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Kayaking Fitness & Strength

Reflections on Kayaking Fitness & Strength


Fitness for paddling has been on my mind a lot lately and I thought maybe my story on why I've been thinking about it for the last couple of months could spark a discussion. Maybe everyone can chime in on things and exercises that they like to do in order to stay fit for their type of paddling.


I recently had a Norway trip where I knew that we'd have a lot of paddling each day. I knew the amount of miles we would be covering so I was doing a little bit of exercise here and there to try to build up my stamina just so that when I got there, I’d be able to handle it just fine. Turned out that I was really not anywhere in as good shape as I should have been for that trip.

Now, this group had a very fast and strong pace and in order to keep up with them I was pushing myself beyond what I usually paddled whenever I go out and just have a nice daily paddle. What really made the difference was the amount of equipment we had in the boats.

So I came back with the goal of not being in the situation again. I really wanted to make a difference and start working out a bunch more. My wife and I, before we had our kid, we used to work out on a regular basis. We were really fond of the p90x series. Those were really fantastic for us because we would do them together at home. We would also alternate with yoga but once we had our child all of that extra time was just gone.

After my Norway trip I made a decision to try to find a way to incorporate some of those workouts again – so I got myself a fitness tracker that has an application that I could look back and be held accountable for every single day doing all the workouts and I thought, you know what, I'm going to just try to start maybe with the 10-minute program. See if I can fit them in right before my son wakes up or right after he goes to sleep, maybe I can do two or three a day depending on what I can do and then mix and match as well.

The reason I'm babbling about this, and this on my mind, is because I just got back from a trip to Canada. I went up with a group of friends and we got the paddle for five days at the West Isles Sea Kayak Symposium. We also went up North in Nova Scotia and we ran the Shubie along with Jarrod and Lee. The guys kept saying there's going to be a lot of features, save your energy because if you use too much in one you might get depleted and then when you get to the other ones you just don't have anything left in the tank.

We then got to a section that's called the Killer K – a kilometer of fairly large waves and it was absolutely awesome. It was so much fun, I pushed myself and I caught one of the front waves and rode that for a couple of minutes and I'm telling you, I was pushing as hard as I could and on my Stern rudders and my movements. I was really pushing hard to try to stay in place leaning forward the whole time.

Once I started losing ground and I tried getting back into the wave, I just had nothing left in the tank and I could really tell that if my cardio work had been better and my strength training had been better I think I could have been able to catch one or two more of those. The reason this is so important to me too is I don't think I would have been able to catch that wave at all if I hadn't been working nonstop since I got back from my trip to Norway.

This has just redoubled my incentive to work even harder to try to find those 10, 20, 30 minutes, or even an hour maybe if I can break away from my kid once in a while and fit in those workouts because for some of that higher level paddling, while technique and skill is very important, fitness and endurance is key. Without that you just can't move that boat where you want it and if the water is moving fast enough you really have to have a very strong reserve.

So as I said before, I want this to be a conversation. What do you guys like doing? What kind of exercises do you do? Please do comment below. I think we could all benefit from sharing some tips of things that we do.

If you have anything else to add please comment below, or if you have any other questions. I hope that was helpful, please subscribe you'd like I'm always trying to put these videos out, and as always, Luke Rovner for Kayak Hipster, thank you for watching and see you next time.



Huge thanks to Jarrod and Lee for their leadership on the Shubie. To learn more: https://cloud9adventures.ca/

Also a huge thanks to Jeremy Cline and Canoe Kayak NB for a great time at the West Isles Sea Kayak Symposium. 
https://www.canoekayaknb.com/

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