Training 2

As the sport of standup paddling grows so does the need for proper training techniques both on and off the water. In this series, I’ll give training tips or exercises that will enhance your training program, allowing you to become a stronger, faster and more efficient paddler. These exercises are a great supplement to my 10 week Riding Bumps program.  

Swiss Ball with Plate Rotation

I was recently made aware of the high number of paddlers (myself included) that have limited rotation of the spine and/or lose their ability to rotate over time. Rotation of the spine is not only an essential movement of the body but it also plays a major role in paddling. This exercise improves rotation of the spine while maintaining a stable lower body. Incorporate this into your training program and you'll soon feel the difference on the water. 

Start by lying back with the ball under your shoulder blades.

Create a straight line from head to knee, legs are bent at 90 degrees

Arms are in a straight line just above your chest **

Remain tall from head to tailbone

Keeping your hips as still as possible, make small rotations to either side **

The eyes and head follow the hands in the rotation phase

Do not allow the hips to drop to the ground or collapse to the side you are rotating to

Do 10 reps to either side, repeat 1-2 times

Tips:

  • Start with no plate or a light weight and gradually increase the weight as you feel comfortable
  • You can increase the rotation as you improve

Backwards Lunge with Rotation 

In keeping with the theme of rotational movements, the backwards lunge with rotation, combines lower body stability with upper body mobility. The body requires both of these to be able to create power and transfer that power to the paddle. The lunge position trains various muscles that aid in stabilizing the pelvis, in turn, allowing the spine to move freely throughout the paddling stroke.

Step backward with one leg

As you lunge backwards rotate towards the front leg

Note – Each leg should be bent at a 90 degree angle at the depth of the lunge

When coming out of the lunge remain tall – from the tailbone to the top of the head

Perform 15 lunges on each leg, do 2-3 sets

**Keep the shoulders away from the ears at all times

**Only rotate as far as you can keeping correct form

Tips

  • Add a medicine ball as you feel comfortable

Bosu Squat with Cable Pull

Total body stability is a very important factor when trying to balance and create power at the same time. This exercise is a good way to improve your balance and build lower body strength while performing a pulling motion.

Start by balancing on the bosu ball, holding the cable handle with outstretched arms

Slowly lower down into a squat position, keeping the integrity of the spine. If your pelvis tucks under you have gone too far.

Stand back up, keeping the bosu as level as possible while pulling the cable into the body. It is important to keep the shoulders away from the ears while pulling the cable.

Do 10 -15 squats, perform 2-3 sets

Tips: 

  • This is an advanced exercise, to make it easier perform the squat without the bosu

Arabesque with Dumbbell Row 

The arabesque dumbbell row is great for training the posterior sling. These slings exist from one shoulder to the opposite hip and aid in creating rotational power. The exercise needs a great deal of balance, awareness and control, all factors required when wanting to paddle efficiently and effectively.

Start by standing tall, slowly lean forward lifting one leg off the ground

Standing on one leg, keeping your toes RELAXED, form a straight line from back foot to head with the hips facing the ground

Remain LONG and STRONG throughout the exercise

The dumbbell is in the same leg in contact with the ground

Pull the weight up alongside the rib cage (arm rubs the rib cage)

Slowly lower the weight back down with control, perform 15 rows before switching sides

Tips:

  • Perform this exercise on an unbalanced surface eg. balance disk or balance pad to make it more difficult 

Quadruped

Paddling power requires stability and postural awareness. The quadruped position is a foundation exercise to understand spinal length (long and strong), scapula postion and their relationship with the pelvis. While the knees are in contact with the ground the exercise is a great position to practice correct breathing techniques. Once the knees come off the ground the exercise becomes a great shoulder stability exercise, with having to control the pelvis position. Perform this exercise until you are comfortable with it before progressing to more complicated exercises such as bird-dog, crawling, cross crawling and loaded crawling.

Start on hands and knees

Hands should be directly under shoulders while knees are under hips (as seen in first photo)

Maintain a long spine and lift your knees off the ground (as seen in second photo)

Make sure your shoulders are away from your ears

Push away through the floor with your hands

Hold this position for 15 breaths

Perform 3 times

Side Plank

Side plank is a great exercise for paddling. It’s a deep stabilizing exercise and really emphasizes stability along the lateral line of the body. Additionally it is a great exercise to help keep the shoulders healthy.

Start by lying on your side

Elbow is directly under shoulder

Lift your hips off the ground, forming a straight line from head to toes

Make sure your shoulders are away from your ears

Push away through the floor with the elbow

Hold this position for 15 breaths

Repeat on the other side.

Perform 3 sets on both sides.

Pull-Ups

Overhead reaching and pulling are movements that humans were designed to perform (climbing trees, picking fruit etc…) and thus we should look to maintain them throughout life. Pull-ups are a great upper body strength exercise that can help maintain overhead range, help strengthen the shoulders and the back (lats). Having strength and control through this range will allow you to transfer more power into the water through your paddle.

Enjoy and remember to start with control.

Start by standing under the pull-up bar

You can stand on a box to reach the bar or to make it more challenging jump up to the bar

Pull yourself up until your chin is at bar height

Make sure your elbows are directly under your hands at the top of the exercise

Don’t let your shoulders go forward, lead with your chest

Keep your shoulders back & down away from your ears

Bend your legs & keep your legs crossed, keeping the knees in line with the hips

Once you’ve reached the top, slowly lower yourself all the way down with control

Start by doing 5 pull-ups (you can take a break in between if necessary)

Repeat 3 sets

Plank

A strong core is important for paddling and every day life but all too often people think that crunches are the answer. Performing too many crunches can cause tight abdominals which pulls the body into trunk flexion. As a result, you will start to compensate with other parts of your body. If you paddle often and perform crunches in your cross-training regime, you could be doing yourself a disservice. Ditch the crunches and perform the plank exercise instead. Not only does the plank exersice strengthen the core, it is a great exercise to work on correct breathing technique and help strengthen the muscles used to stabilize the shoulders.

Lie on your stomach on the floor

Place your elbows directly under your shoulders. From this position take your knees off the ground

Remain long – away from the head and away from the tailbone

Push away through the floor through your forearms, control your spine and do not let it sag towards ground

Keep your shoulders away from your ears –DON’T LET THEM RIDE UP ON YOU.

Hold plank for 12-15 breathes

Perform 3 sets

Tips: 

  • You can look at a vertical line on the floor underneath you. This will help with your perception of being long.
  • Keep breathing through the kidneys and stay nice and relaxed.

Plank with Hip Extension 

Performing this plank  variation activates the glutes.

Lie on your stomach on the floor

Place your elbows directly under your shoulders. From this position take your knees off the ground

Remain long – away from the head and away from the tailbone

Push away through the floor through your forearms, control your spine and do not let it sag towards ground

Keep your shoulders away from your ears –DON’T LET THEM RIDE UP ON YOU.

Alternate lifting each leg, keeping the ankle at 90 degrees for 12-15 breathes

Perform 3 sets

 
 

FITNESS DISCLAIMER: Not all exercise programs are suitable for everyone. Check with your doctor before beginning any fitness program to avoid/reduce the risk of injury. Perform these exercises at your own risk. The author of this website will not be responsible or liable for any injury sustained as a result of using any exercises presented and/or discussed on this website.