Looking for off-season exercises for kayaking? Look no further. These 10 at home body weight exercises will help get you ready for the upcoming kayaking season.
Top 10 Body Weight Exercises for Kayaking and Paddling
Here are the top 10 Home Body Weight Exercises for Kayaking and Paddling. I tried to keep them simple and doable just about anywhere.
- Weighted or Body Weight Crunches
- Plank Push Up
- Pike Push Up
- Push Up
- Decline Push Up
- Farmers Walk
So the weather is starting to turn for the better and the river or lake is calling your name, are you prepared? Let me guess, you’ve been hold up inside all winter just waiting for the cold to subside and the warmth to come. Sounds like me, and most of us living in the northern areas.
We’ll start off by talking about what muscle groups your body uses while kayaking. After we know which muscles we’re using, we can determine the best set of exercises that will benefit the body and make you a stronger, more efficient, paddler.
Core / Abs
Your core, or abdominal, is key to giving you balance and strength. From sitting up, to laying down, your abdominal muscles are in constant use all day. Ab muscles are used significantly when kayaking, but building a strong core in general is a good idea.
The constant shift of the paddle to the left and right works your obliques and abs completely. The core is where you will generate the most power when kayaking or paddling.
Core Exercises for Kayaking
The simplest exercise you can do for building a strong core is definitely the plank. Simple enough to do, yet such a burn when done properly. Just the type of thing you need for good stability.
It’s OK if you do these without weights but I find it builds the abs just a bit quicker and stronger when weighted. Experiment with incline or decline crunches too. I get bored quickly of the same routine so I typically switch it up every few weeks.
Shoulders / Back
As you pull the paddle towards your body, your upper back and shoulder muscles are in full force.
Your lats or Latissimus Dorsi, are the largest muscles on your back. That means a lot of the heavy lifting is done with them. The lats will give you the torque needed to propel you forward while paddling.
Your traps, or Trapezius muscles stabilize and help provide movement to your shoulders and neck. Think shrugging.
Shoulder Exercises for Kayaking
Plank Push Up
Not only will this continue working your core, but your shoulders and arms will get a nice workout.
Pike Push Up
The Pike Push Up helps build chest and shoulder muscles.
Chest / Upper Body
Your pectoral muscles are responsible for pulling the paddle in towards you and helping provide you with some stability. I know whenever I’m paddling hard and I feel the slight burn in my pecs and I know I’m doing it right.
Having a strong chest not only looks good, but you’ll find kayaking a tad easier.
Chest Exercises for Kayaking
Probably the simplest thing you can do to keep your chest in shape are push ups. I believe even our founding fathers were fond of push ups.
Decline Push Up
Ha.. You thought that was the last of the push ups didn’t you? The decline push up is another great exercise to build the upper chest.
Forearms / Grip
Well, this one is pretty much a given. You can’t grip the paddle with no forearm strength. You’ll want to have a firm grip on your paddle, especially in rougher waters. Building up your forearms will improve your grip immensely.
Forearm Exercises for Kayaking
Dips are an amazing way to build forearms as well as triceps and biceps. Here’s a video with a few ways you can do them at home with things you may already have.
I know I said I’d keep them to body weight exercises, but the benefits of the farmers walk are worth it. If you don’t have dumbbells or kettlebells, get creative. Find some cinder blocks outside. Fill some buckets with sand or rocks.
You wouldn’t think legs play too much of a role while sitting. In a kayak. But, you’d be wrong.
Your legs and hips provide most of the stability you need while paddling. Think about the way your body moves while performing a stroke. The body leans forward slightly while your hips and legs keep you firmly in place.
Your feet should be firmly against your foot mounts and the power of your strokes start here.
Leg Exercises for Kayaking
Not only are squats a great leg workout, but when combined with other exercises like in a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout, they really get the blood pumping for some added cardio.
I know, I hate them too. Especially when they’re weighted lunges. But love them or hate them, they are essential to building strong powerful leg muscles.
Don’t forget to get your cardio in on top of these exercises. You’ll want to keep up your endurance and strength for more than a few minutes.
Unless you’re like my wife who prefers to float down the river, paddling as little as humanly possible.
I hope this guide on exercises for kayaking and paddling has helped guide you towards a workout plan that will keep you in shape and ready for the water! Happy paddling!
For more fitness information, check out our site at Surviving the Day for any and all nutrition, fitness and health tips to get you through the day!