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Old 08-02-2011   #1
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 12
Legs going to sleep: Stretching Help

I'm having a really hard time learning to kayak because every time I get in one my legs are totally gone in about 10 minutes. I took an 1.5 hour Class2 run yesterday and it was pretty miserable, but I think I have narrow down the cause. They seem to be going to sleep right at my knees. After I got back I just sat on the floor with my knees up like I was actually in a kayak and leaned forward a little and they started to go to sleep, not even in the boat.
So, when I sit on the floor with my legs straight and try to lean forward it gets really uncomfortable at the back of my knees before my back even gets perpendicular to my legs. To tell you the truth I have never really stretched, ever, so I am really not the flexible, but I think this legs going to sleep thing is a flexibility thing. So I am wondering if someone could tell me how to stretch and how to get past this thing.

TLDR: Not flexible, need to learn some stretches that will help my legs stop going to sleep.


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Old 08-02-2011   #2
Highlands Ranch, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 53
Not sure about the stretching, but I've found legs going to sleep in the boat is usually a sign that the hip pads need to be adjusted. Experiment with moving them around in addition to working on your flexibility.

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Old 08-02-2011   #3
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,408
Stretching, by Bob Anderson, is the classic fitness book prescribed by your doctor, your chiropractor, and your physical therepist or find another book

work on loosening up hamstrings

check that front of seat edge is not cutting off circulation

good tip above on hip pads. make sure they are positioned correctly front and back and that they are hi enought so the ridge is not cutting into your hip also check thickness and be sure it does not bind.
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Old 08-02-2011   #4
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 12
Thanks for the book recommend; I'll check it out.
I will check the pads, but I really don't think they are much of an issue since I can recreate the numbness just by sitting on the floor in front of the TV. It even takes the same amount of time and has the same feeling as when I am in the boat.

I'm not sure exactly how the hip pads should be set, might have to run to CKS and get some help.
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Old 08-02-2011   #5
Front Range Swim Team
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FRST, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 73
Have you tried stretching the crap out of your legs first? I dont always go numb, but I do often, and if I take the time to stretch before I get in the boat I will often have no issues.

Bust your ass and get ready before everyone else even has a drytop on, and then when your slacker friends are getting ready, stretch your hamstrings, quads, ass, hip flexors, lower back, sides... everything. If I do this, I am always relatively comfortable.
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Old 08-02-2011   #6
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 12
Yeah, I have never stretched in my entire life and I am starting to regret it. I'm going to start stretching everyday though and I will definitely get my stretch on before I get in my boat. Thanks, Cmack.
Now I am off to google how to stretch my hamstrings, quads, ass, hip flexors, lower back, and sides. I am more into the muscle through things with no technique way of doing things. Maybe this will be a good excuse to take a yoga class *shifty eyes*
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Old 08-02-2011   #7
Ogden, Utah
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 44
Can you slide your legs in from the thigh pads?
I, too, suffer from kayak-numbleg-itis on floats longer than about an hour. (mostly likely cause I'm a little over weight and the hip-pad columns are super tight on my fat ass) Occasionally I'll bring my knees up in the cockpit, to where they're pushing up on the spray-skirt, and that brings some relief. Be sure to do it on calm stretches/eddys, it makes you very unstable.
My off-season training for this ailment consists of watching TV/playing on laptop whilst sitting in kayak(yes, in the living room with my very understanding wife) for as long as I can stand, taking a small break, and repeat.
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Old 08-02-2011   #8
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Aurora, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 453
I had a lot of trouble with a backband that was making my right leg fall asleep. I know it sounds strange, but if you have pressure points on your lower back, that could be causing your problem. Try adjusting your backband / hip pads. Also, if you have the releasable (ratchets or strings) backband, get in the habbit of releasing them when you are sitting in an eddy. Might help. Good luck!
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Old 08-08-2011   #9
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 12
Hate to up and old thread, but I had really good luck with stretching. I have been sitting on the floor every night, keeping my legs straight, pushing my head as close to my knees as I can, holding it for 15seconds, and repeating 15-20 times.
I was in my boat for about two hours straight yesterday and didn't have any problems, my legs felt great for the whole time.

Maybe this will help someone else. I never would have thought it was a flexibility issue.
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Old 08-24-2011   #10
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 06
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 22
this might not apply to your case with the sleepy knees:
my legs fell asleep because there wasn't enough support on my upper thighs. That is where the circulation was being cut. I raised the front of the seat (Foam underneath) and added foam under the seat pad. This smoothed the transition from where the seat ended and where my legs started up towards the thigh braces. No more numb legs.

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