Muscle soreness in upper arms

I’ve been paddling for years with a pretty decent stroke according to the videos on here. This spring my upper arms tend to be sore or stressed at the end of a paddle.
A clue is I have to use a walker for the first time in my life . It adds to the arm and shoulder stress.
Any suggestions?

Low angle. Paddler box. Torso rotation. I can’t really use my left shoulder.


Are you able to use the foot pegs as you have before? I believe that applying pressure to the foot pegs improves energy transfer from your core muscles as you draw the paddle through the water, if only by keeping the center of gravity (aka: butt) properly positioned on the seat as your upper body rotates. If you’re not able to apply sufficient pressure to the foot pegs, then it might be that your core muscles are contributing energy less efficiently and your arms are doing their best to compensate.
Intuitively, I think this makes some sense, but if you accuse me of making it up I plead guilty.


I have good contact with my foot braces. Most of the time.

Was this in the Stellar 14? If so, it might be from the cramped leg positioning. It would keep your torsional rotation suppressed and cause you to use your arms more.

Pungo 140. Into a serious quartering headwind.
Probably took my focus off my abs.

No doubt

We have a rowing machine and maybe you could try that. Even if you hop on for just twenty minutes a day, maybe you just need to work harder to stay in condition as you get older, I know I do.

The other thing I have recently added is I have 15# weights next to my bathtub and I do twenty reps twice waiting for the water.

Basically shrug your shoulders up and back:

I’ve only been doing it for two weeks and already I can see a difference in my shoulders and arms.

I’m aging and muscle is falling off pretty fast in the last year.

I am defying that trend… NOT.



Did you start a statin or any new antibiotics?

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Do you use or can you try using a Greenland paddle?

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Since joining the forum, I made every effort to improve efficiency. Many members look forward to increased challenges with each trip. My goal is to get more out of the effort. The best way to do that is to identifying the source of pain and finding a way to isolate it. If the shoulder hurts, lock it out. If you get blisters, its telling you to distribute the load elsewhere. Be sensitive to the turbulence in your paddle, and concentrate on making each catch flawless. Rather than pulling big blades, uses a paddle with smaller blades. Increase the cadence and match the stroke by increasing the velocity of the paddle just slightly ahead of the speed of the boat. Like building the speed of a playground merry-go-round by pushing a little faster with esch spin.

The best training for paddling is to push that last two miles to exhaustion. Burn everything off so it has to build back stronger. Recovery becomes easier. I no longer push pull on the paddle but rotate. I find that I can rest my legs flat off the pegs and still deliver uniform power. It may not be as fast, but it feels more connected. Well, that’s what I do. At least it hurts less and I’m going faster than before.

Have you had any imaging to see if you have something like an increase in arthritis in your shoulders? Many here are old enough for there to be some amount, the creep of time does march on.

If you can find a good Physical Therapist (they aren’t all good, I suppose), you might get a set of exercises that help significantly. Obviously, you can continue those exercises after you’re done with the PT. So one or two visits might suffice.
In my own case, I have a set of PT exercises that allow me to cope with left shoulder arthritis and continue to kayak. I also receive medical massage regularly via my insurance.

Thank you all for your responses.
There is probably a bit of everything mentioned at play in my almost 75 yo body.
I don’t paddle enough but have been every week for the past couple of months.
I have had trouble with both shoulders in the past , damage and bone spurs .
I have a lot of arthritis in every joint per MRI.
I’ve got exercises recommended by a PT that I’m not very faithful at doing.
Obviosly I’m not willing to go quietly into the night.


And that, my friend, is the most important!!!



the trouble is when we were younger we could skate along without being faithful to healthy habits.

Guilty here. I need to make friends with tofu and do stretching and excercise even when I don’t wanna

Is your walker adjusted so that you can stand up straighter? I cringe at seeing people hunched over and even youngers pushing shopping carts… I try to push the cart way ahead of me…but do lapse

It is but I find it very awkward. I think I have a little overuse going on from the wind battle yesterday. I keep thinking I’m 50.

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Defying reality isn’t always bad.

Both of my father’s rotatar cuffs are shot. Many years of paddling and life catching up. He was about to give up most paddling, until I bought him a double brace. The braces help to stabilize the shoulder joint, while paddling. He is back paddling most weekends , with minor pain. He takes a couple Aleve prior to paddling. He also picks his days for paddling. When ever the wind prediction hits ~8mph-10mph, he skips that day. Head winds put more load on his shoulders. Plus wind predictions in our area are typically 2-3mph off.

He is not of the mind, too slow with age. He has vinyl sided his house and built 2 decks in the last few months. His mind thinks he is in his 50s. His body thinks his mind is nuts.