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Jan 28, 2013

Coaches' Corner: Endurance and Strength

Paddling isn't hard. You sit down, grab a piece of wood or carbon fiber, stick the fat part into the water and pull. The boat moves forward. You're paddling! Done.

But do you wanna go fast? That's where the hard part comes in. That's where all of the practice and training falls into place.

But wait, there's more!

A staple of our weekend practices every season has been Saturday land workouts and Sunday core exercises, and this year is no different. Except I'm the guy yelling at you guys now.

Let's talk about going fast. At the individual level, the secret is two fold: endurance and strength. We may not all have 40 inch circumference biceps like Rod, or be able to run a 4 minute per mile pace marathon like Jeremy S., but we all have plenty to contribute and plenty to improve upon to make a stronger team.

V-ups is a great core workout. Karate chop to the midsection
to make sure Mayana's engaging her core!
Saturday land workouts will focus on leg strength and cardiovascular health (strength and endurance). As many of you have already experienced, this means some light running and a lot of jumping, lunges and squatting. Sunday core workouts will focus on core strength and as we increase our core strength, a little bit of cardiovascular health as well (again, strength and endurance). This year, we are also working into exercises that focus on balance, which will help us with our rotation and the efficient use of muscles for each stroke.

But that's not all you get, folks!

We encourage everyone to attend practices, and do land and core exercises with the team. But whether you attend them or not, we also encourage you to start, continue, or maintain your regular off-water exercising, whether they are paddling-focused or not.

Need help figuring out what will increase your endurance or strength for paddling? Take a page out of Lesley's or Esmer's SDWW playbook.

For your off-water training, we suggest mixing it up - always keep it fresh and new. Doing this has a multitude of benefits, including injury prevention and avoiding performance plateaus.

Need a quick-start guide?

Endurance:  Pretty much any kind of aerobic exercise.
1. Run. All you need are running shoes.
     a. Start with shorter runs, and slowly increase distances by approximately 10%.
     b. Already in decent shape but in a time crunch? Run intervals. I like using street lamps as markers. Do a warm up (1 mile or so), then sprint from on street lamp number 1 to street lamp number 2. Light jog from street lamp number 2 to street lamp number 3, then sprint to street lamp number 4, then jog... then sprint... and so on, for three sprints. Take a rest, and then repeat. The idea here is intensity rather than distance.

2. Cycling. Will need a bike, but any (properly sized) bike will do. Always wear a helmet. Always. As with running, the training regimen can be a mix of distance and intensity.

Lesley about to go for a swim

3. Swimming. Open water or in a swimming pool. Have a gym membership? Check to see if you gym has a pool. If you are new to swimming, try starting your swim training by swimming in short sets, rather than trying to do a half hour (or more) of continuous lapping.

Strength:  Strength training is a very important part of any training regimen as (a) your muscles will prevent injuries during your endurance/cardiovascular training, and (b) those same muscles will keep your metabolism fast.
1. Just as in paddling, always focus on technique and form.
2. Paddling is a full-body workout, so nearly any strength training will be directly beneficial to paddling.
3. Pull-ups (will work the back and biceps). Push-ups (will work the shoulders, chest and triceps). Sit-ups, leg lifts (will work the abs and hips). These are all exercises anyone can do at home.

Always know the limits of your own body and no injuries!
Need more tips? Feel free to ask any of the coaches.