Published on April 6th, 2013 | by Supworldmagazine
How to Effectively Use Stand Up Paddling to Improve Your Fitness Level
You already know that stand up paddling is a great way to cross train. It is known for its ability to get you into great shape, burn calories and give you a core strengthening workout. But, do you know how to effectively use stand up paddling to reap these results you’ve heard about? Or, are you stuck at that undesirable plateau that is keeping you from moving onto the next level in your fitness goals? The following are a few tips on how to get more out of the fitness aspect of sup.
Let’s go over my top recommendations to kick your SUP fitness into high gear and make sure you get your body to respond favorably.
Do your research. Try out as much different equipment as possible and invest in the best quality SUP gear and equipment you can. This will make a considerable difference in the quality of your paddling sessions and affects both your performance and ability to reduce and avoid overuse injuries. Make sure to speak with your local paddleboard dealer for advice on what board specs, paddle length and weight are right for you.
Learn Correct Paddling Technique:
It is imperative to learn the proper posture and paddling technique, not only to recruit the proper muscles at the right time in order to get a great core workout, but to also get the most powerful and efficient stroke while reducing exposure to injury. Just like a fitness trainer studies proper body mechanics (defined as ‘the study of proper body movement to prevent and correct posture problems, reduce stress and enhance physical capabilities’) in order to safely and effectively train their clients at the gym, learning an effective forward stroke with proper technique will ensure you are paddling safely while building a stronger physique.
To increase fat burn and build up more strength and endurance during your paddle workouts I recommend incorporating interval training. This means you paddle at a high intensity for a set amount of time followed by a short recovery period. For example, after your warm up, paddle for one minute at 80% of your maximum effort. After one minute paddle at 50% of your maximum effort for 30 seconds. Repeat for 10 minutes.
Embrace Mother Nature:
Try using the challenges Mother Nature throws your way to step up the intensity of your paddle workouts. Paddling against the wind, against the current, in rough water, etc, really makes you work hard, gets your heart rate up and your muscles firing! Of course, don’t go out in dangerous conditions that are above your skill level. Make sure you have the proper gear such as a leash and PFD in case you fall in and go with a training partner or friend to keep an eye on each other.
Stand up paddle racing is, in my opinion, one of the most effective ways to get in shape and enjoy the fitness benefits from the sport. As many stand up paddle racers say, “You never paddle as hard as when you are racing.” Not only is it a great workout, but it is also a positive learning experience that increases your knowledge of technical skills such as efficient buoy turning, water reading, quick acceleration and good race strategy. It’s rewarding to see how you fare against your peers to then set goals for improvement at the next event. Meeting and socializing with others that share your passion for SUP can really motivate you to train harder to get into better shape. Enter a local race and see for yourself. If there are no races in your area then find a couple of friends and set up your own racecourse and engage in some friendly competition.
To lessen your chances of overuse injury, keep your body from hitting a pleateau, and keep your brain sharp, I recommend learning and engaging in a variety of sports and activities to avoid getting into any kind of workout ‘‘routine.’’ This means regularly participating and trying different kinds of workouts or sports such as running, swimming, yoga, pilates, cycling, etc. Adding variety also includes trying different disciplines within the sport of SUP such as ocean surfing, downwind paddling, or racing. Not only will this keep your workouts fresh and exciting, but it will also keep your neurological system stronger longer. Keep it fresh, add variety and your body will respond favorably.
There are many tools on the market today to help increase your paddling skills and give you some great exercise and paddling tips. There is easy access to high quality instructional videos and DVDs. You can also choose to take an advanced lesson at a SUP school, attend SUP on water fitness classes, hire a coach to fine tune your stroke, or sign up for a SUP clinic with an industry professional. By taking every opportunity to learn you will make yourself a better paddler, get in shape faster and get the most out of the sport of SUP.
Nikki Gregg (article published is sup world mag 2011)
To learn more about Nikki Gregg and her SUP Fitness Boot Camps, visit her website at www.NikkiGregg.com