Ab Crunches

Paddling.net concludes the series of Tony Kramer's specific exercises for paddlers. For the following exercise segments, you'll be encouraged to use a Pilates Ball.

When learning the art of sea kayaking, the main focus for beginners and novice paddlers is the ability to maintain balance while in the kayak. For most paddlers', just starting out in the sport, this can feel a lot like walking on a tight wire hundreds of feet off the ground. Even an advanced paddler, after a long season off the water, may feel a little "tippy" their first day back in the boat.

Previously, we looked at strengthing your obliques and ab muscles using the Hip Snap exercise while on the pilates ball. This following exercise will strengthen the upper and lower abs specifically. Ab muscles are used in any paddling stroke.

These crunches will finish up your ab routine. In all of the other exercises you have been using the obliques. And now, the crunches will aid in training the upper and lower abs as well.

Pilates Ball & Ab Crunches: (Balance & Ab Training)

Begin by sitting ontop of the pilates ball (inflate the ball so it is very firm).


  • Start the exercise with both feet about shoulder width apart or wider if needed for balance.
  • Lay back over the ball, your hands behind your head, letting your back arch over the top. Feel the stretch in your abdominals.
  • Slowly squeeze your abs to "crunch up" into a sitting position.
    Avoid a sudden "jerk" up, using your arms to pull you off the ball.
  • While keeping your abs tight, slowly lay back over the ball.

Repeat these steps for twenty reps. Do three sets and go for a good burn.

Tony Kramer is the founder of The Sea Kayaker which is a kayak-touring outfitter serving Atlanta, Georgia and Eastern Shore of the Mobile Bay area. They offer scheduled and custom, guided, sea kayak tours and instruction.
He is also known for his work with Walter Muellenhagen on their "How To" home improvement series: "Hands On" and "Remodeling and Decorating Today." Both shows air on HGTV and DIY. Tony takes this same "How To" approach to his kayak instruction and tours. As an instructor, his experience is based on over seventeen years of open ocean touring and BCU training.

If you are interested in putting together a personal workout, they would be happy to put one together for you. Just email them with your information and training goals.



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