Weight lifting to train for paddling?

Walk or start running
I’ve been paddling in Florida the past five or six years long distances in February. (longest 225 miles in 8 days on the Suwannee) It isn’t easy to pull out a paddle that has been idle from October and just start doing long days, but that is what was done. My training was walking and running as well as skiing out west. You will be using your legs to propel your kayak and your lungs will provide you the oxygen for the endurance. I carry weights on the treadmill to tone my arms, but that’s about it. The arm strength came back on the trips. Our kayaks were filled with all of our camping gear too. I’m in my 60’s and it worked for me. Have a great trip! Tom

For lifting and portaging an 85#
tandem, I did repetitive cleans with 125 pounds, It did help some, though the smart step would have been to rent a lighter canoe.

What i find helps me
Is I try and make sure my back/core is in good shape, that’s probably the most important. Then beyond that shoulders some with lateral raises and upright rows to get used to holding up my arms paddling. Try and work in some grip/forearm moves to build some extra grip strength.

I also try to do alot of things as similar to paddling as i can, put a pulley a around shoulder height, grab it with both hands with arms straight out and twist with my core to strengthen the twisting motion you should be using while paddle. I also do some wood choppers, sometimes with weights, sometimes with cable pulleys, it’s another twisting/pulling motion that i find helps.

If you have something at your gym like an ergometer that mimics paddling, that is good practise, but i also try and do some rowing, which isn’t exactly like paddling, but it the closest cardio exercise to it outside of actually paddling.

Hope this helps

I’m a fan of kettlebells, but that may not be what works for you. However, when developing a weightlifting program, you need to ensure you’re following certain principles.

(1) Specificity - exercises should address the muscles related to your activity (some good ideas above), and how those muscles will be used, e.g. strength or endurance.

(2) Functionality - this is why I like kettlebells or free weights not machines. Even in a kayak you’re not static when performing your activity, why would you be static when performing an exercise to prepare?

(3) Fun - like any exercise program if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, you won’t do it. Find something that you like, and you’ll do it longer and more often and reap the benefits.

Add side planks to your regime
Do the variations that have you put hand on hips etc. No equipment necessary, and safe to do.

I’ve been wanting to try them for training for kayaking. I understand they’re great for developing shoulder stability.

I agree 100% of what you say about free weights vs. machines

think function
What watermark said. Core core core. Look into ‘functional exercises’ that combine muscle motions rather than isolate them and focus on one.

Open and Close Kinetic Chain Excercises
Should be the primary concern when doing weight training, since our body parts are all interconnected. Rather than isolating muscle groups, I try to involve involve them all, just like in paddling. So I do a lot of “cheating” and alternating movements. Of course, many helpful adjacent exercisers and even trainers will inform you that you are “doing it wrong” and the muscle should be isolated, etc. Just smile and say “thank you,” for we don’t paddle that way, do we?

Isolation vs. Integration
A chain of muscles only work as well as the weakest link. Sometimes we avoid using our weakest muscles in a compound movement by contorting in a poor posture, using momentum, etc.

This can lead to inefficient movement patterns and injury.

That’s where isolation is useful: to strengthen muscles that are comparatively weak to others muscles in the same chain.

It’s also why posture and control are important for weight training.

Once imbalances are worked out, I agree that integration exercises are far more beneficial.

I also do a given exercises on a solid foundation using the maximum resistance, then lower the resistance and do the same exercise incorporating an element or balance (using a exercise ball, standing on one leg, wobble board, etc). For one, most of what we do kayaking we do while balancing, and 2, it incorporates far more muscles.

Oh Yes! Proprioception Feedback Training
Is very important, for our strokes happen at all different angles. Hey! My Olympic K-1 is my favorite sport’s balance tool, for in the chop, it can get very tippy, more so than a wobble board. Plus dumping the water out is great weight training. Increasing the size and length of the paddle are useful resistance training methods, including wrapping bungie cords around the hull, dragging ping pong balls, adding weight, and paddling over shallow water. Now pad up your K-1 seat to raise the center of gravity to make it more lively and then close your eyes while you paddle. Lots of fun.

Thanks! I’m gonna have to order that. Sounds like a great book.

Thanks, this is exactly the type of thing I was looking for.

Thanks for the advice everyone
Thanks everyone. I am pleasantly surprised and a bit overwhelmed by all the responses! One thing that many of you pointed out and I forgot to mention is that I certainly plan on getting in more core exercises too. Having taken some different ab workout classes in gyms before I’ve got a pretty good idea of what I can focus on for oblique exercises and I plan to start doing them again.

I think I may go in and do a few seasons with a personal trainer just to get some more informed opinions on what type of workout I should be developing and learn some more about machines I haven’t used, etc. that may be useful to try out. Once spring comes and I can get on the water I’m going to try and get out kayaking at least a couple times a week. There’s a 30 mile long inland lake about 5 miles from where I live so I can probably fit a good paddle in after work.