Abs for Days: Core Workout For Paddlers

Are you looking for ways to improve your paddling? A good place to start is by strengthening your core or abdominal muscles. In a proper stroke, your abs should be engaged – they are one of your largest muscle groups so take advantage of them! Paddling uses a combination of abdominal muscles; obliques (internal and external), transverse abdominus (wraps your torso like a wide belt), and rectus abdominus. Many of the paddlers on my team have asked the question, “How do I get my core stronger?” Here are 8 exercises designed to help you develop more core strength.

Jackknife Sit-up

Paddle Chica Core Workout 1

Lie on the floor on your back, placing your arms straight behind your head. Bend at the waist while raising your legs and arms to meet in a jackknife position. Keep your elbows and knees locked. Return to the starting position. Repeat.

Toe Touchers

Paddle Chica Core Workout 2

Lie back on the floor and elevate your legs to a vertical position, keeping them as straight as possible. Keeping your lower back pressed flat to the ground, exhale and crunch forward to touch your toes. Keep your chin off your chest during the motion. Return to the starting position, repeat.

Alternating Heel Touchers

Paddle Chica Core Workout 3

Lie on your back with your knees bent as shown. Curl up and to one side, to reach your heel, as shown. Return to the starting position with your shoulders flat on the mat. Perform the same motion on the other side. Repeat.
Modified Russian Twist

Paddle Chica Core Workout 4

This may be difficult to do without something to brace your feet or a partner, depending on your center of gravity (worst for the guys), but if those aren’t options, give it a shot anyway. Lean back to roughly a 45 degree angle. Twist and reach with one hand up and in a 45 degree angle across to the opposite side, keeping the other hand at your chest. Return to the neutral position, and quickly perform the same motion to the other side. Repeat.

Hip Raises

Paddle Chica Core Workout 5

Start lying flat with your legs outstretched a foot or so off the ground. Curl your legs back to about a vertical position, using only your lower abdominals, bringing your hips off of the ground as shown. Return slowly to the starting position, again using only your abdominals to control the motion. Intensity will be increased by keeping legs straighter, and ankle weights can be used to increase it further if needed. Repeat.

Scissor Kick

Paddle Chica Core Workout 6
Lie flat on your back with your arms by your side and your palms facing down. Lift your legs 6-12 inches off the floor. Keeping your legs straight, cross your left foot over your right, then your right foot over your left, and repeat. Keep your lower back flat on the mat; if this is a problem, move your hands under your butt to help keep it straight. Crossed-leg Oblique Crunches

Crossed-leg Oblique Crunches

Paddle Chica Core Workout 7
Start with your right arm outstretched to the side, and your right leg crossed over your left leg, as shown. Curl your left shoulder (not your elbow) towards your right knee. The left arm is only going along with the motion; do not pull with it. Perform this exercise on one side for the entire duration, then switch and repeat for the other side.
Side Oblique Crunches

Paddle Chica Core Workout 8

Start lying flat on your right side with your right arm outstretched, and your legs bent. Keeping a linear motion from your shoulder to your hip, with your right armpit on the floor, curl sideways, focusing on tightening your side abs. Perform this exercise on one side for the entire duration, then switch and repeat with the other side.

Thank you to Marc Applewhite for this great information on core-strength training.

Disclaimer: The exercises contained in this section are for informational purposes only. Not all exercises are suitable for everyone. To reduce risk of injury in your case, consult your doctor before attempting any of these exercises. Those involved in the creation of this section do not assume liability or loss in connection with the exercises and instructions therein.

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6 Discussion to this post

  1. Nini says:

    Great Kristin, Thanks

  2. PirihiraTaiatini says:

    Thanks so much this will help me a lot in the boat I love it, a bit hard at first but really good for the core

  3. Dana says:

    Looks good.

  4. Sun says:

    Great workout, just wondering how many reps & sets of each exercise should you do. Thank you

    • Paddlechica says:

      Thanks for reading, Sun. Do each for 1 minute total. If you aren’t able to do each for one minute, start with 30 seconds and work your way up. You can do it!

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