"My goal this year is to increase the frequency of my paddle strokes while maintaining and building on technique. This means I need to develop explosive power while maintaining cardiovascular endurance. In other words, I need to paddle really hard and fast even though I’m really, really out of breath and feel like dying".
Whenever I have time to spare, you’ll find me studying for another certification or goal. Right now I’m setting my sights on becoming a Sport Conditioning Specialist. I’m about 75% done with the certification, and I find it SO interesting.
I find it fitting to study this specialty at the same time that I am hammering down in my own personal training. We are two months away from the peak of the whitewater paddleboarding competitions: The GoPro Mountain Games.
About a month ago was when I decided to design my own training regimen. So far I’ve done 10 official “three month program” workouts, but that’s what I could squeeze in between the balance of working 50 hours per week, traveling, and social life.
If you’re interested at all in how I determine the design of my workouts, I've broken it down into three concepts:
My goal this year is to increase the frequency of my paddle strokes while maintaining and building on technique. This means I need to develop explosive power while maintaining cardiovascular endurance. In other words, I need to paddle really hard and fast even though I’m really, really out of breath and feel like dying. So oftentimes I start my gym workouts by biking 10 miles, sprinting one mile, or rowing 5,000 meters then I go into a circuit where I focus on explosive power.
Another concept that I’m sure gets overlooked when people train for whitewater is the ability to get back on your board quickly. Whitewater is challenging, and when you fall in after you just paddled your little heart out for the last 7 miles, you need to be able to summon that full body power to get back on your board before you get worked again! See my example from Chile…
So how do I combat this? Well, ideally I would practice jumping on and off my board in water, but since it’s Antarctica outside, I do a ton of burpees and other drills that involve powerful movements from the floor to jumping in the air. I do burpees after I hold a squat for one minute or ladder sprints. When I feel my legs burning like crazy, I pop out some burpees. And because getting back on your board isn’t as simple as a burpee facing forward the entire time, I do burpees going from the surfer stance to a forward push up, back to the opposite surfer stance.
And lastly, I’ll tie it up with a short take-home point that I am getting from my certification. Athletic training differs from regular weight lifting conditioning because athletes need to be able to tie their movements into each other. For example, when I’m paddleboarding, I’m essentially doing a lat-pulldown in a squat position, to a deadlift, to a tricep something or other. My core is engaged the entire time, and I’m actually twisting my core, engaging my obliques with every movement. That’s like four or five basic gym exercises in one. If I go to the gym and squat some free weights on the squat rack, that’s not going to help me as much as if I were doing very dynamic movements that would require me to engage and time each muscle movement, like wood choppers, for example. The efficiency of athletic movements can furthermore be broken down and analyzed by looking at the timing of each movement and determining if they are in sync with each other. Body angles regarding agility training and movement can also be compared from a basic physics understanding to see if body positions throughout the movement are providing the best results.
I started this blog thinking that I would be taking videos of myself exercising and giving some workouts to people who may be interested, but now I realize that there are too many magazine cookie-cutter workouts out there. Those workouts won't be effective because each person moves differently and may have some muscle or movement imbalances that need to be addressed in order for the workouts to be the most effective. Instead, I hope to help people learn either through personal training or at the very least by providing informative blog posts. ;D