Staying in Shape During the Off-Season
For those who live in climates that do not provide good water conditions year-around, it can be difficult to stay in paddling-shape during the off-season. Even if you do live in a location where you can paddle year-round, perhaps you’re looking for ways to supplement your fun with workouts that will help you reach optimal fitness for your particular sport.
Therefore, we would like to outline a couple tips and tricks that we have learned over the years that can help you stay in paddling-shape no matter what time of year.
We have listened to the experiences of many paddle athletes, from surfers to kayakers, and have found that whole-body workouts involving your own body weight are beneficial to paddle sport-specific conditioning. This allows for a great balance between cardio and resistance training, and usually these workouts involve multi-joint exercises that require you to engage your core no matter what.
Before we go into too much detail, we first need to identify what the key disadvantages to these types of workout would be. First, it can difficult to motivate yourself to do these types of workouts on your own, and hiring a personal trainer can be expensive. Second, they often aren’t any fun. Lastly, it can be difficult to tell if you’re making much progress, especially if you are taking a break from the water for a prolonged period of time.
All this being said, we have found a solution that addresses most of these points and that many paddle sport athletes have found beneficial in more ways than one. Keep in mind, this isn’t for everyone, but is definitely worth considering. So what’s the solution? Boxing. If you’re surprised, that’s normal, we were too when we first heard of other athletes’ success stories, but here is why it makes sense.
First off, boxing is cheap. Most gyms will only require a minimal membership fee and usually provide equipment for use, but often recommend you get your own pair of boxing gloves at some point. If you don’t want to be at a gym or don’t want to continually pay membership fees, it can be quite easy to get the main equipment for your own home, like punching bags and simple punching bag stands or hangers.
Most importantly, boxing is a crazy workout. They make it look easy on TV, sometimes even boring, but it’s truly one of the most challenging workouts I have personally ever participated in. Don’t worry, most gyms don’t require you to fight, although you can usually work your way up to sparring if you wish. However, minus the actual combat, workouts for both recreational and competitive boxers follows a very similar structure, one that resembles circuit training and targets all muscle groups, while continuously taxing your cardiovascular system.
For those who are involved in paddle sports, you will know that core stability and shoulder strength/endurance are particularly key aspects of the sport-specific fitness. Although the exercises involved in a boxing workout vary, you will always be targeting your core and shoulders. The core is targeted through the stance, movement, and punching techniques, and they also focus on this during exercises that aren’t boxing-specific. Additionally, keeping your hands up by your face for a long time and constantly throwing punches is way more difficult than you would think, and you will see gains to your shoulder strength and endurance almost immediately.
Other areas that I personally noticed were very strongly worked were my calves, back, and chest. In fact, I was surprised at how sore my lats were after my first boxing workout, and I think it was just from the variety of movements and focusing on pulling my hands back to my face after throwing punches, but all in the proper technique.
Lastly, it’s a fun alternative to putting a mat on your floor and doing push-ups and sit-ups. It’s way easier to motivate yourself to do a really challenging workout when it’s fun, and when you can track changes in fitness and skill. Boxing offers all of this. Of course, it may not be for everyone, but if it’s something you think is worth considering, we recommend simply checking out local boxing clubs and getting their thoughts as well.