

Rules for Kiteboarding

Remember, a kiteboarder doesn’t have time to think about pulling in his transverse abdominis when riding out on the water. Therefore, don’t train this way. Rather, focus globally and train movements, skills and activities that mimic kiteboarding and will help the individual to react naturally and instinctively to the ever changing environment.

Kiteboarding Exercise Program

Upper Body - Chest

Exercise Variations/Progressions
Wall Push Up: Standing
  • Standing on Bosu ball
  • Hands on Swiss ball
  • Hand on a ball each
    (vary by using different sized balls)
Ground Push Up
TRX Push Up
Cable Push

Why use these specific exercises?


Exercise Variations/Progressions
Standing Cable Pull
(cable, theraband or bar)
Lat Pull Down: Standing
  • Pronated grip
  • Supinated grip
  • Bar or cables
  • Single leg or two legged
  • Squat or lunge
Body Row: Bar or TRX

Why use these specific exercises?

Core - Obliques

Exercise Variations/Progressions
Wood Chop
Lateral Brace
  • Arm on Swiss ball
  • Stuart McGill lateral brace
  • TRX oblique

Rectus Abdominis

Exercise Variations/Progressions
Standing Extension Abdominals
Pikes/Ball Tucks
  • Swiss ball
  • TRX
Wall Brace
  • Hands on Swiss ball
  • Hands on ball each
  • Standing on bosu ball
Floor Brace
  • Hands on Swiss ball or Bosu ball
  • Feet on Swiss ball or Bosu ball
Standing Brace

Lower Back

Exercise Variations/Progressions

Why use these specific exercises?

Lower Body

Exercise Variations/Progressions
  • Static
  • Dynamic
  • Multi-directional

Why use these specific exercises?

Advanced: Combination Functional Exercises

Kiteboarding Specific Skills Training

A training kite is an essential tool for any serious kiteboarder. Training kites range from 1.8 to 3.2 metres wide and are important for learning basic kite skills. Kite and water training is also important for developing the necessary skills for kite control in the water. Body dragging is important for learning how to manoeuvre the kite in deep water. For below exercises, pull towards the body (one hand and two hand).

Wood Chop

Figure 1 Figure 2 Figure 3


One Leg Kite Flying (see Figure 4)

Figure 4

One Arm Kite Flying (see Figure 5)

Figure 5

Variations/Progressions: Wood chop (high to low, low to high)

Lunge Kite (walking) (see Figure 6)

Figure 6

Variations/Progressions: Wood chop (high to low, low to high)

Squat Kite (see Figure 7)

Figure 7

Variations/Progressions: Wood chop (high to low, low to high)

Kite Jumping/Plyometrics


In all activities, you need to take the kite through the power zone. Start from either the 10:00pm or 2:00am position and cut down through the power zone. See Diagrams 1 and 2 for details on how to do this.

Diagram 1 - Kite Position Diagram 2 - Finding the Power Zone

Landboard Exercises

Why use these specific exercises?

For more on kiteboarding, check out the following web sites:


  1. Boyle, M. Functional Training for Sports, 2004
  2. Cook, Gray. Athletic Body In Balance, Human Kinetics, 2003
  3. Chuck Wolf, Human Motion, 200
  4. Chek, P. Movement That Matters, A C.H.E.K Institute Publication, USA, 2000, p.p.
  5. Chek, P. How to Eat, Move & Be Healthy!, A C.H.E.K Publication, USA, 2006
  6. Liebenson, C. Rehabilitation of the Spine, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2nd Edition, 2007
  7. McGill, S. Low Back Disorders: Evidence-Based Prevention & Rehabilitation, Human Kinetics, 2002
  8. McGill, S. Ultimate Back Fitness & Performance, Wabuno Publishers, Canada, 2004
  9. Verstegen. M. Core Performance Essentials, Rodale, 2006