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Old 07-06-2011   #1
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 20
Weight Training for River Sports

I love getting out on the river (rafting and kayaking), but really struggle with some of the heavy lifting. I'd also love to develop a stronger body to become a better paddler. I have a decent core, but am still not sure if the problem area is my core muscles or upper body. Does anybody have any good weight lifting routines or advice on how to better manage lifting and/or become a stronger paddler??

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Old 07-06-2011   #2
briandburns's Avatar
Boise, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1979
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 151
Join a gym. They'll probably give you a free body analysis and recommended lifting routine to meet your goals. It's well worth the membership price.

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Old 07-06-2011   #3
KSC's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,032
Well, it's summer and rivers are still cranking so I would say hike your boat around lots of river banks and do a lot of paddling. Seriously.
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Old 07-06-2011   #4
SummitSurfer's Avatar
Summit County, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 435
Start with some simple things that use only your body weight. Try doing push ups, pull ups and sit ups. Start with doing 5 of each a day then try and add only one, every 2 days.
When you do workouts using your own weight you typically can do them every day and still be able to function the rest of the day and it will not build bulk. The secret to great tone is low weight high rep.
I would also recommend an 30 min- 1 hour of cardio each day. If you stay in the aerobic zone (60-75% heart rate); it allows your body the metabolic time to convert un-needed or wanted fat to energy. If you go anaerobic (higher heart rates such as 75-95%) then this allows you to build endurance, but burns fat at lesser rate, but the catch is it burns more calories, so you still win. I typically advise people to burn the fat they have with aerobic cardio workouts, getting the body and muscles used to workouts, then do 20-30 minutes of all out hard anarobic workout which builds that endurance giving your paddling greater control and allowing you to recover faster and easier from hard sessions. Don't try and build endurance for several weeks until you have a stable cardio platform well established.
To determine your heart rate percentages take 220-(your age)= your max heart rate.
Take your max heart rate and determine 60-70-80-90% This is just a rule of thumb and not entirely accurate for everyone.
Secret #2: Find a work out you enjoy, listen to your favorite music and get out there and feel good about the work your doing and yourself.
Secret #3: Somedays, your just not going to feel like working out. Make yourself workout for the first 15 minutes and if you still don't feel like working out, then walk away with a clear conscience. BUT, if your like me, after 15 minutes you feel good and you go ahead and workout.
Just today, I did a 3 hour play park session, got out had banana and peanut butter sandwhich, got back in and did another buddy's were dieing and ready to go, I kept on it does work and you can be in great shape in no time and feeling good about yourself.
Hope this helps and feel free to PM with ??? as I'm a Peer Fitness Cordinator for a my local emergency services.


PS Your in a bike? Hit the bike path...its great riding down there!
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Old 07-07-2011   #5
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,136
12 oz. curls, repeat.
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Old 07-07-2011   #6
Spits Hot Fire
N. Cascades, Washington
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 978
Two words: shake weight
Your opinion doesn't matter when you're already biased.
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Old 07-07-2011   #7
smauk2's Avatar
Near water (hopefully), Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 770
Originally Posted by FLOWTORCH View Post
Two words: shake weight
You are beautiful, thank you, entering sleep mode...

But really don't train now that would be crazy. It's paddle time, paddle paddle paddle! You want to get better at lifting boats, go lift your boat over and over, don't make it more complicated than it needs to be.

For the off season find yourself a routine you like. Like someone said above, join a gym and get some tips.
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Old 07-07-2011   #8
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 20
ha! thanks guys! All good advice. Don't know why it didn't occur to me to ask a trainer at the gym also!
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Old 07-07-2011   #9
Littleton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 350
Do Waterton, and carry your boat on your back (sherpa pack (whether improvised with straps and a pool noodle, or purpose-built pack)). It should be easier than shouldering it on either side, and it evens out the workout between your shoulders.

I think it's particularly hard to train for carrying your boat, at the gym. Maybe I'm just a weakling, though.
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Old 07-07-2011   #10
Eagle, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 185
I've been having decent success with a modified version of Starting Strength. Compound weightlifting exercises with a barbell. Start with just the bar and add 5 pounds each time you complete the sets with perfect form.

Workout A
3x5 Squat
3x5 Bench Press
1x5 Deadlift

Workout B
3x5 Squat
3x5 Press
5x3 Power cleans

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