Hip Snaps: 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 C Lean exercise while on the pilates ball. This following exercise will train the abs for good form when doing Hip Snaps. Hip snaps are needed for overall kayak control, righting and recovery. You can't do a sweep or "C" to "C" roll without it.

This exercise is done to train the obliques for strong, quick hips snap on demand. While doing this routine, squeeze your abs to hold the position. Go for the burn!

Pilates Ball & Hip Snaps: (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 above your head with the forearms vertical.
  • Now raise the hip by using the oblique muscles of the abs while keeping the head and shoulders still.
  • This is the same as the J lean but don't hold the position.
  • Go straight to the other side by raising the other hip. Remember to keep the head and shoulders still.
  • Alternate sides, back and forth, as quickly as you can. As you raise one hip, push your butt, on the opposite side, into the Pilates ball.

Do this fifteen times, counting on one side as you go. Stop. Then repeat.
Go for three sets.

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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