Train like a Sailor!


The Annapolis Athletic Club team is thrilled to welcome a new personal trainer, Tori Strutz! As an avid sailor, Tori understands how to train for a better sailing season. Whether you enjoy a fun race day or spend months at sea, there is a lot you can do off the water to improve your performance and quickly recover for your next sail. So, we sat down with Tori to get the inside scoop on her sailing-centric fitness tips.


It All Comes from the Core

The core muscles, which extend from the base of your neck down to your pelvis, stabilize your body while on a rocking boat. Keep these muscles strong with efficient exercises that target the entire core, such as alternating forearm planks and side planks. As you work the core, keep your belly button drawing in towards your spine. And don’t forget your posture; sailors are at risk for developing ‘hiking’ posture (think, a “C” shape with shoulders rolled forward). It takes good muscular control in both the tummy and low back to keep the body in its proper position.


Heart Matters

There is no doubt about it–sailing is an endurance sport! Those long races require that you have prepared your heart for intense and continuous cardiovascular activity. Get in a routine of training steady-state for between 30 minutes and 120 minutes, two to four times per week. You could incorporate cycle classes, moderate jogging, using cardio equipment, swimming, and more.


Train for Balance

Create a strength training routine to address muscular imbalances. Sailors are often ‘pull’ dominant from trimming and pulling on lines, so you need to strengthen that muscle group (e.g. rows) for performance without neglecting your ‘push’ muscles (e.g. chest presses). This goes for legs as well. You need strong quads (e.g. leg presses) and hamstrings (e.g. seated hamstring curls).


Stretch Out

You must pair your strength training with flexibility work–you need to be nimble out on the water and pulled muscles will keep you from racing. Take time to stretch twice during your workouts: first after a brief warm-up, and again right after you finish exercising. This will help the muscles recover more quickly and keep you in top sailing shape!


Sleep Well

Getting enough quality sleep is absolutely essential. The typical adult needs between six and nine hours of sleep every night. Sleep is usually harder to come by during a race or regatta, so be especially mindful in the weeks before and after a competition. If you participate in overnight racing, make sure you get in the three or four hours of sleep that your shift will allow.


Fuel Up

You must properly fuel your body for a day of sailing. If you undereat, you will quickly burn through that energy and fatigue your muscles. If you eat too much, you will most likely feel sluggish and also not perform at your best. And it isn’t just about eating enough, but also the right combination. A mixture of carbs, fat, and protein will help you sustain your energy and perform at your best level. For more personalized diet advice, consult a nutritionist or dietician.


Whether you are a pro or a novice, sailing is a great workout. Awareness of your body and what it needs can help you improve your skills on the water. If you’re interested in working with Tori, or if you have questions, contact Otherwise, Tori will see you out on the Bay!