These wintertime exercises for kayakers will keep you in shape so that you’re more ready than ever for kayaking come spring.
When winter rolls in with its dark clouds, cold temperatures, rain and snow, most kayakers don’t have access to paddling. As the chilly months drag on, how do you stay in shape so that you’re ready to jump right back into kayaking in the spring? Exercise in the winter to prevent the loss of hard-earned bulk, as well as starting back at square one when you finally get the chance to kayak again.
We truly relate to the pain of going months without partaking in one of your favorite sports—the struggle is real! We also know how difficult it is to get back out there if you fill your winter up with long naps and big meals. Thankfully, there are a number of wintertime exercises to keep you in top-notch mental and physical shape for kayaking. Paddle on!
Swimming is the best cross-training activity for paddling. It targets fundamental aerobic and paddle-specific
muscular endurance conditioning for your legs, core and upper back. To find an indoor pool and start improving your paddling efficiency months before you can even get back in your kayak.
#2. Hit The Trails
Hiking, jogging and mountain biking are all great cross-training exercises that target your legs and help you build up the strength needed to support the lower-body demands of paddling. Mountain biking might be out of the question in winter, depending on where you live, but hiking is almost always possible—just make sure to wear plenty of warm clothes!
#3. Work Out Your Back With Full-Body Resistance Training
Paddling is a very repetitive sport. Constant forward bending with torso rotation can lead to lower and upper back injuries, especially if your back is not strong enough to handle the task.
You can reduce your risk for back injuries by focusing on full-body resistance training, paying close attention to building up and maintaining back muscles.
The following routines should be done 1-3 times per week. Begin your workout with at least 5 minutes of light aerobic activity to warm up.
Single Leg Squat With Single Arm Middle Row Using A Resistance Band
Start standing with your right arm extended out holding onto the resistance band and your right leg stretched out in front of you. Inhale as you squat down on one leg and extend your left arm out. Exhale as you stand back up and row your extended arm back to starting position. Do at least 15 reps on each side.
Chest Fly With Resistance Band
Stand in a staggered stance (just like a lunge with one foot in front of the other) with the resistance band held in both hands out in front of you. Pretend like you’re giving a big bear hug to an invisible person as you hold the handles out in front of you. Place around 80% of your body weight on your front leg. Inhale when your arms open and exhale when your arms squeeze in. After completing each set, switch out your legs and repeat.
Some other great exercises for kayakers that involve resistance bands, free weights, and medicine balls include:
- Hay baler with a medicine ball
- Wood chop with resistance band
- Step-up with a lateral raise
- Pull-down with resistance band
- Skater with uppercut
#4. Don’t Forget Your Core
Your core is an important factor to paddling. Contrary to popular belief, crunches do little to nothing to beef up your midline and prepare your body for the challenges you’ll face out in the water. Rotational strength of the torso will help you maintain propulsion and drive proper stroke mechanics when kayaking.
Stability Ball Crunch With Twist
In order to build up your rotational strength, place a large medicine ball under your hips and lean back, place your hands behind your head with your elbows out wide. Keep your knees and hips in the same alignment throughout the entire exercise. Add in a rotation at the top to work your obliques; let all rotation come directly from your waist as you crunch upward and twist to the side. Alternate sides as you go and lead with your chest as opposed to your head.
Plain & Simple Planking
Planking is another great way to work out your core, and you don’t need any fancy gym equipment to get it done. Start planking in 1-minute increments and go up from there as your core gets stronger.
#5. Aerobic Cross-Training Exercises for Kayaking
All of the exercises outlined above are included in aerobic cross-training classes offered at countless gyms and cross training studios across the nation. Most gyms offer free trials so why not try out some different options to find a class that challenges your body and mind.
Is Your Car Ready For Kayaking? Roof Rack Crossbars For Kayaks
These exercises will keep your body in shape so that you’re physically ready for kayaking, but is your vehicle prepared to haul around your gear?
Our roof rack crossbars are ideal for effortlessly carting around kayaks, canoes, skis, bikes and more! These provide a reliable rack for your paddling gear and are specially made with soft rubber padded clamps and cargo touch points to protect your vehicle.
Learn more about our uniquely strong and aerodynamic Roof Rack Crossbars.