Fitness for Kayaking – Core Strength

Paddlers: Kenny Mutton and Seth Ashworth
Photo: Redwood Photos

We are currently experiencing a time of great uncertainty due to COVID-19. Our current landscape has been dramatically changed with alterations to how we work, play, exercise, socialise and live. Over the coming weeks’ WWNZ are putting together a number of articles covering things that we can do during this Lockdown Period to improve ourselves so that when we can return to the water we will return stronger.

Our first article will be focusing on improving Core Strength and Stability

Many people think that paddling is all having a strong upper body, think back to the conversations where people say oh you must have massive arms or shoulders to do that.  When in fact the most fundamental body part involved in kayaking is having a strong core. When you can unlock the power within your core muscles you will be able to generate more speed or drive in the boat, be able to paddle for longer, improve your balance and posture within the boat and this may even lead to advances in your technique.

What is the Core?

When people think of their core muscles they often think about that perfect 6-pack but your abs are so much more than that. They are made up of many muscles, including your rectus abdominis (what you think of when you think “abs”), transverse abdominis (the deepest internal core muscle that wraps around your sides and spine), erector spinae (a set of muscles in your lower back), and the internal and external obliques (the muscles on the sides of your abdomen).


Below we have outlined a circuit style workout that can be done using minimum resources all you need is some space.

Exercise 1 – Side Plank Right

Exercise 2 – Side Plank Left

Exercise 3 – Double Leg Bridge

Exercise 4 – Leg Raises

Exercise 5 – Russian Twists

Exercise 6 – Superman

Exercise 7 – Window Wipers

Exercise 8 – Dynamic Plank

How Many? How Long?

Depending on your level of base fitness you may want to start off slow aiming to complete around 6-10 repetitions of each exercise or between 20-30 seconds and aim for 1-3 rounds depending on how it feels.

Once you start to feel more comfortable with the circuit you can start increase the reps by 2-4 of each exercise or increase the length by 10-20 seconds or aim to complete more rounds.

You want to try and complete this circuit anywhere from 2-4 times per week to really try and strengthen that core for when it is time to get back in a boat!

Make sure to check in next week when we will be releasing an article looking at how to increase your balance and co-ordination on during this Lockdown.