Paddle Healthy: Rotational Strength Part II
Welcome back to Paddle Healthy! In our last article, we introduced you to the concept of rotational strength and gave you a refresher on core stability. This week, we're going to dive a little deeper into these concepts and how they impact not just your paddling, but also your movements in everyday life.
Your core has two main jobs: stabilizing your body when it's stationary, such as when you're standing or sitting, and stabilizing it when you're moving. Static hold exercises such as planks, side planks and the hollow hold develop core stability that helps in both scenarios, but adding in dynamic, rotational movements can not only help you retain correct posture while static but also help you move more efficiently and with less chance of injury, no matter which direction you're traveling in.
Incorporating rotational strength-building movements--such as those covered in the first video and the medicine ball exercises featured in this video--in your workouts develop the rectus abdonomis, erector spinae, obliques as well as other abdominal and lower back muscles that help prevent common back strains and pulls. They also help you increase strength in the deltoids and lats, helping prevent overuse injuries in the shoulder and upper back that are common among paddlers (this prevention also hinges on you using correct paddling mechanics).
Slow and Steady vs. Explosive
Whether you're using a weight plate, TRX, medicine ball or just your body, rotational exercises can be performed slowly or explosively. Which is best? Well, neither is correct or incorrect, as going fast builds the speed and power that you need to excel in sprint races and to push yourself in interval training sessions, while going more slowly (sometimes with a heavier load) can help build strength and endurance for distance races and downwinders.
We suggest you try doing rotational movements slowly at first and, if using a medicine ball, kettlebell or weight plate, using a lower weight until you've got your form nailed down. Then, once you're comfortable with completing all your reps at this steady pace, start adding weight, speed, or both. Do the exercises once a week slow and steady, and a few days later, quickly and explosively. You'll be amazed at the results.
1. One Arm Put: perform 20 reps on each side
2. Rotational Throw: perform 20 reps on each side
3. Over the Head Toss: perform 20 tosses
As with the exercises from Part 1, be sure to complete the same number of reps on each side for the rotational throw and one arm put.