It is no hidden secret that core strength is a fundamental skill required for good kayaking. The core area is the main driver of power and movement for most water sports and in particular kayaking, even more so when we take our kayaking to the moving water.
For those in the Kayaking and Multisport scene, the Waimakrikiki River will be no stranger to you. It is a beautiful stretch of water, the most utilised section is a solid 70km long. Such a distance combined with the varied nature of the river - shallow braided sections, wave trains and features such as bluff walls and rocks, means it is a real challenge to our paddling skills.
Today I would like to share a little more information on the role that core strength, stability and balance plays on this river along with my favorite Pilates exercises that are sure to get you ready to feel strong and steady on this river.
When kayaking we use a huge amount of effort and contraction from our core muscles - therefore a strong core is a no brainer. Another key component of the kayaking technique is spinal rotation - the strength of a specific set of core muscles, called the Obliques, is a key player for having strong rotation. We also must have good mobility through our spine, in particular our Thoracic spine or our Mid-back, in order to allow us to move and rotate to the level we need.
Finally another key player is our balance and stability. We must use all the small muscle groups within our Core and Back region in order to help continually stabilise and control the boat beneath us as we move along and through moving water, features and different currents.
Is is indeed a complex sport, the good news is, Pilates based core exercises naturally cover most of these demands and most exercises combine a few of the key requirements described above. What this means is that by doing one exercise you can improve not only your core strength but also your mobility and stability. We all love getting good bang for our buck!!
My Top 3 Exercises for River Kayaking are:
1. SPINE TWIST with progressions // Targets rotational strength ▪︎ eccentric Oblique ▪︎ spinal rotation mobility
2. SIDE BRIDGE WITH TWIST easy & hard option // Targets glute & core strength ▪︎ shoulder stability ▪︎ rotational strength
3. HIGH PLANK MOVEMENT // targets abdominal strength ▪︎shoulder stability ▪︎ movement control
Strong Core = Happy Kayaking
If you have any questions or specific trouble with aspects mentioned above, please get in touch!