Kayak workouts for the Gym


Kayaking can be a challenging sport and requires a great deal of strength and endurance if you expect to get the most out of it. If you’re thinking of taking your fitness for the sport to the next level then you’ll need to do more than just paddle around your local lake. Consider joining your local Gym and making strength training your fitness goal. There are plenty of exercises you can complete in a 1-hour workout session that will get you amazing results in enough time.

Even if your kayaking sessions go pretty smoothly on average, by not training the right muscle groups, you can be left at its end too fatigued to even pull they kayak out of the water or stay awake when driving home. Condition yourself for better performance with these exercises and If you want to take it even further, consider hiring a personal trainer.

Aerobic Training

If you want to last longer on your kayaking sessions then aerobic training is crucial for building endurance and stamina. By far the best activity is swimming, whether pool laps or open water. Regular swimming exercises will train your core, upper back and legs which will translate into stronger paddling. You’ll also gain greater confidence in the water for when the odd mishap takes place on the water.

Though not as effective as swimming, Jogging, cycling and hiking are also great activities that will allow you to build long-term endurance. These leg-based exercises will help you develop lower body strength which will influence your paddling.

Muscular strength training

It’s hard work propelling your body and kayak through the water. By developing muscular strength you’ll be able to deliver more force with each stroke. By exercising correctly you’ll also decrease your chances of an injury from overuse. Most research shows that it’s better to use heavier weights and do fewer reps than vice-versa. 12-14 repetitions of 3 sets is a good aiming point. You’ll develop greater muscle coordination and resistance to muscle fatigue allowing you to go harder for longer.  Since it’s difficult to simulate paddling with weight lifting it’s better to stick with exercises that provide general conditioning to the appropriate muscle groups.

Some good strength training exercises include:

  • Medicine ball exercises
  • Cable deadlift
  • Floor pullups
  • Plank Core variations
  • Seated core exercises

Flexibility Conditioning

While some recent research has suggested that flexibility may not be as good as once thought for reducing muscle soreness and improving performance, it should not be entirely neglected. This is where having a personal trainer can really make a difference as they can cater your training to fit your situation specifically. The goal in stretching is to prevent further reduction in your range of movement. Having a greater range of motion will provide your muscles with a reserve of movement when paddling.

Key areas for stretching and strengthening include:

  • Upper-back (latissimus dorsi and rhomboids)
  • Chest and shoulders (pectorals and deltoids)
  • Arms (biceps and triceps)
  • Core (rectus abdominous, obliques and spinal erectors
  • Legs and hips (gluteals and hamstrings)

Final thoughts

If you’re new to strength training then start off with just one session a week. As you feel your endurance building increase to two or three sessions a week if you wish to reach optimal results. It will take 6-8 weeks for your body to develop the right technique and movement that will take you to the next level in your kayaking performance.