Canoeing is a sport that involves paddling the canoe with a single-bladed paddle. The modern recreational sport of canoeing was an offshoot of the ancient mode of transportation that used a narrow boat with pointed ends and no keels. Canoeing is now an Olympic sport.
It requires the paddler to possess a combination of power, strength, speed, balance, and endurance. Canoeing is considered an endurance sport. One has the potentials of becoming a successful paddler if he has maximal speed and strength.
Successful paddlers need a combination of exercises to prepare themselves for the tedious task ahead. The following are some of the necessary exercises a good paddler needs:
- Balance exercises. The sport requires paddlers to have a good sense of balance because paddling is always unstable. Just to get into the boat requires that the paddler has a good sense of balance. Balancing exercises for paddlers revolve around three movements – transverse, frontal, and sagittal. It is necessary that the three planes of training be included to improve a paddler’s muscle balances. The balancing act to remain stable in the canoe requires the least amount of compensation. Exercises involving sitting on a chair, standing with feet apart, feet together, one-legged, and others will be key to develop the sense of balance.
- Torso rotation. Torso rotation is essential in paddling that uses all the muscles of the body’s midsection. The muscles support all the basic movements of the body. There are too much rotation motions as one paddle the canoe. The paddler turns his body from the waist up as he tries to increase his range of motion. As the blade sinks in the water, he keeps a slight bend at the elbow while rotating his right shoulder toward the stern. A paddler can exercise at home to exercise the muscles involved in paddling.
- Resistance band exercises. Resistance band exercises can develop a paddler’s resistance and improve his strength and stability. Resistance band exercises improve the core, the shoulders, the back and the chest.
- Shoulder endurance exercises. A paddler can strengthen his shoulders by using a body bar or a light barbell. Air row for about five minutes per set. The exercise will strengthen the muscles in the shoulders, which are used heavily in paddling.
- Martial arts. The Chinese martial arts T’ai Chi is one of the best martial arts for weight loss. It is based on centring, rooting, and weight shifts. It uses hip and waist rotation to perform the movements. Paddling a canoe also involves graceful movements using the body parts that are the focus of T’ai Chi. Performing T’ai Chi movements will benefit the way you paddle your canoe.
You can paddle your canoe faster and more gracefully after continuously performing these dry land exercises.
Also read: An Accident That Almost Made Me Say Good Bye To Canoeing