Tag Archives: whystrengthtrain

A (paddler’s) case for strength training

It’s All Connected

I’ve always been an endurance sports kind of girl – biking, running, nordic skiing, hiking.  And while I’ve occasionally made New Years Resolutions about going to the gym, they’ve never really stuck.   “Weights just aren’t my thing,” I said.

That was before I started dragon boat paddling.

It was clear right from the start that our coaches expected us to do strength training beyond the paddling practices.  So I was diligent (well, fairly diligent) about doing core exercises a couple of times a week during that summer.  Then, as my paddling form improved, I began to realize how much each paddler’s strength matters to how well the boat moves forward.  I started working out at the gym during the fall and winter months, when we couldn’t paddle on the water, to get ready for the coming paddling season.

Weight training still wasn’t my thing.  But every time I started to falter, I’d think about my teammates.  How we all had to work together to paddle well.  How we love to do well at races.  How I’d be letting them down if I didn’t get stronger.  And so I’d add another rep.  I’d finish the workout.  I’d come back again a couples days later, to do it all again.  I got stronger.  And I liked it!

Now going to the gym is part of my weekly routine, all year round.  I’m a better paddler every summer.  And those endurance sports I love – especially nordic skiing (though this season there’s a frustrating lack of snow!) – have benefited too: I ski faster, stronger, and longer than ever before.  It’s all connected – the satisfaction and smiles of a good paddle mirrors the smile on my face as I skate-ski up a wintry mountain trail.

Thank you Malia!  For the paddling, of course – and also for helping me become a better athlete, all around.

Thanks to Barb L. for this guest post. As coaches, it’s always great to hear affirmations like this from our athletes. Keep up the good work!