training for sea kayak

I’m weight-training for sea-kayaking. I’ve done week long trips in the Sea of Cortez, Channel Islands in Califonia and plan on doing bigger, and longer stuff next summer in Alaska or elswhere. I like big crossings and interesting seas. I’m pretty skinny, (6’ 155 lbs) so I’m trying to bulk up a bit. Here is what I do now-

M W F – Triceps and chest. Bench press, incline press(machine if I’m alone, free weights if I have partner). French curl. Dumbell raises (raising arms straight from the side). Butterfly press. Dips. I do 3 sets of 4 to 6 reps

T, Thrs, Sat-- Biceps, back legs: Lat pull down, standing leg press, leg curl, calf raises, bicep curls, reverse bicep curls, dumb-bell shrugs (dont’ know what they care called, I hold dumbells with arms straight and try to put my shoulders up to my ears. Row-pull machine (not sure what this is called, it’s sitting straight and pulling the weights toward you). Again, all 3 sets of 4-6 reps.

Everyday- Jump rope, roman chair (3 sets), crunches with weights (3 sets, 8 reps)

Sunday-- rest day

Any training people out there that can give me some pointers?

I think you might want to add just a …
smidgeon of paddling!



sure sure, but for the next two months I won’t have much time or oppurtunity for paddling.

If your forward stroke is not perfect
try to get hold of an outstanding locql coach or

Greg Barton oranother really good paddler.

Technique over muscle can taake you way far in this sport.

Simple approach
Push ups (many forms) pull ups, dips, squats, all with body weight. All stuff that keeps core involved to some extent.

Aerobic kickboxing type workouts target the paddling muscles better than machines/weights as they really work the mid section, and whole body - and do it all aerobically.

Paddling is largely aerobic. Do some running. Maybe some time on a rowing machine too. Good form will derive most of the power from ab and back, with some from legs (even if it’s mostly stabilizing the rest), and then arms. You should feel it after a long paddle mostly in the mid section, which can take it. If your arms are tired and your legs aren’t you can work on form to shift the load.

Adding more muscle is great too - but if it’s all trained to energy systems 1 & 2 it may not be as much help in 3. Do all the other stuff because you enjoy it. It all helps. Do some for me too while you’re at it.

do rounds of heavy bag work. You’re working the same muscles on the upper and lower body. If you punching right, the power is in the body rotation.

Cap it off with crunches, pushups and stretches (non ballistic).


Chubby Checker had it right
Come on baaaaby, let’s do the twist.

I put a weight bar on my shoulders, place feet about two feet apart and do partial twists (about 90degrees total.) I find this mimics the torso rotation very well and works all the right core muscles.

I’m solid as a rock.

single arm rows
I find that using a row weight machine to be similair to motion of paddling. Do one armed rows focusing on starting with foot on pull side through leg to hip to abdomen shoulder trying not to use much arm.

Alternate sides. You can do traditional 8-12 reps 3-4 sets but you can also do lighter weights and do timed sets. One minute and incease as tolerated up to 10-15 minutes per set only one set required at these times per side. While build up endurance and speed.

Be careful not to build big slow muscles. Might wqnt to look into periodization of weight training. Also look at for info on technique and trainig.


who knows maybe you’ll need to swim to shore someday.


– Last Updated: Jun-07-06 7:20 AM EST –

To me, it is all about balance.

Without analysing your particular case, no one can recommend you to do a particular exercise as the best available for you. That's nonsense. It might take years of trial and error to find exactly which is the best routing for you.

However, I would say you should focus on keeping a muscular balance fundamentally in your shoulder muscles such rear, middle, and front deltoids without forgetting the rotator cuff: infraspinatus, supraspinatus, etc.

Your priorities in order should be your:

Whole Back

Without strong shoulder, there is no long-term paddling career. Check the historical database in and the net and see all the people with shoulder problems even professional ones.

...but above all to keep a balance between them all. If you do flexion, you have to do extension.
If you push, you have to pull.

Therefore, to tell you do push-up, this, and that won't work for you.


PS: I was forgetting as Peter said "technique" without proper way.
However, in your profile, you stated you are an advance paddler, so I assumed your technique and form are quite good.

Paddle lots
Kayaking is very sports specific and while exercises like pushups, pullups & etc. will make you stronger, paddling in many conditions is best. I’ve had good luck this year with pulling a clorox bottle with 1 qt. of water behind my kayak. The idea being to work on what specifically helps you paddle stronger. I also did upside down situps, chins, pushups, side presses and single bent rows. People seem to paddle well in what they paddle most often like shallows or wind. Good luck & don’t forget to paddle.

Check out this book:
“Fit to Paddle: The Paddler’s Guide to Strength and Conditioning” by Rocky Snyder


– Last Updated: Jun-08-06 10:44 PM EST –