Three Moves for Stronger Kayaking
Kayaking is a great upper body workout, but if you are a new explorer testing the waters (no pun intended... or is there?) for the first time or first few times, it's definitely going to be a challenge.
I've got some great exercises you can use to pump up that upper body and core strength for your next adventure. Now remember, just because you do the work out once doesn't mean you'll be superman/superwoman, but if you work these moves into a consistent training schedule, you'll see the difference.
1. Bent Row Deadlift
First off, I left my doggy in the video because she's adorable, so make sure to say "awww" at my sweet, 15 year old husky!
Moving on, this exercise is going to focus on your lats, traps, hamstrings, and glutes. When you are kayaking, you need to brace your core and pull back into yourself as you row. Your lats, traps, and abdominal muscles need to work together in a simultaneous push and pull maneuver. In the same regard, your glutes and hamstrings are also part of your core and when you row, the "bracing" comes with squeezing and tightening those muscles to move and propel you forward.
2. Pull Overs
There's a big argument in the fitness world about whether or not the pull over is a back exercise or a chest exercise. In a nutshell, it's both! It will also attack those triceps in a multi-muscle movement. I'm not a huge fan of isolation exercises when it comes to functional training. Don't get me wrong, they have their time and place, but for the sake of efficiency, hitting the smaller muscles in conjunction with the larger muscles is the way to go. The pull over is going to hit your back, chest, triceps, and even shoulders. All of these are muscles you use to row, row, row your boat.
3. Single Arm Row
Seeing a theme here? Yes, a single arm row is going to hone in just a little more on the lats and middle traps, but once again, it's also going to hit the triceps. What I love about the single arm row is that in order to set up, you need to have a flat back without a pelvic tilt or back arch. This is accomplished by tightening the core and drawing the shoulders down and back.
Why does the back flattening matter? In order to accomplish the flattening while you are balancing on one arm and knee, your body must recruit your stabilization muscles. If you have ever been in a kayak, you know that it can be unstable in the right setting. Just getting into the kayak alone can be tricky, even on the shore!
If you incorporate these moves into your training on a consistent basis, with the right reps, sets, and tempo, you will begin to see changes in your strength and even physique! Good news is, if you have dumbbells at home or a barbell, you don't need a gym in order to go at it.
Here's hoping the gyms out there will be able to open soon, but until then, ain't nothin' you can't do at home!