Kayaking can be practiced in any form – as a recreational activity or as a thrilling adventure sport. However, both these forms require the paddler to possess basic fitness and stamina. There are special kayaking fitness programs that kayakers can practice to stay fit and healthy for kayaking.
Kayaking Fitness Program
Upper Body Exercises
Since the most important element in kayaking is paddling, developing and strengthening the upper body is most important. One of the best upper body exercises is pulling dumbbells or prone barbell bench pulls.
The barbell bench pulls consists of lying on a flat board and pulling the barbells kept below the board at an arm’s distance. The barbells must be directly pulled towards and away from the chest in a fixed momentum. Yet another easy method involves the use of dumbbells. The person must place his feet at shoulder’s distance from each other and lean forward. However, it is important to keep the back straight and put all the body weight on the heels. In this position, doing pulls with the dumb bells would develop the upper body and arm muscles tremendously.
The weight of the dumb bells would depend upon the motive of the individual. Using light weight dumb bells and doing more counts would increase endurance while using heave weight dumb bells and doing fewer counts would increase the upper body power greatly.
Exercises for Shoulders and Arms
Kayaking regularly is the best option to develop the body for kayaking. Thus, to strengthen the muscles and the arms, paddling for long hours is the best option. Individuals need not hit the water and can indulge in dry paddling sitting at home.
A great tool to use for dry paddling is a bodybar or two paddles at a time and air row for 3-5 minutes per set. This would prepare and tone the shoulder muscles for kayaking.
Squats too are great kayaking exercises especially for strengthening the calf muscles. Although, most people know how to perform squats, doing them perfectly is very important. Remember to start by standing upright on the toes with back straight. When sitting down, do not lean forward or hold on to any support.
Yet another version of the squats involves the use of paddle. Individuals must hold the paddle parallel to the shoulders while sitting down.
If going to a gym, doing the leg curls and extension exercises is a must for all kayakers. These exercises are important to strengthen and tone the quadriceps and hamstrings.
Crunches are excellent form of workout for strengthening the abdominal muscles. The best option is to use the pilates ball for performing the crunches. These would burn the unnecessary abdominal fat and keep the body lean and fit for kayaking.
Kayaking requires great endurance and stamina, especially for whitewater kayaking or sea kayaking expeditions. Thus, a long cycling session, preferably outdoors would help in building the stamina a great deal.
These are just a few of the major exercises that kayakers can practice so that they are fighting fit for a kayaking session always.