Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Paddle Fitness

I realised after my first Gower trip that without getting a lot of the more specific seakayak techniques down, I am going to be a liability to myself. So in order to avoid this I thought I'd better get my act together and practice and keep on practicing. However what I didn't want to do is just bimble around without any focus.

For now I've decided to use Cardiff Bay as my training ground making it in effect my gym. Hopefully by practicing here I'll be able to get out a do some of the sea journeys that have inspired me. One area I definitely need to improve is my fitness.

There is a plethora of information about paddle fitness out there on the web, ranging from gym based specific moves to theory's that you don't have to do anything more than just go paddling, now that sounds my kind of exercise. After thinking about it, I realised that I wouldn't like to run out of oomph when I hadn't quite made it back to shore because I've paddled further than I'm used too, or struggle to carry my boat down the beach or lift it onto the roof rack.

So I decided that I needed more of a general purpose programme to get me going, something I could adapt as I got stronger and didn't need membership of expensive gyms or the need for equipment. This is what I came up with.

I aim to run for thirty minutes. If like me you couldn't run for thirty seconds start a run walk programme that will build you up slowly enabling you to run for that 30mins, you'll be amazed at the progress you will make.


For this, my choice was simple circuit training. For an all over workout without equipment you can't go far wrong, if it's too easy, add some more exercises of your choice. Or do the circuit 2 or 3 times through.

  • 20 Squats - This helps with raising your pulse.
  • 20 Push ups -If you can't do twenty, then do what you can, rest and do some more until you do twenty.
  • 20 Burpees - These are a great all over workout
  • 20 Bicycle crunches -  One crunch would equate to both left and right sides
  • 20 Leg Raises - don't rush, do them slowly under control for added benefit.
I use a swimming pool for this one. I'm not sure how this would work for wild swimming but I guess if your into that then you'll already have your own routine.
Think of how many lengths you can swim in one go, lets say it's 4 for the ease of explanation.
Swim 1 length and rest for a few seconds at the end of the pool,
Swim 2 lengths together and then rest, just enough to get your breath back
Swim 3 together and rest again
Swim 4 rest, then 3 rest, 2 rest and then 1.
I find doing this reduces the tedium of just doing lengths, vary your stroke as well for added benefit.  

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