Gym exercises and muscle building workouts for kayakers


Kayaking is an incredibly popular sport and activity, but it’s not just a leisurely hobby.

To be successful in the water, athletes must have strong physical conditioning, as well as an understanding of proper technique. But how exactly do you go about building strength and conditioning to become a better kayaker?

One of the best ways to improve your performance on the water is by engaging in specific gym exercises and muscle-building workouts that are tailored specifically for kayakers.

In this article, I will explore the most effective gym exercises and muscle-building workouts for kayakers, so you can take your performance to the next level.

The benefits of muscle building workouts for kayakers

When it comes to kayaking, having strong muscles is key to being able to paddle through the water with ease. Building up your muscles will not only make kayaking easier, but it will also help to prevent injuries.

Here are some of the benefits of muscle building workouts for kayakers:

• Increased strength – When you have strong muscles, you’ll be able to paddle through the water with ease and for longer periods of time. This is especially important if you’re planning on going on longer kayaking trips, especially longer, marathon distances or races

• Improved endurance – With stronger muscles, you won’t get as tired when paddling and you’ll be able to go for longer periods of time before taking a break.

• Reduced risk of injuries – Stronger muscles can help to protect your joints and ligaments from injuries, such as strains and sprains. This is especially important if you fall out of your kayak while paddling.

So, if you’re looking to improve your kayaking performance and reduce your risk of injuries, then incorporating some muscle building workouts into your training regime is a good idea.

Best exercises for building muscle

In order to build muscle mass as a kayaker, you will need to do exercises that target all of the major muscle groups in your body. The best exercises for building muscle are compound exercises that work multiple muscles at the same time.

Examples of compound exercises include:



Overhead presses

Lat pulldowns

Cable rows

Single Arm Dumbbell Row


Leg Press

Kayak Ergometer

Muscle Building Exercises after 50

These exercises should be done with heavy weights in order to challenge your muscles and force them to grow.

In addition to compound exercises, you can also do isolation exercises that target specific muscles. Examples of isolation exercises include bicep curls, tricep extensions, and leg raises. These exercises can be done with lighter weights and higher reps in order to fatigue the muscle and promote growth.


A well-rounded strength and conditioning program is essential for any kayaker to stay safe out on the water. With the right combination of exercises, a kayaker can increase their power, endurance, stability and flexibility while also decreasing their risk of injury.

I hope that my tips have helped give you some ideas on how to create an effective workout routine specifically tailored to your own needs as a kayaker. With regular practice and dedication, you will be able to benefit from improved performance in no time.



  1. As for tender shoulders with wing blades, the surface area of the blades come into play. I have some big blades that I use for “sprinting downriver” 8 miles or less but would be killers on longer races. That’s when small or mid sized blades should be used. The people who complain about shoulder pain probably either have the wrong paddle or aren’t rotation and pushing with their legs enough.


  2. Dave, 

    Skate skiing is the absolute best cross-training there is!  I learned traditional stride at Bozeman, Montana in 79/80.  By 82(age 40) I was competing with the citizen racing group on pure skinny skis.  Picked up the skate method by 85/86 and quit klister waxing. 

    First kayak was a well used Phoenix Isere to use in the 1985 Billings Peaks to Prairie triathlon.  By 90 I was in a WSBS wild water boat at the Spokane River Race and saw my first long boat (WSBS 17 ft, I believe).  Ordered an Excel in early 93 for the first Finlandia – wouldn’t let Doug talk me into a Missile because I was worried about maneuvering it in some of the other river triathlons out here. Did get the Missile for Finlandia 94; and I think I first used it in 98 on the Blackfoot River Johnsrud Park to Weight station reach (Class 2-) above Missoula, Montana (you know, The River Runs Through It).

    Anyway, back to training.  About 1990 I realized that the seasonal transition was seamless.  The arm range of motion influences a good torso rotation; which I believe is the most important part of the kayak stroke whether racing or touring, wing blade or any other. I saw mention of wing blades causing ‘tender shoulders’ on somebody else’s blog.  Your thoughts on that?

    Montana MikeLewistown, MT  snowing

    Liked by 1 person

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