Polers...."off season" excercise.

Though I’d post some photos of the “rockin’ roller” I slapped together last winter. It seems to help me keep my legs and balance in shape when the weather’s too bad to get on the water.



Rough dimensions are about 12" by 34" on top. Measurements aren’t critical IMO - just use whatever scrap you have around. 4" ABS pipe serves as the roller. Cut it to fit snugly between the rockered guides after the rest is together. If it’s too tight, it will loosen up with break-in time.

One could possibly put some kind of stop across the underside ends to keep the platform form flying off the roller when you go too far. I just set the long end down hard on the carpet if I get out of shape that way - but having it flip out from under is a possibility that should be considered and prepared for.

I try to spend at least a few minutes a day balancing and rocking from side to side, and include an extended period in my exercise routine - such as it is. It takes a while, of course, to get the feel of it. And you do feel it. :wink:

Now - can someone suggest an indoor poling-related exercise for the upper body? Currently relying on a chin-up bar (and wishing I had somewhere to put a climbing pole).

Loose the side rails, they are not necessary

Something a bit more challenging - make a wobble board by screwing routed 2x4 to a board and try to balance on that

Also, you try poling around on a skateboard or some such.

Mommy won’t let me…

– Last Updated: Feb-11-10 1:09 PM EST –

...skateboard in the house. ;-) If the weather is good enough for outdoor skateboarding, it's good enough to hit the river. I had thought of this previously, but thanks. ;-)

I think I'm picturing your "routed 2x4" suggestion. You're suggesting a rounded board fastened across the bottom of the board I stand on? You must be thinking of something different - that sounds too easy. edit: But maybe not, now that I think about it. Might as well make it a 2x6 though. ;-)

I agree the guides aren't necessary once I get real good. A longer pipe section with no guides would raise the difficulty while not impossible - but I don't think I'm ready for that, nor do I think it's necessary.

Thanks for the suggestions though!

Imagine 2x4 (or 2x6) being formed into U, flat end goes against the board, you balance on the rounded bit.

The more rounded U is, the harder balancing becomes.

I’ll put one together…
…and give it a try. Thanks.

Interesting apparatus.
Eventhough I’m not a poler…Personally, too much work for me that could spoil my fun equation)I still appreciate the creative construction initiative behind yer off-season toning.

(Sticking with hiking, snowshoeing and skiing, meself.

Can’t spare the plywood–Never know when I’ll have to toss it in the woodstove as a “log fuel backup” this winter!)

I still like the idea
of the skateboard. Maybe a Radio Flyer wagon, with you kneeling in it, and using a rubber-tipped short pole.

The visual in my head is wonderful!


Upper Body Strengthing

– Last Updated: Feb-11-10 4:09 PM EST –

Steve, As a result of neck surgery I'm in PT. I explained to my PT person about poling and we started working on this. Due to the surgery I lost about 20% strength in my left arm and of course a lot in my neck so we focused on these areas. Here's what we came up with between the two of us.

PT often gives you large thick, meaning wide elastic bands. Mine is about 2" wide by 4' long. I put an eyehook in the top frame of a door way and then put a caribeaner on that. I tied off the elastic to that so I could take it down when done and use that to simulate the poling actions as well as paddling. For poling I stand, of course, and for paddling sit in a chair. Basically I hold on to the elastic with both hands placed apart by a foot or so and then bring them down on the left, the right and in front of me. It's the best we could come up with. Hell, my PT person even brought in an 8' bamboo rod so we could play with this.

It takes a little getting used to but has really helped me with upper body strength and neck related muscle building which is my prime focus. For the neck I have to hold a rubber ball against the door with my head and rotate my head while keeping the ball there while stretching the elastic. Hard has hell but the efforts are worth it. I'm not recommending you try this but by rotating on the ball with the back of your head starting looking straight ahead and then rotating both left and right you will get a fairly good workout. I'm up to about 5 reps of 20 each now but have been at it for about a month. Strength is coming back but only time on the water will tell.

I don't know if this is what you're looking for but it's the best thing I've found.


Kahuna Big Stick
Those crazy Hawaiian’s area step ahead of you Jim.



I bought a long board and a Big Stick last fall. I figured I better buy a skateboard while I’m still 39 … because a 40 year old buying one is just absurd! … its lots of fun and a good work out. I enjoy the the Big Stick but confess I much prefer just gravity bombing down the big hills.

ain’t worried about balance
and this ain’t a indoor exercise, but I find hiking with a backpack and hiking poles is real similar, especially hills. Concentrate on using the arms.

Of course, I am heading back to my favorite stretch saturday, do a solid 2 hour push up to the dam, gain a totally fair advantage over those too soft to join me ;-), maybe get a little closer to the ones that blow my doors in.

I’m thinking of the the guy with the rainsuit on the tricycle. :smiley:

Elastic band!
I hadn’t thought of that, Doug! I think I can do that, and think it will help. Thanks!

What size ball are you using?

Funny thing, Matt…
…This is one reason I kinda want to move into the city. No hills near me. None - not even a little one. Boise has Table Rock, right there in the city. Problem would be the commute to my work. :frowning:

I’ve been using a walking stick and alternating sides when I hike in the hills. Yes - I think it’s all good.

Steve, It’s probably the size of a person’s head, one of those cheap ones ya can get at the local dollar store. PT wanted to sell me one for 12$. Naw!!


Got it - thanks!
Good ideas here from everyone - thanks, all!

I’m proud of you guys. Off season pole
exercise could have gotten off color.

The post is still young!


That’s great Topher!
I am proud to say that I have not ridden a skateboard since 1979. Scared myself on a fast downhill and decided that I was too old (29).


My pole’s kinda bent, though.

Best exercise is on the river
So I got inspired to do some poling Saturday afternoon (that doesn’t happen very often). I got down to the river around 3:30 only to find that I forgot my PFD. It was too late to drive back home to get it, so I was tempted to go anyway - in most places the water wouldn’t be over my knees. Then again - it was late, the water was cold, and I was alone – so I took a pass and headed home.

No exercise for me this weekend.