Exercises to improve strength for kayaking

Places, technique, kayaks, safety, the sea...
Post Reply
simon64
Posts: 279
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2011 6:48 pm
Has thanked: 9 times
Been thanked: 22 times

Exercises to improve strength for kayaking

Post by simon64 »

Looking at improving my strength and stamina for kayaking, have some dumbells, was wondering what the best exercises would be ? Obviously kayaking would be the best training.....
P&H Virgo

charleston14
Posts: 312
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2016 6:22 pm
Has thanked: 13 times
Been thanked: 53 times

Re: Exercises to improve strength for kayaking

Post by charleston14 »

stamina; lighter weights, high reps
Strength; heavier weight but lower reps. Typically 4 or 5 sets of 8 to 10 rep max. Progressive overload is key, some may disagree on that.

For shoulders,
front raise (front felt)
side lateral raises (middle delt)
Reverse fly (rear delt)
Dumbell overhead press

Go slowly or no growth and no cheating the weights up using body momentum.

For chest
Dumbell bench press can be done with back on the floor if you don’t have a bench
You can also do a dumbell floor flye which is much safer than a bench flye.

Work your core muscles, good paddling comes primarily from the core. It’s about less arm work and more torso rotation so Look for exercises that work abs, obliques etc

Muscles work in opposing directions eg bicep contracts the arm, tricep extends it, to prevent injury from muscle imbalances work not only the muscle in question but it’s opposite partner too. You see folks with over developing from delts (bench press and front raise) but hunched shoulders because less work was done on the rear delt.

Whatever you do, learn what good form is, you can wreck your joints using poor form.

I personally recommend athlean x videos on you tube. Jeff knows his stuff and he puts it all out there for free.
Last edited by charleston14 on Fri Feb 28, 2020 7:58 pm, edited 3 times in total.

charleston14
Posts: 312
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2016 6:22 pm
Has thanked: 13 times
Been thanked: 53 times

Re: Exercises to improve strength for kayaking

Post by charleston14 »


charleston14
Posts: 312
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2016 6:22 pm
Has thanked: 13 times
Been thanked: 53 times

Re: Exercises to improve strength for kayaking

Post by charleston14 »


simon64
Posts: 279
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2011 6:48 pm
Has thanked: 9 times
Been thanked: 22 times

Re: Exercises to improve strength for kayaking

Post by simon64 »

Thanks will have a look.
P&H Virgo

charleston14
Posts: 312
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2016 6:22 pm
Has thanked: 13 times
Been thanked: 53 times

Re: Exercises to improve strength for kayaking

Post by charleston14 »

Aside from training there’s some other things people tend to overlook. None of the training will work quite as well if you overlook these in my opinion

Sleep; get enough quality sleep. the training stimulates a metabolic process, but the muscles do their growth development during sleep.

Protein: lean protein to help broken down muscle fibres rebuild stronger and denser / bigger.

Reduce stress it’s inversely proportional to the testosterone you need for things like strength and endurance training

Think of food as fuel; your body needs good fuel or it will run like crap and you will have no stamina and struggle through working out.

Allow your muscles enough recovery time before working them again, eg something like 3 to 4 days between shoulder workouts. This is why people split their week up into leg day, arm day, chest day

Set goals so you are motivated to achieve them and enjoy the process of improving yourself.

User avatar
Jim
Posts: 14087
Joined: Sun Apr 21, 2002 2:14 pm
Location: Dumbarton
Has thanked: 19 times
Been thanked: 69 times

Re: Exercises to improve strength for kayaking

Post by Jim »

I have some dumbells, I hardly ever use them.

I would start on core excercises, step throughs and windscreen wipers, also get ups for which you can use a dumbell although I find a kettlebell more comfortable. Check technique for get ups carefully, it is complicated, and for gods sake look at the dumbell the whole time, hitting yourself in the face with it because you lost focus would not be pleasant!

A lot of the list Charleston14 has given looks like stuff my coach talks about sometimes, I think rows also feature for shoulders? To be honest I never really progressed much beyond the floor based stuff I mention, plus press ups and chins, and kettle bell swings although they are more for dynamics for racing and maybe not as useful for recreational paddler, maybe help with boofing? In fact yeah the dynamic thrust from a kettlebell swing probably is good for boofing and looping.

Building up the relevant muscles is useful, but bear in mind that nothing you do with weights will work the muscle groups the same way as paddling. So if you are serious about improving your paddling you will want to mix in some proper paddling training sessions as well. I would say get a fast boat of some kind (K1, WWR, sea kayak, surf ski) and do some sessions getting some miles under your belt at a decent pace.

I blew out in November (not enough rest - pay attention to that advice!) and haven't got back to training properly this winter, up until about May last year I was doing 1 or 2 sessions most days and was making good gains. Unfortunately after May work and other stuff started getting in the way and I was struggling to get my training sessions in (but racing most weekends, which is also part of why I burned out). Typically I would be going for about a 20-30 minute session in the day, either a 20 minute loop or some intervals 2x8min hard with 4 minute easy between and warm up/down , or 4x4 with 2 min rests or 1 off 1 on or 2 off 2 on - vary it a bit (most people do 5's and 10's but I was fitting it into my lunch break time), or something like slalom drills for 15-20 minutes. Then a couple of evenings I would do floor exercises/weights, a couple of others a longer paddle (once light enough) maybe 20-30 mins upstream and then turn and come back. Wednesdays I would skip the daytime and just do the group sprint session on the canal (typically 8 x 200m maximum efforts with paddle back rests, but sometimes longer or shorter efforts). Thursday was my rest day, in theory I could go for a low effort paddle but I rarely did. And then weekends either try and get a river or 2 in or go racing or a 10k or something. I wasn't doing all the sessions every week, rest is key! I think it was 2 sessions Monday and Tuesday, 1 Wednesday, none Thursday, 2 friday and whetever the weekend brought. For a while in the summer I was training for a 20k race by doing 10k loops on the loch 1 or 2 evenings a week, I think I made it 15k one night by lapping the island twice. But don't start straight in at sessions a day, probably 2 per week is a better intro and build up the volume gradually, you probably won't want to get to that level of volume anyway, I doubt if I will again!

Start easy, I reckon a 20 min circuit is a good place to start (it is really all I am doing at the moment), learn your pace - you want to go hard enough that you are breathing heavily by the end of it, but not so hard that you need to take a breath every stroke, try and breathe in and out steadily whilst pulling fairly hard. Do find something fast or at least straight running to do it in, you want to be putting your effort into working your core paddling muscles and cardio rather than trying to do constant course corrections or spinning out - there is no way I could paddle my burn for 20 minutes without breaking stroke, I reckon about every 15 seconds the damn thing tries to spin out on me :D
Once you have a feel for your long term cruising pace you can start playing with intervals where you paddle harder than that for a bit, and less hard for recovery. The gains come mostly from the hard intervals, but the rest is important and should improve over time, and the longer more cruisy sessions will contribute to stamina, and ideally you will focus on your technique during them and that will improve too.

It will also be worth working in some sessions in your normal boat (I don't know what kind of paddling you normally do), it is probably worth developing some drills for these sessions - turning by edging, sweeps, draws whatever seems relevant. If they are drills you need to drill them, like 10 reps of each before moving to the next, maybe repeat the while sequence a couple of times in a session? For me doing drills in my slalom boats was really good - mainly edging drills, just spinning around on the spot controlling the edge so the tail was just submerged and using different turning strokes - say 10 left sweeps, 10 right sweeps, 10 reverse right sweeps, 10 reverse left sweeps, 10 forward right reverse left sweeps, 10 forward left reverse right sweeps, 10 reverse left bow draw left , 10 reverse right bow draw right. Rest, repeat. By the way 10 is 10 complete turns not 10 sweeps, a complete turn is usually 2.5-3 strokes if I keep the tail down shallow accurately. One day I would do that in K1, another day in C1. That would take about 10-12 minutes leaving about 8 minutes to do some breakouts around tree trunks or bridge stanchions.

Once you have tried some different sessions, pick the ones you like best, after all you are just looking for general improvement not gold medals!

User avatar
Jim
Posts: 14087
Joined: Sun Apr 21, 2002 2:14 pm
Location: Dumbarton
Has thanked: 19 times
Been thanked: 69 times

Re: Exercises to improve strength for kayaking

Post by Jim »

Oh right, we are in the sea forum - you will presumably have a suitable boat then.

Drills for sea kayak would probably be edging to turn, double strokes and stuff like that appropriate to long boats. Spinning on the spot in a tail squirt should not be attempted in a sea kayak :)

By the way, I actually started on the path above to improve my sea kayaking, and I have taken about 30 minutes off my time for Oban Sea Kayak Race by doing it, although I have slipped into a world of much wobblier boats and wing paddles en-route!

simon64
Posts: 279
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2011 6:48 pm
Has thanked: 9 times
Been thanked: 22 times

Re: Exercises to improve strength for kayaking

Post by simon64 »

Thanks for replys !
P&H Virgo

pathbrae
Posts: 464
Joined: Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:42 pm
Has thanked: 14 times
Been thanked: 44 times

Re: Exercises to improve strength for kayaking

Post by pathbrae »

Spinning on the spot in a tail squirt should not be attempted in a sea kayak :)
Falls of Laura?? Not always intentionally!!

To the OP -- don't neglect flexibility training as well as strength - TBH, after a certain point in a sea kayak, shoulder strength becomes less important than flexibility and core strength for any sort of endurance paddling.
So much sea - so little time to see it.

User avatar
JB-NL
Posts: 130
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2008 9:14 am
Location: Nl
Been thanked: 7 times

Re: Exercises to improve strength for kayaking

Post by JB-NL »

simon64 wrote:
Fri Feb 28, 2020 6:09 pm
Looking at improving my strength and stamina for kayaking, have some dumbells, was wondering what the best exercises would be ? Obviously kayaking would be the best training.....
First of all: What is your goal? What do you like to achieve?
- Long distance kayaking, say 6- 8 hours?
- Coastal recreational?
- short distance-sprint, high speed?



Different goals will require different training.
Long distance will require an interval endurance training, to increase you main speed and your overall endurance ( improving your glycogenises)
Recreational coastal exploration will require more focus on your technical skills and more strength.
Short distance high speed: built muscles mass to store glycogen, train your technical skills

JB
--==Never go faster than your Angel can fly==--

simon64
Posts: 279
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2011 6:48 pm
Has thanked: 9 times
Been thanked: 22 times

Re: Exercises to improve strength for kayaking

Post by simon64 »

I am purely into coastal exploration, poking around the caves etc, so don’t need long term endurance or speed.
P&H Virgo

jamesl2play
Posts: 532
Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2007 8:55 pm
Location: Bridgend
Been thanked: 9 times

Re: Exercises to improve strength for kayaking

Post by jamesl2play »

Any thoughts on getting a Paddle Ergo ?. They do take up a bit of space though.

mcgruff
Posts: 152
Joined: Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:06 am
Location: Scotland
Has thanked: 50 times
Been thanked: 31 times

Re: Exercises to improve strength for kayaking

Post by mcgruff »

If you're kayaking in the west of Scotland mental exercises are extremely important. You need to build up your endurance levels to avoid being overwhelmed by the beauty of the islands, the hills, and the open sky.

Like any kind of exercise, the right program depends on the individual and their abilities. For a complete beginner, you could start off with a dozen landscape photos each day and gradually increase the number until you're ready for Paul Murton's Grand Tours of the Scottish Islands.

PS: If you overdo things in the field, you can often successfully treat LSS (Landscape Shock Syndrome) by getting out of the kayak to rest and eat some food - second breakfast, first luncheon etc - and drink a little golden steadying liquid.
Have fun and don't die.

sloegin
Posts: 32
Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2015 7:31 pm
Been thanked: 3 times

Re: Exercises to improve strength for kayaking

Post by sloegin »

I'd recommend finding a Pilates class. In my experience, whilst general fitness is important, my kayaking improved noticeably about 6months after I started a weekly pilates class. Flexibility and understanding how to isolate and use specific muscle groups is key to efficient boating. Pilates offers exactly those skills
North shore Ocean 17.6

Franky
Posts: 565
Joined: Sun Aug 31, 2014 9:07 am
Has thanked: 7 times
Been thanked: 15 times

Re: Exercises to improve strength for kayaking

Post by Franky »

Swimming 4 or 5 times a week works very well for me. A mixture of breast stroke and crawl seems to develop all the right muscles for kayaking, with the exception perhaps of the hips.

I recently went to the Lee Valley Olympic after 10 days of not swimming, and my paddling was awful. I just didn't have the strength for power strokes and for hauling myself out of holes.

seawolf856
Posts: 260
Joined: Tue Oct 11, 2016 1:29 pm
Location: Chester NW England
Been thanked: 37 times

Re: Exercises to improve strength for kayaking

Post by seawolf856 »

mcgruff wrote:
Sat Feb 29, 2020 3:45 pm
If you're kayaking in the west of Scotland mental exercises are extremely important. You need to build up your endurance levels to avoid being overwhelmed by the beauty of the islands, the hills, and the open sky.

Like any kind of exercise, the right program depends on the individual and their abilities. For a complete beginner, you could start off with a dozen landscape photos each day and gradually increase the number until you're ready for Paul Murton's Grand Tours of the Scottish Islands.

PS: If you overdo things in the field, you can often successfully treat LSS (Landscape Shock Syndrome) by getting out of the kayak to rest and eat some food - second breakfast, first luncheon etc - and drink a little golden steadying liquid.
McGruff, you are my kind of sea kayaker :-)

User avatar
Strad
Posts: 1912
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2007 10:27 am
Location: The Beautiful Borders of Scotland
Has thanked: 14 times
Been thanked: 5 times
Contact:

Re: Exercises to improve strength for kayaking

Post by Strad »

Try finding this book - it's a great set of exercises, that you can adapt to what space you have:

Image
Old School?? I miss my AQII..
Graham Stradling

User avatar
JB-NL
Posts: 130
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2008 9:14 am
Location: Nl
Been thanked: 7 times

Re: Exercises to improve strength for kayaking

Post by JB-NL »

Strad wrote:
Tue Mar 03, 2020 2:18 pm
Try finding this book - it's a great set of exercises, that you can adapt to what space you have:

Image
May I suggest, more in line with McGruffs mental training-approach to use in that case :



JB
--==Never go faster than your Angel can fly==--

User avatar
Strad
Posts: 1912
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2007 10:27 am
Location: The Beautiful Borders of Scotland
Has thanked: 14 times
Been thanked: 5 times
Contact:

Re: Exercises to improve strength for kayaking

Post by Strad »

JB-NL wrote:
Tue Mar 03, 2020 3:02 pm
Strad wrote:
Tue Mar 03, 2020 2:18 pm
Try finding this book - it's a great set of exercises, that you can adapt to what space you have:

Image
May I suggest, more in line with McGruffs mental training-approach to use in that case :



JB
Think I might have to watch that at home instead of work :-D
Old School?? I miss my AQII..
Graham Stradling

yaknut
Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2011 12:27 pm
Location: Donegal
Has thanked: 6 times
Been thanked: 3 times

Re: Exercises to improve strength for kayaking

Post by yaknut »

Not strictly strength or stamina related, but my wife took up yoga a few years ago and I see a big difference in her paddling skills since. She was always a natural, but the improved balance and flexibility since taking it up is plain to be seen.

Her ability to rotate around to the rear deck of her boat when fiddling with a snagged rudder line puts the rest of our group to shame.

A lot of the yoga exercises do seem to focus on working on core strength.

I haven't gotten around to trying it out myself yet, but hope to at some point.

mcgruff
Posts: 152
Joined: Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:06 am
Location: Scotland
Has thanked: 50 times
Been thanked: 31 times

Re: Exercises to improve strength for kayaking

Post by mcgruff »

seawolf856 wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 4:28 pm
McGruff, you are my kind of sea kayaker :-)
I've learned so much from some of the forum's most experienced paddlers :)

viewtopic.php?p=683739#p683739
Have fun and don't die.

charleston14
Posts: 312
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2016 6:22 pm
Has thanked: 13 times
Been thanked: 53 times

Re: Exercises to improve strength for kayaking

Post by charleston14 »

so in summary;
Just do something; it’ll be good for your paddling
Scotland is nice.

mcgruff
Posts: 152
Joined: Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:06 am
Location: Scotland
Has thanked: 50 times
Been thanked: 31 times

Re: Exercises to improve strength for kayaking

Post by mcgruff »

And yoga is good.

It doesn't just tone muscles. There are more than the traditional five senses. Two of the extra ones are important for kayaking & physical sports generally: the sense of balance (equilibrioception*) and the sense of body position/movement (proprioception*).

Balance obviously is a key skill for kayaking. Sense of body position might not help much with ordinary paddling but it could really help if you're struggling with a roll, or chasing a hyper-efficient technique.

As well as yoga, I found climbing really hones these two skills. Never did a lot but loved what I did.

I haven't tried traditional Greenland rope exercises but they look really good - and devilishly difficult - for developing strength & balance. All you need is a couple of ropes.



----------------
*OK I had to look the proper names up
Have fun and don't die.

Post Reply