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  • Writer's pictureMonique Coombs

Fishermen Wellness: Stability

Stability on a fishing vessel can mean a myriad of things. For example, having a solid boat that can withstand rough waters and adverse weather conditions is paramount to having stability. It's important that fishermen also have stable bodies in order to move about safely on slippery decks and rough seas.

Moving about on a boat requires balance and stability because of the slippery decks and sometimes bumpy seas.

Stability training refers to exercises that target the muscles that support balance and stability. These muscles include the abdominal muscles as well as the muscles around the hips and lower back, which can be collectively referred to as the core. Stability training improves not just your core strength but your proprioceptors as well.

Proprioception, or kinesthesia, is the sense that lets us perceive the location, movement, and action of parts of the body. Fishermen need good proprioception to maintain balance and stability while standing on a moving vessel in order to adjust their body movements in response to changes in the boat's motion, and to perform tasks such as casting a net or hauling up traps.

What are some examples of stability training?

  • Progressing a push-up on the ground to a push-up on a stability ball or a BOSU.

  • Completing a plank hold for 1-2 seconds and progressing to a longer hold.

  • Squat jump with stabilization: stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes pointed straight ahead. Squat slightly as if sitting in a chair, jump up, extend arms overhead, and land softly in your squat position. Repeat. If you have any low back or knee issues you can do a shallow squat. If you'd like to progress this move you can jump higher and/or tuck your knees.

  • Balancing on one foot.

  • Bird Dog (pictured at right) - Learn more HERE.

  • Many exercises that use a stability ball can improve both stability and proprioception.

How often or for how long should you do stability training?

Something for even just a few minutes regularly is better than nothing at all. Get a stability ball to sit on while you watch some TV in the evenings, balance on one foot the next time you take a phone call, or do a few jump squats the next time you're feeling frustrated or anxious to get some of the energy out.

Here's four reasons why fishermen should consider doing (even just a little!) stability training:

  1. Safety: Fishing can be a dangerous profession, and fishermen often face unstable working conditions, such as rough seas or slippery decks. Stability training can help fishermen develop the strength, balance, and coordination needed to maintain stability in these challenging environments, reducing the risk of accidents and injuries.

  2. Performance: Fishing requires physical strength and endurance, and stability training can help fishermen improve their performance by building core strength and improving balance and stability. This can help them work more efficiently and effectively, allowing them to catch more fish and work longer hours without getting fatigued.

  3. Injury prevention: Fishing can be hard on the body, and repetitive motions and heavy lifting can lead to injuries over time. Stability training can help prevent injuries by improving body mechanics and reducing the strain on muscles and joints.

  4. Longevity: Commercial fishing can be a lifelong career, but it can also take a toll on the body over time. Stability training can help fishermen maintain their physical health and longevity by improving balance and stability, reducing the risk of falls and injuries, and promoting overall strength and fitness.

To read other blog post about physical health for fishermen check out:


Monique Coombs, MCFA's Director of Community Programs, is a National Academy of Sports Medicine certified personal trainer. Monique manages MCFA's Fishermen Wellness program.



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