I recently started going to the gym to build some strength for my paddle stroke… Basically I’m just doing the normal stuff, but was wondering if any of you hit the gym for kayaking, what kind of lifts do you use, and what’s your routine? I’m doing this while I’m going to school and then when I finish I’d like to have built up some strength to try competitive kayaking.
kayak exercise list
Here's a list from "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Weight Training" (2nd ed) coauthored by Joe Glickman (nationally-ranked marathon kayaker).
Shoulders: military press, lateral raise, internal rotation, external rotation.
Arms: seated biceps curl, triceps pushdown.
Chest: bench press, dips (assisted if necessary)
Back: pull-ups (assisted if necessary), dumbell rows
Midsection: reverse crunch, crunch, oblique crunch, back raise.
Legs and hips: leg extension, leg curl.
Obviously, there are a lot of possible substitutes (French curl for triceps pushdown, lat pulldown for pull-ups, seated row for dumbell row, etc). Some of these will require a multigym or multiple machines. Some (internal and external shoulder rotation) will require a pulley station or Theraband, etc.
Compound pushing and pulling exercises and core abdominal and lower back work are the base of a strong paddler.
Bench press, bench row, and ab work are my off-season foundation (along with aerobic training). Low weight and high reps with movement speed similar to paddling cadence makes up the bulk of my work. When peaking for sprints I’ll build up to explosive heavy training for peak strength to prime the muscles for starts. Otherwise strength and strength endurance are built through very high total workloads using relatively light weight.
I don’t know what is the appropriate routine for your age bracket or experience level. Perhaps a personal trainer, preferably one that actually understands endurance sports and sports specific training, could help. Be wary of your average commercial gym personal trainer with their one-size-fits-all body building routines. If they put you on low reps with “super slow” movements run screaming the other way. Train super slow and you’ll get big ineffective muscles.
The most important thing right now though is to start learning correct technique in the boat so that you do not develop bad habits that have to be unlearned.
Or you could
get a couple of five pound weights, (dumbells.
Then sitting on the floor with your legs out in front of you, hold one dumbell in each hand and simulate a paddle stroke. Keep enough distance between each one so that it would equate to where your hands would be on the paddle shaft.
As the cold weather approaches, in between getting out and paddling, both my wife and I use this method to keep the upper bod in paddling shape.
I you have a place like a wall where you can brace off, you can pump off with your legs too.
a lot cheaper than going to the gym !
You’ll want to include some twisting moves torso rotation.
Seated pulls or bench pulls. Bench pull reps are commonly used as a test by rowing teams.
Concept II ergometer is a great workout.
For some twisting and core/back strengthening i do wood choppers. You basically hold a weight plate or dumbell, start lower and work up, it’s not fun hurting your back, and you hold it at arms length over one should and cho down, just like you would cutting a tree, then bring it back up to your starting position. I also do something similar with a cable, raise it up around shoulder height, hold onto only the clip with both hands, no handle attached, and try to stand sideways to it at arms length, then try to twsit a full 180 degrees pulling the cable around the front you to the other side.
I also try to do some rowing instead of bike or treadmill for some cardio. I know it doesn’t work exactly the same way, but having stronger well conditioned back muscles is never a bad thing.
Try throwing these into your regular workout once or twice a week
The best exercise for paddling is paddling. The more you do it, the stronger and more endurance the core muscle groups that you will need to strengthen become.
paddling is great
Weights are all done at home with two 50 lb dumbells.
Bench, squats, rows, curls, flys, tricep extensions, delt extension.
I hold one dumbell to my chest, and hang upside down from my pullup bar and do crunches.
finish with some relaxed jogging or biking
I do this 3 times a week. Every morning I do 200 pushups, and 25 crunches.
I paddle when I can. Get a heart rate monitor, and learn how to use it if you don’t have one already.
After about 2 months working out, controlling your heart rate, and eating right, you should be in pretty good shape. This program seems like a ton of work, but I can usually go through my exercises in 45 minutes. It got me in the best shape I have ever been in.
torso rotation machine