Coach's Corner

Steering Muscles
(Good conditioning for all paddlers)

Try "wall squats"......... lean against a wall like you're sitting in a chair, only no chair, and time yourself. If you haven't done them, the first minute is excruciating. I know of people who can do them for 45 minutes or more (not me!). Watch TV while you're doing them. Oprah maybe?

Prepping for long distance, I do lots of central exercise, high reps, low weight (no more than 15#) from every possible angle at waist height. Shrugs, side-to-side, front to back from both sides. The "central exercise" focuses on the waistline, an added benefit!

Try with a long stick across your shoulders with arms stretched out, then do twists. Look in a mirror while doing these. Focus on keeping your position like in the canoe. Hips locked in place, bent knees, head forward. When looking in the mirror doing this exercise, look yourself in the eyes instead of watching your paddle or anything else. This makes you focus the same way in the canoe, on the back of the paddler's head in front of you. Stre-e-e-etch as far as possible on each side. This loosens up all the muscles from the buns up.

Also leg raises from a pull-up bar. Get yourself one of those wheel thingies that you grip on each side and do "roll-outs" (we're talking reducing the size of your "winter coat" warming the innards here). Also with the same barbell, arm raises from many angles NO HIGHER THAN THE SHOULDER however.

Lots of stretching helps too.

Also do long walks, bicycle riding & swimming. Check with an exercise professional on the correct methods. Get a good massage therapist to help.

Terry Wallace.
Reprinted with permission
31 July 2001.