Antagonist Muscle Workouts

Hi Folks,

What exercises do you use to train your antogonist muscles for paddling?

I've been training hard, but concerned that I'm not spending enough time on antagonists and am now concerned about joint problems, especially ramping up for another OC6 season. I've seen it happen in other sports: surfing, swimming, etc... where athletes are so focused on training sport-specific that they create shoulder impingements, etc... which end up abruptly stopping a season and take a long time to correct.

First I guess, I'd like to identify what those antagonist muscles are then then come up with some exercises & activities to develop them.
Any help from this community is extremelly appreciated, as I'm a relative newcomer to the sport and want to stick with it.

Does anybody else on this forum have difficulty with the search function? It doesn't seem to work for me.

Many, many thanks!

Submitted by ChineBoy on Wed, 01/28/2009 - 8:11pm

Search function is not working correctly.

Maybe you want to try to work with a medicines ball - Everlast = the ones boxers use. I think it is 28 lbs.
You can find all sorts of exercises on the internet.

Working with an object of that size and including catch and throw exercises requires the use of multiple muscle groups that are not stimulated with a bar or something alike.

#1 Thu, 01/29/2009 - 8:26am

The primary movers are pretty easy to figure out, just look at couple of the guys that have been paddling for eons. That makes the antagonists easy to determine too. This came up in another thread a little while back, but if it’s not bad form to do so, I’ll address your question on identifying antagonists briefly and reducing some of the risk of the repetitive motion of paddling. I think I posted this before, but we have to focus on ensuring our paddling specific muscles (protagonists) remain long and flexible and that your non-paddling muscles that normally work in opposition and help determine the flexibility of the paddling muscles (or as you correctly named them, antagonists) remain as strong.
Long term paddling has a big impact on the shoulder girdle and pelvis. The pec minor and lats become over developed pulling the shoulders down and internally rotating them. This puts strain on the muscles of the rotator cuff (external rotators) and the rhomboids. The hip flexors tighten and shorten from the seated position and repetition of leg drive which can pull the pelvic girdle down in front (anterior pelvic tilt) and up in the back due to the strengthening of low back muscles (ex. quad lumborum). This can be a cause of low back pain as it puts pressure of the lumbar vertebrae and SI joint.
So, here’s a quick cheat sheet:

Pec minor
Hip flexors
Low back

External rotators of shoulder
Internal muscles of the “core” (transverse abdominus, obliques, etc.) as well as the abs

I’m probably missing some, but this should help get you started.

*I am not an orthopod or physical therapist. Listen to my ramblings at your own risk.

#2 Thu, 01/29/2009 - 6:02am

great info. I know youve posted that before but its still good to get it back from time to time as a reminder.

#3 Thu, 01/29/2009 - 7:01am

eckhart diestel makes a good point about ball vs. bar exercises. Circa 1980’s body building, nautilus-style machine exercises by themselves will not correct any muscle imbalances you may have. They will only trap you in a limited range of motion in the sagittal plane and make you stronger within whatever postural abnormality you may have. Body weight, 3-D movements (involving the transverse plane of motion) that imitate real world athletic movements will better help to avoid muscle imbalances. But if you have pre-existing problems, definitely consult a professional PT before trying anything load bearing on your joints and spine. They can give you routines that will first correct the root cause of the problem and allow you to strengthen everywhere after it’s been addressed. If you don't have any now and you’re looking to avoid problems, try Googling “functional training” and “integrated training” methods. There’s a lot of good stuff out there by a lot of knowledgeable people.

#4 Thu, 01/29/2009 - 9:01am

y'all are smarter than me about this sort of thing but I just wanted to mention Ive been doing crossfit for 2.5 months and OMG......gnarly. I feel as though my body is completely changing and improving. I cant wait for 6 man. I anticipate my best season far!!!!

#5 Thu, 01/29/2009 - 11:39am

I do not like exercise equipment all that much. You can do all these exercises without any tools. It is less sensational but works nevertheless.

A throwing and catching a ball trains your coordination among other things.
If you let two athletes work with an Everlast ball for one hour with specific exercises - they won't have a want afterwards.

#6 Thu, 01/29/2009 - 2:42pm

+1 on the CrossFit. Like aquafiend65 says: Gnarly!

#7 Thu, 01/29/2009 - 5:50pm

  • 2 on crossfit training. Although I did get a little banged up a couple months ago due to poor form... totally my fault though. Watch your form and start slowly and crossfit will change your level of fitness dramatically, strengthening mind, body and those antogonist muscles.

#8 Thu, 01/29/2009 - 7:30pm

Crossfit is a killer system. Absolutely a challenging and fun workout. For someone with no pre-existing muscle imbalances, postural or gait anomalies, or specific muscular weaknesses it will help to ensure that you are utilizing every muscle group and performing those 3-D “real world” movements mentioned earlier. But a word to the wise, if you have any pre-existing muscle imbalances, postural or gait anomalies, or specific muscular weaknesses you are only going to strengthen yourself within those limitations and the problem or potential for problem will persist (i.e. chance for injury). If you have an imbalance, correct it first with flexibility and strengthening exercises that target the source of your specific problem. Then, prepare to get your @$$ kicked with Crossfit.

#9 Fri, 01/30/2009 - 5:35am

Crossfit????? What is it????

#10 Fri, 01/30/2009 - 8:09am

mobettatnu: Crossfit????? What is it????

“…there are ten recognized general physical skills. They are cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, coordination, agility, balance, speed, and accuracy… fitness is about performing well at any and every task imaginable… there are three metabolic pathways that provide the energy for all human action… the fitness that CrossFit promotes and develops, requires competency and training in each of these three pathways or engines…”

-from CrossFit Journal

Basically, it's the "mutt" offspring of every training principle imaginable. From the perspective of an athlete/competitor/warrior, it’s pretty cool in theory. Just be careful of starting any new exercise program if you have any injuries, pre-cursorers to injury, or any physically limiting conditions.

#11 Fri, 01/30/2009 - 8:41am

Crossfit????? What is it????

Search on for "Tabata", "Fight Gone Bad" or "Crossfit Workouts" and you'll see some of the stuff they do.

#12 Fri, 01/30/2009 - 11:40am

#13 Fri, 01/30/2009 - 12:50pm

And here I thought antagonistic training is when I told my wife I'm going to paddle again and she gives me hell about it! :-)

#14 Sat, 01/31/2009 - 10:22am

Nice concern has been put forward, it is all perfect and doesn't require any extra addition..



#15 Mon, 06/22/2009 - 11:15pm

What are the best types of crossfit training for OC paddlin?

#16 Tue, 06/23/2009 - 12:32am

I love crossfit. It might not be for the beginner though untill you learn alot of the olympic lifting cause alot of their workout of the days included lifts like deadlifts, snatches, cleans. A sample workout would be deadlifting 225x15 then straight into 25 pullups and then straight into wall ball slams. and usually that would be just one cycle. Alot of their goals sound way out of it when you first start but as you go you get better. It can also be toned down to your liking so that works, less reps or lighter weights. Their website is pretty much free anyway and give great tips and fitness ideas.

I think paddlers would like to get olympic rings. you can set um up around the house and do pullups, and elevated pushups, and even ab and leg excercises. And for those of you that know the muscle up know why its called it. A pullup into a dip.

heres a picture of my rings and rope climbing station at my house

#17 Tue, 06/23/2009 - 12:45am

Two books that are worth buying are Fit To Fight ,by Jason Ferruggia, and Combat Conditioning, by Matt Furrey. Both of these books have a lot of exercises you don't see everyday. I suggest a dragging sled if you don't have one. They are expensive but you can make one for pretty cheap. Be careful with the exercises in Combat Conditioning, they are harder than they look. The olympic rings are very good to have, but even more versatile is a TRX suspension trainer. It can be set up any where and it requires no more equipment than the TRX itself. If you are serious about working out and getting results I would recommend getting a fitness certification through a good company such as NASM, NSCA, or ACE etc. You will gain a good understanding of what you are doing and why.

#18 Tue, 06/23/2009 - 3:09am

Also remember it's one thing to be "gym strong" and another thing to be "activity" strong.

Muscular people may have little muscular endurance for movements that fall out of the repetitious patterns of lifting weights. Farmers who bail hay, brick layers, landscapers and..... can all be stronger all around without the bulk. So challenge those muscles in all sorts of ways that the waves will challenge you..

A physio friend helped rehab a local snowboard racer after she totaled her knee and had surgery. Once she was moving ok and fairly strong one dynamic workout was having her stand on an exercise ball while 2 therapists tossed a 10 lb medicine ball at her to catch and return toss at various heights and positions. Incredible agility, strength and core endurance.......

#19 Tue, 06/23/2009 - 12:36pm

Oooooo yeah I was gonna mention the TRX also. Excellent device with easy straps for your feet to do pikes. I was deciding on which one to get but ended up going for the rings cause I found it harder to do dips and muscle ups on the trx cause of hand position and having the straps rub the arm.

just paddle made a good point also, I see alot of guys get stuck on lifting heavy bench presses and curling all the time. That is the difference between doing body sculpting and functional training. Neither is right or wrong just depends on your goal in mind.

But keeping back on the subject as to what I try to train I do alot of deadlifts for a full body workout. Varying pullups, dips, balancing on the bosu ball excercises, cable rows, shoulder presses, light rotator cuff excercises with dumbells, bent over rows. cable pull downs, its basically endless what you can do. kettlebell swings are fun also. Alot of stuff can be done also outside of the gym at childrens playgrounds. and dont forget about running

#20 Tue, 06/23/2009 - 3:37pm

Crossfit sucks. It just sucks... Hate it....

I like the idea of functional strength. How many times have we seen muscle bound dudes come out for paddling acting all cocky and then crap out after 10 minutes.

#21 Tue, 04/20/2010 - 3:05pm

Please register or login to post a comment.

Page loaded in 0.193 seconds.