Good exercises for flexibility?

-- Last Updated: Apr-11-06 3:31 PM EST --

In learning how to do a roll (or should I say, how the mechanics of a roll are done), found my ab sides quite sore from all the hip flicks, bracing, etc. etc. Any good recommendations on exercises on loosening them up before/after rolling practice and for general looseness? Perhaps it is true that there is a kayak yoga class that is worthy for us kayakers?

I can think of side bends to stretch those muscles used in a hip brace would be useful, any others?



Yoga for Paddlers at the bottom of the page or sign up for a local Yoga class. My lovely bride is an instructor and beats me until I get my workout in. On the river, if one of us makes a killer brace or save due to good flexibility or extension we call that a “yoga save”. Yoga has other benefits that will come as part of regaining some of that flexibility that we loose as a part of aging process. The intangible elements of yoga may end up being just as important as the physical aspects.

Brent Reitz’ tape on paddling has
a section devoted to stretching.

Be careful with Yoga
My wife is having surgery Friday to deal with a torn meniscus injured while doing Yoga. Avoid some of the more stressful poses (like warrior poses). Or just get Anderson’s book and do ordinary stretches.

I’ve known a few folks
that have also incurred injuriy while doing yoga.

I’m more of a pilates kinda guy and I’d be interested in the book you mentioned.

What is the title?

Thanks, Doc.


Sretching by Bob and Jean Anderson, published 2000.

Thumbs up for Anderson
Long ago when I was racing bikes, I bought the Anderson poster of cycling-oriented stretches and began doing them every day.

I noticed that recovery after hard days was quicker and easier. Later on after I quit racing (but not riding) I quit the stretching, too. I began to notice more soreness and tightness after hard rides, then finally figured out I should resume stretching, no matter what.

Besides, stretching feels good.

Anderson’s book
Thanks for the advice, I see that Anderson’s book on Stretching (20th year anniversary no less) is available in my library. I just added it to the ever growing queue for my reading schedule right now.

Right now, I’m reading On Celtic Tides by Chris Duff, which is his circumnavigation of Ireland back in the 90s and I got an old book on Kayak Navigation out…


yoga 2
Yes indeed, you can hurt yourself doing yoga if you are doing it improperly. There are a bunch of people out there who grew up like I did doing competitive sports where the “no pain – no gain” method of training was the norm. That’s the wrong answer for yoga. If it hurts, you’re not doing it right. It’s a great help having an instructor who knows how to to keep you from hurting yourself in the process. My wife teaches classes that are geared to people who are over 50 and are interested in maintaining flexibility and balance. She has people in her yoga classes that are over 80 years young and they can do the poses without hurting themselves. A man (or woman) has to know their limitations (to almost quote Dirty Harry).

Why stretching can be dangerous
It is now understood how to stretch and how not to stretch.

Stretching should be done after one is warmed up by light exercise not in order to warm up.

Warming up has little to do with room temperature, it has to do with muscle activity, metabolism, and internal heat due to constractions.

Stretches must be done with the joints properly in place, especially shoulders. Remember the paddlers box, this is a similar concept.

Stretches must me done slowly, never bounce, do not hold them to the point of the edge, that is when it becomes painful, If you think you are getting more out of it by pushing what you really are ding is causing micro tears that will decrease flexibility and lead to a strain or pulled muscle.

Guys freak out about yoga thinking it is girly and tend to put it down. Yoga is actually when done well an amazingly integrated method of increasing flexibility, toning, and even conditioning with strengthening of the muscles, depending on the type of yoga you wish.

As an instructor I find yoga has lead to markedly more flexibility, strength, and power for me in my strokes and decreased by risk of shoulder, neck, and back injury hugely.

Seriously – the exaggerated hip action in the “Latin” dances is a great workout for the muscles that make your hips roll and snap.

Agree about stretching.
The best warmup is doing the activity you are going to do but at a slow pace or reduced level. When I was running regularly and doing road races we always jogged a couple of miles at slow, relaxed paces before we worked out or raced. For paddling I do forward strokes, reverse strokes, sweep strokes, hip snaps, etc. in an easy way to warm up before I set out. Then you can either get out and stretch or wait and stretch at the end of your paddle. I usually do the latter. None of the yoga classes I have participated in or seen do much of a warm up, if any. At best, in my experience, they do “easy” stretches before doing more stressful poses. I regard that as problematic.

Dr. D,

yep! hey everything has its irrationality. Yoga included. Many teachers who otherwise are very thoughful and knowledgeable

mistakenly think doing streches in a very hot room help with the warm up and make streching better. Yet it is the muscles being gradually used that warms them not room temperature!