Strength training is only one part of the equation when it comes to turning your body into a high performance kayaking machine.
Just like any high performance vehicle it needs specific areas to be in balance to prevent excessive wear and break down so do paddlers.
For athletes, this balance and realignment comes in the form of stretching and mobility. Stretching is important to help balance out the muscle groups that become overly tight when training and can cause injury.
In Paddle Strong there is a section that outlines these imbalances and where your attention should be placed. Below is a figure from this section in Paddle Strong.
I always seem to struggle to find the time and motivation to stretch. From my experiences it seems like I am not the only one as this is what I hear from the majority of the athletes I work with.
To try and combat these imbalances most people think they need to perform a 1 hour yoga session 3 time per week, this is not the case. I have found that giving athletes just 2 or 3 stretches to perform allows them to actually perform their stretches rather than getting into the mind set of that they do not have 'the time' to work through a long list of stretches.
In Paddle Strong I have outlined the 6 key stretches that will give you the 'biggest bang for your buck' by targeting the key areas outlined above. Now these stretches are not overly fancy, you do not have to tie yourself into knots or wear yoga pants. There are a million other stretches out there the you could do. However, these are the six stretches that I have found to give paddlers the best return for their time investment.
If you really want to dig DEEP into the world of stretching and mobility I would highly recommend the book Becoming a Supple Leopard. This is a fantastic resource for all athletes to own and refer to that I would highly recommend.
Paddle Strong Matty Graham
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