How do you mix it up?
So here we are, midway through this year’s race season. Whether you’re a recreational racer or a serious podium contender, chances are you know that all paddling and no “play” can make for a dull ache in your arms, shoulders or elsewhere. Variety is the spice of life and all that, right? No matter what the sport, experts have long extolled the virtues of cross training, or mixing up your workout routine to avoid injury and increase endurance, not to mention to avoid boredom and burn out.
But in the world of paddle sports, where many of us standup paddle, prone and surf, what constitutes cross training? Does proning and OC count? Or do you have to hit the pavement, mountain bike trail or gym? We took the question to the 100/100 Paddle Challenge Facebook group, a collective of over 500 paddlers of all skill levels and interests to see who does what, when it comes to training off the board.
There are the cross training “purists” like Monty, who says he likes to focus on different activities at different times of the year: mountain biking in the cooler months; hiking in the spring and fall; and swimming during the coldest months. (We assume indoors!) Julia believes that paddling is paddling, regardless of the discipline, so cross training for her is something completely unrelated, like running or biking. John likes the gym and biking, but also includes cocktails as part of his cross training regime. For me, I mix it up with cycling, running (begrudgingly) swimming and rock climbing. The climbing takes me completely out of my water-based comfort zone!!
Clearly, not everyone feels the same way. 10 percent of the 100/100’s in the thread do some other paddle sport as cross training, like Michael who paddles an Epic surfski and a sit on top kayak, among other paddle craft in his quiver.
At least one person in the group plays a team sport regularly to keep it fresh.
The biggest cross training activity among those who responded: weights, the gym, crossfit or functional strength training. 23 percent of the 100/100’s who weighed in on the question say strength training is a big part of their routine.
Flexibility is also important, and 10 percent of the 100/100’s in the discussion are yogis, though many say they need to practice more often.
Almost all of the answers to the cross training question included more than just one activity, and in addition to the answers you might expect – like swimming, running and cycling – a few folks really mix it up outside the box with activities like knife throwing, skateboarding and land paddling, or doing a kettlebell routine while standing on a skateboard.
So, what’s in your cross training wallet?
If you’d like more information on the 100/100 challenge, go here