April, Erik, and Jason are continuing in their 2015 season preparations. Step three includes some hard work and starting to get into the rhythm of circuits created specifically for SUP athletes by TOPs Athletics.
You’ve already read about our pre-season preparations like FMS, RMR, VO2max, and DEXA.
During this time we were also starting our strength training in the gym. A paddle or jog here or there wasn’t uncommon, but it was a season to be off the water and REST and RECOVER from 2014. Giving our paddling specific muscles time to heal and regain strength, we hit the gym hard.
The Circuit Training
A simple internet search will give you gobs of information about circuit training and how it is one of the best ways to enhance both cardiovascular fitness and muscular endurance. Circuit training really targets building strength. As paddlers, we reach a point on the water where, even if we paddle at a higher cadence, we won’t go any faster. At this point we have to start increasing our power per stroke, which is correlated to speed gains by increasing our distance per stroke! So exciting! So, what are “circuits” and how do they target building the strength we need to increase our speed?
Erik: “Circuits are… kettle bells, pushups, pullups, pullups, pullups, rows, olympic weights, v-sits, planks, deadlifts, squats, so many different squats, pullups, tears and more pullups. Hell on earth, I wouldn’t change for the world.“
Jason: “Circuits are…a dance with the devil in the pale moonlight. Working out as a team definitely doesn’t let you slack off.”
April: “Circuits are…super fun, but super challenging. A time to tell bad jokes and yell profanities when your trainer pushes you to failure with an evil grin.”
Here’s what circuits really are…
Our Stand Up Paddle specific circuit workouts consist of multiple exercises, so many exercises, with LITTLE REST in between stations. Short rest periods ensure that we keep a higher heart rate throughout the entire circuit. At each station we complete a resistance based exercise, either body weight or weighted, to increase our strength.
Oh, and by the way, circuit training can be especially beneficial to those that are prone to injuries. If you’re getting regular shoulder pain, or pains associated with paddling, then a proper circuit training routine can strengthen the muscles and imbalances in your body that are likely causing the injuries in the first place! A good trainer will perform your Functional Movement Screening (FMS, in Part I) and incorporate exercises to correct imbalances found in the FMS. But I digress.
The exercises we do at each station not only make us stronger, but they challenge our balance and flexibility. Incorporating balance into all of our circuits is extremely important for us paddlers, since most of what we do is balance out on the water. Improving our balance gives us the opportunity to focus more on stroke technique when we’re paddling. It should also be noted that flexibility is VERY important. Many people don’t realize that you must stretch a muscle for it to grow. Muscles are constrained within fascia. No matter how hard you train, unless you stretch your fascia, the muscle has little room to grow!
So what does one of our circuits look like? Well, we’re happy to share a short example with you, BUT it changes a little every day. This is what it looks like in our first micro-cycle. Later we’ll start adding in some heavier weights and lifting. Joy. But for the first cycle, we do something like what you see below. Each day consists of a warmup, the ‘dynamic’ to really get your blood flowing, the circuit (sometimes two sub-circuits), and finally the cool down.
**A sample workout from TOPS Stand Up Paddleboard Specific Training**
** You shouldn’t attempt any workout plan without consulting your doctor first. Some of the following exercises include balance components that should be approached with caution.
Skip for distance
Skip for height
Single leg squats, on bosu, with thera-band = A, T, W’s
Single leg Romanian Dead Lift
Bosu Squat to overhead press
Hamstring Med Ball Bridge
Standing Cable High Chop
Foam roller Tuck/Pike/Push-up
V-sit mason slams
Side Plank Hip abduction
Wide grip pull-ups
Lots of foam rolling
Stretching, especially the hip flexors