When starting in kayaking, you may think that you need or want to do something else- more easily accessible- to help you improve in your discipline or in the sport in general. A great way to do this is through the use of a rowing machine. Even if you don’t own one, these machines are extremely accessible and are very common being in most gyms. These sorts of machines are easily used and take very little to get used to making them perfect for a quick and easy alternative to on water paddling whilst still training all the necessary muscles needed to paddle.
Before starting your rowing machine endeavours, I would definitely recommend watching a quick “how to” video to gain and recognize the right posture and correct outcome for its use, but otherwise it is very straight forwards to use. If you are still unsure, ask another gym member, an instructor, or a coach.
High Intensity Training (HIT) Workout To Improve Your Kayaking
The best and most efficient way of training on a rowing machine is HIT (High Intensity Training). This is the quickest and most commonly used method to substantially build endurance and speed in almost all sports. If you are thinking: “But I won’t need to sprint for what I am going to do. Why am I training my speed?” Then you are sorely mistaken.
HIT training is used not only by sprinting divisions, but by long distance and even marathon teams having recently been adopted into almost all Olympic short and long distance sports. In HIT training, you use short, intense bursts followed by a rest or low energy section and repeat. As you progress through this, your needed breaks will become shorter and shorter as your endurance and muscle memory builds. It is important to remember to enter each “sprint” with a one hundred percent pace as anything less will only build lactic acidosis and slow down your neural pathways and eventually inhibit your ability to progress.
As a beginner, a good starting point would be 5 reps of 10 on and 30 off where the “on” is 100% and the “off” is at approximately 15%. The reason why you don’t completely stop after each burst is to help the breakdown of lactic acid in the muscles while maintaining a state of constant motion. As you progress, add more reps, then a shorter “off” and finally a longer “on”. While it might seem counter intuitive to leave the increase in burst time until last, long periods of fast training when endurance and practice is not built up before hand will instead cap you at a lower top speed along with a shorter endurance frame.
In short, the HIT method of training is the most efficient and the most beneficial to the widest range of divisions and sub divisions in kayaking. This therefore means that it is the top way that I, as a qualified coach, and most other coaches will recommend regardless of your discipline.
A good motivator to help you reach your 100% output in these sprint periods is to train with a partner. This could be in person on another machine or even through a pre recorded video such as one on YouTube. You will likely have seen this tactic used in spin classes for biking, but it has proven to achieve results in almost all discipline. You could also set up a group leader board for top speed or longest endurance above a pre determined mph with other members in your group, gym, club or household. A dose of friendly competitor ion can motivate a person more than most may think.
Benefits Of Using A Rowing Machine
The rowing machine mainly works your core including muscles such as your abdominals and glutes but is also useful for training shoulders, hamstrings and quads as the seated position is a good representation of the kayaking posture. Since the positions are so similar, along with working your most used muscles, you become used to the seated position and hence can be seated for longer in a better posture whilst on the water.
In conclusion, I would highly recommend the rowing machine for kayakers of all levels but especially if you are just starting out kayaking. It promotes a healthy core and an easily accessible alternative of the water is too far away. Stay hydrated and have fun.