What Muscle Groups Does Kayaking Hit?

June 15, 2022 4 min read

If you're new to kayaking, you might be wondering: "What muscles does kayaking work out?" Here are four muscle groups that are often targeted during a single paddle stroke. In addition to cardiovascular exercise, kayaking is an excellent way to build your core muscles and strengthen your upper back. In addition, kayaking uses many of the same muscle groups as other outdoor exercises, so your workout will be varied and focused on all areas of the body.

Various Muscle Groups Used in Kayaking

The muscles in the back are the first to be worked out while kayaking. There are 5 different muscle groups in the back, including the latissimus dorsi (Lat). The Lat provides torque power from the lower body to the upper body, which is used to propel the kayak and maintain balance. The Lats are a crucial part of your kayaking form, as improper posture can lead to back injuries.

The rotator cuff consists of four muscles, located on the back of the shoulder blades and connected to the arm. Injuries to these muscles can affect the power of the shoulder, causing an athlete to lose some of their arm strength. Since the rotator cuff is a pair of muscles, it can be hard to find a good kayaker's perfect fit. Luckily, there are several ways to strengthen these muscles for optimal performance.

Cardiovascular Exercise

If you are looking for an affordable and exciting way to hit cardiovascular exercise, kayaking is the perfect activity. This sport works the arms, legs, core, and lower body, all while providing a total body workout. Plus, it's fun! Kayaking is an excellent choice for those recovering from lower body injuries or looking to tone up. It can help you burn up to 500 calories in an hour, which is an incredible amount for a moderately-intensity workout.

Despite being primarily an arm-focused sport, KAYAKING hits cardio. During a typical session, you will spend 30 minutes paddling, but long kayaking outings can take many hours and multiple days. By engaging in aerobic activities prior to kayaking, you'll be able to recover quicker. Here are five ways to stay in shape while kayaking. One way is to increase your heart rate.

Strengthening Core Muscles

If you want to strengthen your core muscles, you should make kayaking a regular part of your fitness routine. Fortunately, kayaking provides a great core workout in an environment you will enjoy. Not only does kayaking help you enjoy the outdoors, but it also works the arms, shoulders, and back. While your arms are involved, kayaking requires strength from your core muscles to get the most benefit. Here are some exercises to strengthen your core muscles.

Kayaking works your back, especially your biceps and triceps. As you row back and forth, you work your deltoids, rhomboids, and upper and lower trapezius muscles. Additionally, kayaking exercises your forearms, arms, and shoulders by repeatedly contracting them. By adding in kayaking as a core exercise, you'll build a stronger back and shoulders that will last for years to come.

Working Upper Back

While kayaking requires a high level of physical conditioning, the repetitive motions also involve working upper back muscle groups. To reduce the risk of sore muscles after kayaking, you can try resistance band exercises. Resistance bands are also a good choice for kayaking because they will increase the intensity of the workout while keeping the muscles in the upper back healthy. Here are some benefits of resistance bands and yoga. Listed below are some of the most common upper body workouts that include resistance bands:

Shoulder and back muscles are often targeted during back workouts, but kayaking hits the shoulders more directly. Paddle motions force the paddle to come up in front of the body and transfer the load from the large lat muscle to the shoulders. The circular motion will also work the lateral and anterior delts. Varying the tempo and grip will vary the intensity of the work. For best results, try kayaking with a supportive backrest.

Working Totator Cuff

The rotator cuff is an important muscle group, providing forces that generate shoulder movement. They also intimately participate in stabilizing the humeral head within the glenoid during a kayak stroke. The effectiveness of the rotator cuff is largely dependent on its size, contraction type, and speed. These factors, in turn, influence the angle of pull, which is essential for shoulder mobility and stability.

Rotator cuff injuries in marathon kayakers are disproportionately common to those suffered by sprint kayakers. Unlike traumatic injuries, rotator cuff pathology is often caused by secondary impingement factors. In kayakers, these impingement factors are often related to the individual's biomechanics, such as portaging and previous injuries. Fortunately, the best way to prevent a shoulder injury from happening during your kayak stroke is to protect your rotator cuff while in the water.

Working Upper Traps

You can work your upper traps when kayaking in a variety of ways, from a single exercise to a set of exercises that combine both techniques. The upper traps work in your middle and lower back and help you maintain good posture during paddling. The rhomboids, located in the middle of your back, pull your shoulder blades in toward your spine at the end of a kayak stroke. The middle trap is less active, but still makes a significant contribution to your kayaking movement.

Besides the deltoids, working your biceps and triceps is also important for kayaking. Rowing requires you to use your biceps and triceps, and using one arm while the other is rowing is a good workout for these muscles. Working out these muscles is particularly beneficial when kayaking, because they can become very tired during kayaking. You may also consider using a light dumbbell to help with shoulder strengthening.


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