Indulging in kayaking can be a fun and great idea for relaxation. It is an activity that allows you to get away from the monotony and chaos of city life and spend time in the lap of nature, without disruptions. However, you have to be prepared to enjoy the experience of kayaking. It is not only about buying the right attire, suitable kayak, and other accessories required for paddling. You need to prepare your body for kayaking. If you had thought you can indulge in kayaking without any prior preparation, you are far from reality. To enjoy kayaking in lakes, rivers, or ocean waters, your body muscles have to be toned and robust. Paddling in choppy waters, braving the strong wind, and coping with weather elements away from land- can be taxing. By doing proper exercise you can make your body equipped for kayaking.
The Importance of Strength Training
If you want to enjoy kayaking quite often, toning up your muscles and enhancing your overall fitness level is necessary. By resorting to weight training this can be achieved.
As a matter of fact, you do not always get calm water and a soothing breeze when you are paddling in a river or lake. Sometimes, weather patterns can be unperceivable. When you venture out it may be sunny with a light breeze but that can be succeeded by a cloudy sky and strong gusts of wind. Unless your muscles are strong, handling the kayak in mid-river can be hard. Sometimes, you have to paddle hard to flow against the water current. Paddling in winter also comes with its share of hurdles. By doing apt weight training, you get toned up muscles.
The other benefit of doing weight training is it makes your body equipped to cope with mishaps that can occur while kayaking. If your injury resilience is high you can farewell. If a capsize takes place, you can manage to get in the kayak faster. It can be crucial in some situations.
Weight training also benefits you when you indulge in fly fishing. Angling while you are paddling can be fun. However, catching a large fish and managing to get it on-board requires muscular strength.
The Phases of Weight Training
You can segregate weight training for kayaking into a few phases. Overall, it may take a few months.
Introductory Strength Phase
It is better that you start with lightweight training so that it does not wear your muscles out much. It is necessary to give your body muscles some time to get accustomed to weight training as well. Choose a weight that you are able to lift at least 10 times in quick succession easily. Initially, you can work out on alternate days and as your body adapts to the regimen, you can work out 6 days a week.
Anatomical Adaptation Training Phase
Once your body is able to cope with introductory strength training, move to the next stage. This stage requires putting the focus on tendons and ligaments. You can boost the number of weight lift repetitions. You may do 20 repetitions in 2 – 5 sets.
Maximum Strength Training Phase
After weight training for 2 months or so, you enter the final phase. In this stage, you can try lifting heavier weights but the number of repetitions can be brought down. The speed of performing exercises slows down since you are dealing with heavier weight. You can try bench press, bench pulls at this stage.
The Kayak Strength Exercises To Do
Your focus should be on developing the leg, hand, and abdominal muscles. So, you can indulge in the forms of the following exercise:
- Bent-Knee Deadlift
- Bench Press
- Lying Barbell Row
- Cable Cross Pull
- Stretching poses like toe touching and Abdominal stretch
One thing that you have to keep in mind that kayaking oriented strength training is not about gaining more muscle mass. You are not aiming for a trophy in a weightlifting competition! It is more about strengthening certain muscles in the body. For regular kayaking, 4 sessions of exercises per week may be adequate. Those into ocean water kayaking may opt for more intensive regimes. Of course, you have to eat healthy so that your body can recuperate from the stress and gets the energy to let you perform the exercise.
Arthur G. Moore is a veteran paddler. He has over 10 years of whitewater kayaking experience in his kitty. When he was young, he used to love kayaking in rapid III and rapid IV but as time went on, he decided to concentrate mainly on covering long distances on a standard touring kayak. He is currently working as a senior editor for Kayak Manual.