Core Training

Hi gang.

Been doing some research into different off-water core training approaches recently and wondered if anyone had a view on a couple of things.

Has anyone seen or used this thing called a 'torsonator'? Looks like a standing, dynamic russian twist machine.

It looks like it could be a great abdominal core workout and maybe even provide some shoulder stability work too. Seems to bring in a lot more rotational movement to an ab workout which looks like it would be good for paddling.

Second, do any of you guys over in California work with Pro Camp Sports ( They seem to have a sensible training approach that starts with structural/core stabilisation across abs, hips, back, & shoulders and gets you aligned before moving on to strength work and more cross-fit style circuit work.

Other ideas? Your favorite workouts?

Submitted by JJR on Fri, 05/27/2011 - 8:06pm

My favorite core workout:

Warm up on jump rope 10 min.

step 1 -Hang olympic rings for push ups
step 2 -Place inflated balance pad under feet in push up position
step 3 -Do as many push up reps as slowly as you can

Next grab a kettle bell at whatever weight you are comfortable with and do turkish get ups. I usually go until my abs cramp or until i feel the urge to vomit. This workout usually lasts about 45 min if you are going at a good pace.

#1 Sat, 05/28/2011 - 6:35am

Regarding off the water core training, does it actually help me become a faster paddler? Somewhere, I read that it was counterproductive and that the body had to lose all the muscles or strength gained from the alternative activity in order to relearn the specific movements necessary to improve in one's preferred sport. In other words, for paddling, there is no substitute for on the water training or "time in the water."

#2 Sat, 05/28/2011 - 9:19am

No substitute for water time, but a lil' cross training sure doesn't hurt, especially to train opposing or neglected muscle groups.

#3 Sat, 05/28/2011 - 11:20am


If you want to do that, then just paddle backwards, like the Chinese dragon boat paddlers do. This way, all the "opposing or neglected muscle groups" will be satisfied. Have you priced what an Olympic bar costs? Around $250, plus Olympic size plates and that swivel contraption that holds the bar (around $250). I'd rather buy 3 more paddles of different sizes and even a kayak paddle for train out on the water in my canoe. Instead of weight train, I paddle in shallow water or drag tennis or ping pong balls behind me. Try wrap some small length of line on your rudder and see how it feels?

#4 Sat, 05/28/2011 - 4:08pm

Koacanoe a cheaper fix is to go Hardware Hawaii and pick up some sand bags and rope.

Fill bags with sand
Tie rope to bags full of sand
Throw rope with said bags over pull up bar and you can do the same motions as video.

Just a side note but research shows that growth hormone, along with testosterone, both start to drop rapidly after about 42 minutes of exercise.

#5 Sun, 05/29/2011 - 4:42pm

Pushups, Pullups and the Wheel

#6 Sun, 05/29/2011 - 9:13pm

Tpoppler01: I think I would get more exercise scooping the sand up to fill the bags? Now a days, they sell duffel bags, with handles, for fill up with sand, to heave around. But not as much fun as paddling up and down the Ala Wai slicing up box jelly fish. I thought my rudder was too long and I was dragging it in the muck, but it was all the box jelly fishes getting in its way. Talk about resistance training, pretty soon, with all the slicing, the Ala Way will become as thick as jelly. Maybe the jelly fish could be the answer to the diminished HGH and testosterone?

#7 Mon, 05/30/2011 - 9:25am

Though not directly related to core workouts, I've had more than one U.S. sprint kayak team coach tell me that swimming is one of the best non-paddling workouts. The trunk rotation in a good freestyle stroke is 'similar' to good paddling rotation, and the aerobic considerations are similar.

Though most of the readers here may be really fit, our body's strength-to-weight ratio is important, too. Some of us may spend hundreds of dollars extra to buy a lighter boat. Yet, an excellent way to reduce the total on-water weight of boat, hydration and paddler is for the paddler to drop a few pounds. A good measurement of strength-to-weight ratio is the simple overhand pull up.

Koa is right that paddling with good technique with a wing paddle in a kayak or ski will translate well to good technique with a single blade. I know of several 'national level' sit and switch canoe racers that have taken up ski paddling for a cross training opportunity. Kayak paddling can help those of us who don't use their legs enough on an OC.

Also, as Koa suggested, on-water resistance training can help with core training. Sprint coaches often use a bungee threaded through a whiffle ball around the hull of the boat. During some of the intervals, the athletes have to rotate the whiffle ball around to the under-the-hull position. Creates quite a drag.

Just some additional thoughts. I'm sure the Dolans could add nicely to this conversation.

#8 Tue, 05/31/2011 - 10:28am

Once you reach the Olympic level, like the Dolans, resistance training gives way to stuff like Imre Kemecsey's "Speed Barrier Training."

#9 Tue, 05/31/2011 - 11:54am

My favorite core workout: a burger and fries

Seriously though, overhead squats. Since the main thing we are looking for is a stable torso to transfer power from the legs through the arms to the paddle, OHS do a wonderful job working smaller stabilizing muscles. They also require a decent amount of shoulder and hip mobility to be done well, counteracting all that sitting we're doing in the canoe.

#10 Wed, 06/01/2011 - 3:01am

If you guys start throwing out research and stats, you should back it up with sources or round off the info. There's guys reading these threads and just might start cutting down their workout to 42 minutes thinking they're going to have more testosterone.

Your body stores fuels and hormones, when you access these stores they will deplete at some point, which you will need to replenish through sleep, nutrition etc. Btw, you should also train your body to function on low stores once in a while (ie base), as that will happen in your race where your body needs to produce fuel (ie carb flame).
So rather then cutting your workouts short you could increase your stores, don't over train, don't drink alcohol (limits ability to remove estrogen), get massage, get wood at least twice a day, take vitamins.

Shorter workouts closer to event will help you maintain stores (tapering), and I am pretty sure these guys training at the elite level do short workouts a couple times a day (on some days) in order to increase load while not depleting stores or risking the immune system.

Since I'm on a rant, I will also say that this discussion comes up a lot, and its pretty clear to me that paddling canoe requires fitness, period. How you attain that fitness is the puzzle. So you could train your body to be really strong for 1 stroke, or for 1000 strokes, or 100,000 strokes. The more compounded the workout, the body will adapt and build muscle that is more effective in a single movement . The more endured the workout the leaner the muscle adaptation which can be more effective in multiple movements. Where your body stands is up for you to decide, do you need more power? Do you need more endurance? Are you willing to sacrifice speed in the beginning of the season in order to increase power? If you listen to your body and monitor your results you will see what you need to improve. Think, holistic. Why does everyone always say "there's no substitute to time on the water"? Because when you paddle canoe as your primary form of training, you cancel out the possibility that your body adapts to a movement that is inappropriate to paddling.

#11 Wed, 06/01/2011 - 8:23am

joe: I buy everything you say, except for the alcohol, which is my favorite pre-race and post race recovery fuel.

Anybody drink to that?

#12 Wed, 06/01/2011 - 10:26am

Automatic koa.. you know that. No forget your glycogen stores ---green bottles.

Jus sayin that if you want to get all into HGH etc (naturally) it takes discipline.

#13 Wed, 06/01/2011 - 11:07am

As long as we are talking about core exercises this is something that I do with some of my friends, given Im no where near this good.

#14 Thu, 06/02/2011 - 7:47pm


#15 Sun, 06/05/2011 - 1:37pm

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