Kayaking is the perfect cross over training tool for increasing your core strength and developing other key parts of your body. The benefits of kayaking for all types of athlete are numerous. Here are some of what you can expect to achieve when using kayaking as a cross over training sport.
What is core strength?
Your core is made up of predominantly the deep layered muscle groups around your abdominal, oblique (sides), mid and lower back – the trunk of your body. Whether we realise it or not, we use our core in nearly all parts of our life; the only exception being when we’re lying in the prone position on our backs. Simply standing upright is an example of our core doing its job – supporting our spine and stopping us from collapsing. Without our core strength we wouldn’t be able to function. Having good core strength when involved in sport means you can place more demands on your body and therefore push yourself further. It provides stability, power and strength for the rest of your body.
How kayaking can help
For some, spending hours in a confined gym is just not cricket. Repetition after repetition of dull and boring exercises is the quickest way to demotivate yourself. If you’re looking to build your core strength then the controlled twist of paddling on flat water is a great way to enhance and make it stronger. Move into environments such as white water or waves, where movements become more vigorous and dynamic, and the whole process is magnified. Over a prolonged period, paddling your sit on will benefit your other sports no end and you’ll start to notice performance enhancements before too long.
Good for your heart
It’s not just your core strength that will significantly improve. The cardiovascular nature of paddling makes it one of the more interesting exercises you can do to benefit the heart. Rather than running on a treadmill or enduring mind numbing exercises in the gym, get in your boat and go for a paddle. Kayaking is much more fun and way better for your state of mind.
Back, shoulders and chest
The action of paddling – lift, push and twist – is the way to increase muscle definition, strength and tone in your back, chest and shoulders. The repetition of these movements is key for developing these areas of your body. The impact of paddling, over time, will allow most people to achieve their desired body shape while having a knock on effect to other sports you practice too.
The legs play an important role when paddling your kayak. You may not initially believe it – but the sport is a great way to develop your legs. Legs play a huge part in helping you to maintain good balance in your boat. By locking them out and keeping the muscles taut you’re avoiding any unnecessary dunkings, while improving their strength.
Vice like grip
Repetition is by and large a regular part of kayaking and this is highly beneficial to developing strength and muscle tone. For those who require an improved grip, paddling a kayak is a great way to increase this. It stands to reason that a weak grip on the very form of propulsion you’re relying on when your paddling your boat is not great – if this is what you suffer from then you run the risk of losing your paddle which can lead to all sorts of complications. Gripping the shaft securely is a way to paddle efficiently with the added bonus of the paddler being able to develop their grip. Kayaking is therefore great for sports men and women who rely on good grip – from tennis to cricket or even javelin!
If you’re looking to improve your arm strength and definition then kayaking is a great tool for achieving this. By continually working against the resistance of the water, your arms will naturally develop. The circumference of your arms will increase significantly if you’re a regular paddler. Kayaking is one of those magic sports for anyone looking to have fun while training and exercising. A sport that works near enough all your key muscle groups while giving a cardiovascular workout, kayaking can give your training regime the boost you’ve been looking for. Why not give it a go and see for yourself.