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A Paddler's Workout That Rocks

By Ann Beman - February 24th, 2004

This workout is for paddlers who want to weight-train even when no gym's in sight. It's perfect for kayakers on the national or international circuit or for those whose lifestyle has them living in a van down by the river.

Materials you'll need:

  • two palm-sized rocks
  • something resembling a broomstick, but heavier - try a lead pipe
  • two chairs or two even surfaces
Do each of the following slowly, focusing on resistance:

Palm the rocks. Hold rocks in your palms straight out in front of you. With slightly bent elbows, lift straight up to chin level: palm up, palm out, palm down. Do 10 times, each arm or both arms simultaneously.

Draw Ws. Hold rocks straight out in front of you, palms facing up, elbows bent, hands near chin level. Draw Ws in the air from directly in front of you to the side, making sure to go no further than 90 degrees past your starting point directly in front of you. In other words, protect your shoulders. Do 10 times, each arm or both arms simultaneously.

Wings. With elbows slightly bent, lift palmed rocks straight out to the side palm down as if flapping your wings -- but slowly. Do 10 times, each arm or both arms simultaneously.

Dips. Place two chairs or even surfaces on either side of you in order to do dips off them. To pace yourself, do one less than fatigues you in three sets. Example: 10, 10, 8.

Curls. Palm up, curl the rocks. Elbows are bent, touching your hips. Hands are in front of you. Do seven curling from knee to waist level, seven from waist to shoulder level, then seven with the full range - knee to shoulder. Do three sets of 21.
Now and then, switch rocks from one hand to the other to account for a weight difference in the rocks.

Overhead behind-the-back curls . Hold rocks together up over your head and behind the back with elbows bent, as if scratching your back. Do three sets of seven curls this way.

Push-ups. Long calls this a "reverse benchpress." Do them in slow motion, and pace yourself. Do one less than fatigues you in three sets. Example: 10, 10, 8.

Pull-ups in doorjam. Do pull-ups from a doorjam, or the door itself. However, the door pull-up is not a straight dead-weight hang because the door absorbs friction. So you might need to do a few more. In any case, do one less than fatigues you in three sets.

Upright rows. This is where the lead pipe comes in. Elbows bent, knuckles down, grip the pipe in front of you. Space grip a little narrower than shoulder-width. Upright row from knee to hip, then flip grip so knuckles face up, to upright row from chin to overhead.

Sit-ups. Finally, do three sets of these exercises to feed your abs.


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