C-Leans: Strength & Balance

Paddling.net continues the series of specific exercises for paddlers, but with a twist this time (or should we say ball). 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 abs using the J Lean exercise while on the pilates ball. This following exercise will train the abs for good form when doing C leans. While doing this routine, squeeze your abs to hold the position. Go for the burn!

Pilates Ball & C-Leans: (Balance & Ab Training)

Begin by sitting ontop of the pilates ball (inflate the ball so it is very firm) with a paddle, broom stick or long dowel in hand.


  • Start the exercise with both feet about shoulder width apart or wider if needed for balance.
  • Place the paddle across the top chest just above the collar bone.
  • Place the paddle in a "high brace" position keeping the elbows tucked close to the body.
  • On your bracing side (where the paddle meets the water),make the letter C with your body. Raise the hip by using the oblique muscles of the abs. Try to lay your head over on the shoulder.
  • Hold this position for five seconds.
  • Swap sides by switching your "high brace" and raising the hip.
  • While changing sides, lower your shoulder and lay your head over.
  • Hold this position for five seconds and then go back to the other side.

Do this ten times, holding your C lean for five seconds on each turn.

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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