What are you doing to stay in paddling shape this Winter?
When was the last time you were on the water? For me now it's unfortunately...I hate to admit it...2 1/2 months. It's been a crazy Fall that has made it difficult to get on the water. The difference though, is that I am still "water ready". I have been cross training, lifting weights, running, and doing paddle specific exercises that, although not as perfect as paddling, simulates paddling and makes that transition back to the water easier. Matter of fact, this is the way it's been for me the last several years, especially trying to maintain my race fitness, and even after not having been in a boat for several months, I am ready to hit the water paddling in the Spring. So what specifically am I doing to stay in shape all Winter long? Here is a sample of what I do.
1) Strength training: 2-3 times per week
2) Cardio: 3-4 times per week. This may be running 2x/wk with biking on the trainer 1-2x/wk. I have also been doing repeated sets of stairs. I have my own "bleachers" to run. I have 42 stairs on a hillside that I do for a workout itself, sometimes wearing a backpack, sometimes running the stairs, sometimes doing 2-3 steps at a time. This helps carrying a boat up a steep takeout. I also love to get out in the snow and will go do a trail run or long hike in the snow
3) Paddle specific workouts: 2-3 times per week. The most important aspect of paddling is rotation through the torso, so I try to simulate this several ways. The easiest way is to do theraband rotations. Basically you place a theraband in a door and rotate away for however long you choose. you can actually do both cardio and strength together. A lighter band will allow you to do a cardio based workout of 20 minutes or more while a heavier band will allow you to do more of the traditional strength workout. We need both strength and endurance with rotation. We need the endurance for those long days on the water, while we also need the strength, for example, to punch out of a hole or to "paddle like hell" to avoid a strainer.
I also try to get in the pool once a week and do rotations against water, using my hands as paddles rotating left and right and engaging the rotators of the spine.
4) Miscellaneous: As mentioned in my previous article, I try to get some exercise done while doing other things. I wore a backpack the other day while vacuuming the house. Throughout the day at home on Saturday, each time I stood up I did so on one leg. I also do a lot of snowboard specific drills this time of year like plyometrics and squat holds where you get in a squatted position and stay there for as long as you can.
So what have you been doing? What's your plan for the Winter? Remember, it's a lot easier to maintain fitness than it is to get it back. So go ahead and post a comment and let me know what you've been doing.