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Fitness on the Water

Types of workouts, progressions, etc…

Lower Intensity Aerobic Work

Building your aerobic base and not burning out or injuring your body with too much high intensity work.


  • Flatwater Routines - while considered one of the more efficient ways to train these can be hard work and challenge motivation. One of the best ways to battle motivation is to form groups of friends and like minded paddlers to do interval drills. Get a leader who uses a workout plan and who shuffles plans for variety (once again to combat boredom and “interval fatigue”.) If you do not have a lake to paddle on is there a local marina, inlet, etc. where the water is protected enough to paddle and work on speed and technique without too much disturbance from waves?
  • Downwinders, Tidal Rips - if you get tired of interval workouts on flatwater and have the on water opportunity to surf waves then by all means do it. These are the best kind of intervals possible (from a fitness perspective, not necessarily from a paddling technique one) - ones where you are having fun. Every sprint for a wave is an “interval”. Tidal rips (Deception Pass, Ambleside) tend to be the hardest fitness challenge because typically they work best when the wind is stacking up waves against a tidal current. Catching such waves is more challenging and more work because of the current you are paddling against. But you will probably see the greatest gains in your fitness from this kind of paddling. Tidal rip waves can also be pretty volatile so you may get some pretty good balance and boat control practice also if you find zones of the current that are within you ability to stay upright and catch some of the waves.


Resistance Training

Typically involves wrapping something like a bungie and/or small plastic balls around your boat to add drag. It does not take much to slow you boat down and make it significantly harder to achieve or maintain your usual speed.

Training Discussions with Surfski Athletes

fitness_water.txt · Last modified: 2023/08/17 19:17 by preavley