T Nation

Kayaking- How to Prepare for It?

I have always wanted to go kayaking especially where I live now. I’m surrounded by different bodies of water and nature. I have never gone before and I would like to start. I was wondering how I should prepare so I can go some distance without feeling like I’m going to pass out. Which muscles are used and how should I prepare cardio-wise? I don’t do cardio right now at all.
Thanks.

I have found lifting doesn’t translate real well. You are going to get sore and tired but you will do better than if you didn’t lift at all.

If you have access to a Concept 2 Indoor rowing machine use it. (aim for 45-60min of rowing at a speed of ~2:10-2:15 per 500m, 20-22 strokes/min)

Chest supported BB rows (light weight 30-60+ reps at ~30 reps/min, ~20-40kg depending on your Back/arm strenght)

In general, anything that works shoulder (esp. posterior), upper back (Lats, teres major), arm flexors, grip. Not so much “traditional” strength but more strength-endurance (30+ reps at a high frequency)

Just jump in the boat and go. Plan a shorter trip the first couple of times but you’ll be fine since you are used to an active lifestyle. Like zap said, you will be sore but it will be a good sore.

It is a great way to get out on the water and a good upper body workout. Even moreso if you are going “up” river. If you like to fish, it is a great way to access the shallows.

Have fun, take some pics and post.

As a boy, I lived two blocks from a seven mile long lake, and rowed on it almost every day from May to early December for all of my high school years. I continued to row my boat until a few years ago.

This sunday I took out a new blow-up Kayak I want to use on camping trips when trailering a boat is now wise. I paddled for a little over an hour. After I got home, I got weak and dizzy for a while. Rowing is/was mostly an arm shoulder and back exercise/work. The kayak paddling required body twisting, and paddling/pulling with arms, shoulders, back and the enitre core twisting. The next day I could feel a slight soreness and “I been stretched and worked different” voice from my body. I made up my mind that I will take a number to training trips to get stronger and practiced at this kayak paddling for fishing.

Barbell compelexes might work well. Combination of cardio/endurance. Honestly I think you can only train for kayaking by kayaking.

Like some of the other people were saying, the best way is to get in that kayak and paddle away.

As for the cardio part about it though, simply doing any cardio work is going to help.
As for your muscles, you just gotta do the activity.
I used to kayak a bit in the ocean and that is definitely rough. There’s no activity you can do in the gym that will really prepare you for it.

If you’re conditioned and regularly work out your delts and upper back, you’ll probably be just fine. As new2training said, just plan a shorter trip your first time or two. It’s really not too arduous an activity, unless you decide to go down some wild rapids, which I would REALLY not recommend your first few ventures.

[quote]SSC wrote:
unless you decide to go down some wild rapids, which I would REALLY not recommend your first few ventures.[/quote]

Very good point. I thought about mentioning that but since you are on the coast of SC I assumed you were talking intercoastal kayaking or flat water rivers.

You do not want to hit the white water w/o the right gear and training. I’ve only been upside down in a kayak a couple of times and didn’t like it one bit.

Serious white water kayakers have very big balls.

First learn to swim.

All jokes aside, I have done some kayaking in the past and they hit the lats pretty hard.

The paddling movement is pretty different from the rowing movement. So I don’t think rowing would help much except for the cardio.

I would recommend doing an horizontal rowing movement (like on a hammer iso low row machine or something similar). Work on strength and endurance on this movement.

Also work the lower back as it can get sore and is used a lot for stabilization.

Concept2 rower all the way. Most gyms have one and no one uses it. I hate cardio and C2 rowers have breathed new life. There’s nothing quite like cranking out 500m as fast as you possibly can with good form.

Check out the workouts for beginners on the C2 website. You probably won’t get a sore back from the workouts if you’ve been consistently training, but it’ll definitely be a different experience, and should prep your body somewhat for the repetitive demands of kayaking.

I find the rowing machine motion completely different from paddling a kayak.