With the start of the sailing season in the Southern Hemisphere many of us badly need to get in to sailing fitness training.

For those sailors in the Northern Hemisphere it is worth keeping up your fitness in the off season. This avoids the shock at the start of the next new season.

I have copied below excerpts of an interview I did with Krystal Weir. Krystal gives us an insight into the importance of using a professional for your sailing fitness and care of your body.

Krystal is a qualified Physiotherapist and Exercise scientist. She has sailed at the highest level in many different classes from sailboards to catamarans. Krystal has also represented Australia in the Olympics twice. Once in the Yngling class and once in the Laser Radial.

Currently she runs her Physiotherapy business out of Royal Brighton Yacht Club on Port Phillip Bay in Melbourne Australia. Krystal works with a large number of sailors helping them improve their sailing fitness and strength.

At the same time, she works on their various health niggles which invariably stem from a lifetime of playing sport.


Brett: The first questions I’d like to ask, is should a sailor have a personal trainer? Do you see that as a sensible thing for a sailor to do? Sailing Fitness Training

Krystal: I think the first thing is to establish your goals of what you’re working towards, and a lot of people, they’re like, “Oh, I just need to get fit.” But you need to find the area in which sport you’re doing.

If we’re talking about sailing, are you talking about a hiking based boat, or a trapeze boat? Are you working with winches? What is it that you’re actually training for?

I think a personal trainer can help a lot in just getting your own thoughts down on paper. Exactly what you want to achieve out of your fitness regime. And then ultimately be successful in what you’re doing.


Brett: So you actually have a discussion with your client and find out what they’re trying to achieve. And then you design a program to suit them? Sailing Fitness Training

Krystal: Yeah, 100%, you talk about what they have got in their week, have they got work commitments, family commitments, on-water commitments. If they’re sailing, how often and really the timeframe leading into their event is also really important.

A lot of people get trapped in the over-train category when they start getting the ball rolling with their fitness regime.

They’ll tend to leave things a little bit late and then over-train leading into events, and then you end up quite fatigued during the actual event.

And then you have a poor performance and you’re sort of on the end of it wondering why it didn’t quite work out.

So, learning how to taper a little bit into events is quite important, too.

Brett: Do you design a program based on the sailor’s age, physical attributes, and any medical condition they may have? Obviously, they’re the questions you ask I’m assuming?

Krystal: Yeah, definitely. Different people depending on their age will have different injuries.

I work a lot with adolescent kids and they go through important growth spurts during that time. Depending on age, whether they’re 10 or 17, the program is going to be totally different.

A program that’s completely tailored to their growth spurt. You do that via their height and also, a lot of the time it’s just how they’re feeling. That goes for any age across the board.

Past injuries also makes a really important part of what type of training you would choose. If you’ve got poor knees, you’re more likely to not be a runner but get onto a bike because that’ll strengthen up your quads.

It’s good to have a personal trainer and a a physio involved so that you have a physio screen before you go into your fitness program. A lot of the time personal trainers may not necessarily be on top of all your injuries.

If the physio is able to then give your personal trainer a “what to do, what not to do” list, that can be really helpful.

They can then produce a program that’s more specific to you rather than just giving you this mass-produced fitness program.


Brett: That’s a problem with a lot of gyms. I think that that’s what happens, so that’s why it’s good to go to someone like yourself who’s actually a sailor but also not just a personal trainer. You’re a physio as well. Sailing Fitness Training

Krystal: Yeah, a bit of the best of both worlds, I guess, with having a physio background and also having done all my training with the Olympics and everything, so knowing what to do, when, at the right time is important.