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Anyone like to kayak for a good upper body workout?(6 posts)

Anyone like to kayak for a good upper body workout?Ken of Fresno
Mar 31, 2003 3:22 PM
I think I finally found a sport I can get into that works my upper body as well as cycling does my lower body. Last week I went to Turlock Lake (just south of Sacramento) with a buddy of mine and paddled around for about 4 hours. It was a blast! I only capsized once, and quickly learned how to do a wet reentry with a paddle float. My arms and shoulders were sore but not nearly as much as I expected for the kind of paddling we did. There's something almost mystical about cruising along a glassy smooth body of water by your own power. It's almost like hammering down a straight section of empty road with the wind at your back. Almost.

The pic below is my friend in his fancy new sea kayak. Although he is also relatively new to the sport, he is much more adept at it than I am. Anyone else out there into kayaking? I'd be open to any advice you'd have for a newfound novice paddler. I suppose I'm asking in the wrong place, but I just though I'd share.

A few more pics here:

Yup (warning......slightly off-topic)TWD
Mar 31, 2003 5:19 PM
Kayaking is a blast, for lots of the same reasons I love cycling.

It can be a great workout, and can be as challenging as you want to make it. Just like cycling, you can always work to improve your fitness and technique. The only downside I see for using it as cross training for cycling is that you're upper body will tend to bulk up, and those extra pounds of muscle don't do much to improve your riding.

As for kayaking advice, it looks like your off to a good start (paddling with a friend and practicing resuce skills).

I sea kayak and do a bit of whitewater paddling as well. Since it looks like you are into the sea kayaking side, the best advice I can think of is to learn to eskimo roll. It has been my experience that a majority of sea kayakers don't have a reliable roll, and that a majority of whitewater paddlers do (bashing your head on rocks upside down in a river is good motivation to learn to roll I guess).

Next to common sense keeping you from paddling in conditions above your head, a bombproof roll is your best safety skill. It's almost always safer to stay in your boat with paddle in hand, than to be bobbing around like a dead fish.

Sea kayakers tend to spend huge amounts of time practicing T rescues and paddle float rescues (don't get me wrong, these skills are a valuable backup if your roll does fail you)but only a few ever learn to roll. My theory is that if you can't keep your boat upright and stay in it in rough conditions, chances are you won't be able to execute one of those rescues in those same conditions when you're in panic mode.

Also, a lot of sea kayakers have a mentality that an eskimo roll is some un-attainable skill and therefore psych themselves out. Whitewater paddleres tend to look at it as a necessary skill. And no, sea kayaks really aren't much if any harder to roll than a whitewater boat provided you outfit your sea kayak for a snug fit.

I'd suggest finding a kayak club that does a roll session in a swimming pool and go practice. Find a good experienced paddler that's willing to help you out or take a roll class. Then practice practice practice.

Good luck and safe riding/paddling
re: Anyone like to kayak for a good upper body workout?ukiahb
Mar 31, 2003 5:22 PM
yep, me too, have a two person Hysides inflatible, it is nearly indestructible, lotsa fun and you don't even have to know what the hell you are Eskimo rolls required...plan to get it out on the river for the first time this year soon as it is getting hot enough(I'm in CA too). Tried an IK on a 3 day raft/kayak trip on the Eel a couple of years ago and was instantly hooked.
re: Thanks...teoteoteo
Mar 31, 2003 7:13 PM
Nice post. I am in Austin which gets mighty warm June-September. I have been considering a kayak as we have several great bodies of water to enjoy.

Any sport is hot during these months but I figure at least the water should be nice....
re: Anyone like to kayak for a good upper body workout?Jack9
Mar 31, 2003 10:30 PM
I have a 12 ' sea kayak I paddle in the S.F. Bay and the Sacramento Delta. I got it about five years ago for the same reason, upper body work out. But it won't ever take the place of biking.
But . . .RJF
Apr 1, 2003 8:35 AM
If you're getting a huge upper-body workout from flat-water/sea kayaking, you may be doing it wrong. Proper technique means not paddlng with your arms. Instead, keep your arms stationary for the most part and rotate your trunk. Good for the back and stomach, but if your biceps are burning, your technique needs some work!