Now that the weather has warmed-up, hopefully it’ll be a little easier to motivate myself and get out on the river. One of the things that I’ve found most helpful is weekday paddling on the Willamette. By training regularly on flatwater, through strokes and endurance, I can dramatically improve my paddling ability on whitewater. Below is the training program that I use. Give it a shot and it will make a big difference in your weekend whitewater paddling. – Dave
Flatwater Training for Whitewater Kayaking by Dave Hoffman
20-30 strokes forward at slow pace
20-30 strokes forward at medium pace
20-30 strokes forward at fast pace
20-30 strokes backward at slow pace
20-30 strokes backward at medium pace
20-30 strokes backward at fast pace
Stretch for at least 5-10 minutes
15 forward sweeps, left and right
15 reverse sweeps, left and right
5 sweep combinations each direction
15 low braces, left and right
15 high braces , left and right
30-45 seconds low brace sculling, left and right
30-45 seconds high brace sculling, left and right
15 1/8 sweeps – Just the first 4-8 inches of the forward sweep, focusing on turing torso ahead of the stroke, no arms at all, left and right
Edge Control and Paddle Dexterity
Paddle forward in large circle on edge, left and right
Paddle forward in small circle on edge, left and right
Repeat using only inside paddle blade
5-8 duffeks on each side
C-stroke circles, starting large and gradually decreasing radius of the circle
Repeat with feathered c-strokes
Paddle backwards just using reverse sweeps – 30-45 seconds
Cross-bow draws, starting small and gradually increasing radius of the circle
Compound reverse strokes, at least 20 on each side
Feathered sweeps(keeping blade in the water), 15 forwards and backwards on each side
There are several options depending on what type of workout you are looking to receive.
Aerobic– the key is very little rest, keeping your heart rate at 120-130 bpm for as long as you can. A good intro is 60 minutes of total paddling with 15 minutes forward, 5 backwards, 10 forwards, stretch for 5 minutes and repeat
Some other options:
Pyramids – 1 minutes at 75% of top speed, rest for 10 seconds, 2 minutes at 75%, rest, repeat for 3, 4, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 minutes. Take this up to as high as you can.
Leap Frogs – You need 3 paddlers and not more than 5 for this one but it is the best to do in a group. Line everyone up bow to stern in a straight line. Begin paddling at an easy pace. The paddler in the rear will accelerate to the side of the group as fast as they can, sprinting towards head of the line. When they reach the front of the line, they take the lead and the now last paddler begins their sprint. All paddlers should sprint at least 2 times, 3 is ideal.
Intervals – One of my favorites. Paddle at 80% for 5 minutes with 10 seconds rest. 1st, 2nd, 4th, 6th, 7th forward, 3rd, 5th backwards. The backwards groups are brutal the first few times you do them but great for you. You can ease into it started at 3 minute cycles.
Anaerobic – The key here is tons of rest. You want to feel fully refreshed at the start of each cycle. Most paddlers don’t really need to work on aerobic strength unless you are preparing for a competition.
4-3-2-1 – This example is for a 7 minute race on difficult whitewater. Paddle at 70% for 4 minutes, 80% for 3 minutes, 90% for 2 minutes and 100% for 1 minute. Rest, warm down and stretch for 15 minutes. Repeat no more than twice. You want to feel as if you have plenty of “gas” for the race so that you will not make mistakes due to fatigue and can give your all on the flatwater sections.
Boatercross Training– Sprint for 1 minutes, all out. Rest for 3 minutes. Repeat. As workout continues, increase the length of rest. As always, food and water right before and during a workout and a solid meal within 45 minutes after. Your body needs fuel if you are going to work it hard and you cannot have it wanting for anything.