Rowing for Kayaking?

Thinking about getting a rower to stay in shape/cross train. I’m looking at the Concept2, and was wondering how similar (or different) it is from kayaking. In other words, is it a good way to train when its too cold out to kayak or too difficult to get to the water?


great workout, but linear
It doesn’t work the oblique muscles responsible for torso rotation. Good if you’re looking for cross-training, especially your legs, but it’s not kayak-specific.

It is wonderful
You don’t use the muscles in the exact same way, but rowing is a better full body exercise than paddling. I think you can do all the training for paddling you need with a rowing machine and a few weights

thanks for the input!

one arm row
I occasionally use a rowing machine in the gym, and find that using one arm at a time is a pretty good kayak simulator. You can push with one leg, pull with one arm, and rotate the torso, all with resistance. It’s a bit clumsy, I have to grip the handle in the center and lean to the side to keep the chain lined up with the sprocket. It doesn’t work the chest and triceps like paddling does, but there are plenty of other ways to work those. Seems to help with power and endurance on the water.

Wonderful machine
The Concept 2 is a wonderful machine, and if you are sufficiently motivated you can get some devastating workouts.

But it’s nothing at all like kayaking.

Concept II
Fantastic overall body conditioning ergometer. If you really wanted to stay sport specific, look to get something like a Speedstroke or Vasa ergometer. If conditioning and fitness are your primary goals, the Concept II will not disappoint. You can always use that strength and cardio base to build upon when waters open come spring. It will work your legs as an added bonus, something the kayak ergs do to a far lesser degree.

Best exercise machine you can buy
but as others have said, it is a very different exercise than paddling. If you are looking to race competitively, you might spend twice as much on a kayak ergo. But if you are just looking to stay fit, you can’t beat the Concept 2 for quality, value, and just one damn good low-impact, high-intensity aerobic workout.


– Last Updated: Apr-10-09 8:40 AM EST –

Do pay atention to good technique on the Concept II. Watch a good rowing stroke -- the drive is legs, then the back, then the arms. A lot of gym rowers start by throwing their shoulders back, which can be hard on your back. You want to start the drive with your biggest muscles, which are your legs.

The recovery is the opposite -- hands out first quickly, then back comes over, then slow down the slide. You want to be controlled down the slide so you don't check the run of the boat. Your hands should be past your knees before your knees start to come up.

Hands should come straight in and go straight out.

beautiful stroke:


rowing for kayaking?
The Concept2 is a great training tool - it really is a great all 'round workout. For kayak specific fitness, one of the paddling ergs - like the Speedstroke from KayakPro is the best.

I’ve had the SpeedStroke for about 3 years now, it is great. It is kayak specific fitness like no other erg I’m aware of. Where it also trains the paddler is in stroke skills and technique (the forward stroke). The seating is very K1 like. With a mirror you can see what you are doing right (and wrong). Having the speedometer also helps you see what works and doesn’t because the output is displayed in realtime.

It seems to me that when you hear ‘rotation’, it really means reaching forward to get a far forward catch. The torso rotation is really a way to reach forward more, and allow engagement of larger muscle groups to get powerful drive. The erg also encourages leg drive - very important. Good leg drive probably adds 5% to one’s cruising speed if compared to not using leg driver (against the footrest).

Hope this helps.