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Discussion: Paddling power

in: Adventure Racing; Training & Technique

Aug 11, 2014 1:38 PM # 
Just curious what workouts everyone uses to strengthen their paddling; aside from actual paddling.
Aug 11, 2014 4:28 PM # 
This is what I've heard from some elites: Intervals. 2mins at 90%, 1min at 40%... allowing active recovery during the training/racing. this is opposed to trying to maintain a consistent 70% isn over a longer duration. But, I'm definitely not the authority on paddling.
Aug 11, 2014 4:37 PM # 
Check out KayakCoachJim's training log for a decent example of a strength program for paddling. Jim is a very fast paddler with years of experience. Keep in mind that strength is useless if you're using poor technique.
Aug 11, 2014 5:32 PM # 
Oscar Chalupsky has put it all out there if you're interested.

Aussie Olympian Kenny Wallace & their team have a ton of videos and articles as well at the other end of the spectrum.

I've been around several of the eastern European Olympic kayak teams as they ramped up (well in advance) for the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. They paddled and lifted at my boat club in Newport Beach, winter training camps. I wasn't training "with" them, but I bugged them and asked questions whenever possible. In addition to their 100-150k weeks on the water, they were lifting/doing GPP for 1hr+ per day and also cycling etc. One of my first AR teammates, who just came from team Eco Internet (Andrea Spitzer) was also on the East Germany oly team and was the Guinness Book 24hr record holder in the 90s. She also shared some of their strength training (barbell) training program and training principles with me which helped tremendously over the years.

Their women were all very strong in the weight room. If you have a hard time doing sets of 10 dead-hang pullups, or weighted pullups, that's an obvious start. Bent over rows with dumbbells or barbell is something you can do at any gym as well. You can find some actual modern dryland strength training programs from some Olympic kayak teams online.

As for actual paddling time, 90% of adventure racers are wasting their time just paddling easily in sea kayaks 1-3x per week. If you're paddling just for fun and active recovery, that's fine. If you're "training" for racing, and only have 1-3 paddles and limited hours per week, then you should be hitting very hard intervals targeting different energy systems each time. Hard-Very Hard-Puking/blood curdling/I want to die pace.

My 2 (non-elite paddler) cents, yadda blah etc.
Aug 12, 2014 8:00 AM # 
When I have been stuck on mine sites I used this program:

It seemed to work the same muscles and focused on low weights/high reps rather than building muscle bulk. Ideally getting access to an ergo would be the best option.
Aug 12, 2014 10:07 PM # 
low weight/high reps (over 5-7 reps) = hypertrophy/size and not much strength unless you are recovering from surgery or disease.

high weight/low reps (1-5 rep range per set, maybe total 20-25 reps in a workout) = strength and much less hypertrophy.

That's why bodybuilders stay in that 5 sets of 8-10 high rep, high volume range, for 5+ sets or 50 reps total per exercise. Pure hypertrophy. They get strong over time, but a weightlifter or powerlifter will train much differently, in the low rep range for pure strength.

People who look massive and cut, but are weak are what I call "DMO". Display Model Only.

If you are taking your paddling seriously, you want to improve strength obviously, but most waif-y ultramarathoner/cyclist types could benefit greatly from at least a couple pounds of power-generating torso, thigh and ass muscle.

Look at John Jacoby and look at Kilian Jornet. For AR you have to compromise. There is a lot of time to gain on the water, and the strength and durability from squatting, deadlifting, barbell shoulder press and weighted chins will cross over to all disciplines...not to mention make you more injury resistant before and during races.
Aug 13, 2014 7:25 PM # 
All good info. Thanks very much everyone.
Aug 19, 2014 9:26 PM # 
good stuff, el-Chupa. Thanks for sharing....

This discussion thread is closed.