What's This "Box" Thing?

I understand that keeping elbows in close to the torso while rolling and bracing reduces the risk of shoulder injury. Why do some people refer to that as ‘keeping it in the box’? Please clue me in on the box.

I’ll try

– Last Updated: Jan-11-08 3:13 PM EST –

(someone please jump in if I've got it wrong)

When you hold your paddle in front of you, arms slightly bent, you form a box, with your arms being either side and the paddle shaft and your shoulders/torso being the front and back of the box. If you try to always maintain this box and rotate from the torso, no matter what you do - forward stroke, reverse stroke, bracing - your torso does the work and has the exposure, instead of when you arm-paddle when you use/expose your shoulders.

if you keep your kayak in a box, you have little risk of hurting your shoulders. it’ll also keep the scratches off the gelcoat.

Watch it, You!
I’m still not happy about you moving so far away that I can’t try out those fast boats of yours.

You didn’t tell me about any box

– Last Updated: Jan-11-08 3:38 PM EST –

when I tried the surf ski. I could have torn something loose and then we paddled across the lake w/o PFDs, I could have been killed.

Thanks for the best day of the year!

The Challenged

dude, you’re a seal
i just sort of assumed you’d wiggle your ears and swim across that way.

be well,


some imagine a big beach ball held near your chest, some imagine a ‘box’ as described.

my ‘box’ is more like a cafeteria tray held by your thumbs and balanced on your nipples. helps if you can attach your nipple piercings (if you have 'em) to small holes drilled in the edge of the tray…but I degress. :wink:

in bracing and rolling and even the fwd stroke, for that matter, it’s hard to maintain a box shape. you need to reach ‘outside’ the box to get your paddle in the water (fwd) and levering the back hand (brace and roll)

don’t get too caught up in it. just learn to properly rotate and keep your shoulders in a safe plane.



I laughed at the cafeteria tray analogy…but it’s a good one.

I’d like to see you use this one at a symposium in the future, on the right subject of course (not I).

I’m finding it much easier to keep my elbows in fairly close when I roll than when I high brace… unless the paddle is extended on the high brace.

It’s a poor reproduction, but you’ll get the idea.


Close But Not Quite…
The back of the box should be right against the front torso and the height of the box should be at shoulder height and not above.

Danger increases when the elbow travels next to and then behind the torso. If you rotate your torso with the stroke, it makes it hard for the elbow to travel behind the body. The other danger point is when the elbow goes over the height of the shoulder.

This guy actually has good illustrations of the danger points with the elbows.



= batter’s box

it’s not a box
it’s a springy steel band across your back

I’m Listening
Is the steel band connected to my elbows?