If you live in a four-season climate you will find it difficult to canoe year-round. In order stay in shape during the colder months, there are a variety of off-season activities you should be sure to engage in. There are two different kinds of training you should keep up with: aerobic and anaerobic training (strength training/weight lifting). This article will review some ideas for both.
Things You’ll Need:
- Free weights Cross-country ski equipment Gym membership or home gym
- Free weights
- Cross-country ski equipment
- Gym membership or home gym
Aerobic training is any form of activity that gets your heart rate up and improves your body’s oxygen consumption ability. Aerobic training is an important part of any athletic routine. Examples of aerobic training include running, swimming, playing basketball, skiing and any other form of physical activity that speeds up your heart rate for a prolonged period of time.
Cross-country skiing is the most fun, effective form of aerobic training to keep in shape for canoeing. You engage all the same core muscles groups while participating in an activity that provides a huge amount of aerobic exercise. Additionally, you get to be outside. Call downhill ski areas near you and see if they have Nordic facilities available or any suggestions about where else you can go in the area.
If you are gym-bound, the most effective form of aerobic training is the rowing machine. It keeps your heart rate high while working your shoulders, back, core and thighs. Be sure to have a trainer check your form on the machine, because when used improperly, rowing machines can do a lot of damage to your back.
Mix these activities with other forms of aerobic exercise to keep your training routine interesting so you will stick with it. Indoor rock climbing, ice climbing, running, snowshoeing (with poles at a strenuous pace) and swimming are good activities to throw in the mix. Aim to get one hour of aerobic exercise at least three times a week to maintain your fitness level during the off-season.
Weight lifting is an important part of your off-season training. Paddle sports put stress on your shoulders and shoulder joints, so keeping all your muscle groups strong throughout the year is key to preventing injuries. Alternate between major muscle groups with each workout. Flip through popular fitness magazines for specific workout suggestions, or just create your own workout with some of the ideas suggested below.
Arms and Shoulders: Do bicep curls, side lifts, wrist curls and standing rows with free weights. Attach a bar to a controlled weight machine and use it to do pull downs. Also, you can experiment with dry water rowing by sitting on a workout bench, holding a barbell like a canoe paddle and practicing your different rowing techniques.
Core: Engage all your core muscles by practicing plank poses. Start with reps of three, holding for ten seconds, and increase the time as you are comfortable. Use bicycle sit-ups, putting your elbow to the opposing knee, to practice your torso rotations. Practice standard sit-ups and oblique sit-ups, and use the dip station to engage your lower abdominal area, aiming to hold pike-ups for five seconds in reps of 10. Use a back bench for reverse sit ups to strengthen your back muscles.
Thighs: Use a mixture of controlled weight machines and squats and lunges to keep your thighs in shape. Adding free weights in your hands is a good way to make squats more challenging.
To stay at your current level of fitnes,s aim to practice strength training at least three times a week for half an hour.
Tips & Warnings
- Check with local canoeing organizations in your area and see if they organize off-season training programs.