Conditioning For Paddlers

Low Back Stretch

Originally published In The April 2014 Issue

As the regatta season approaches, many paddlers who did not participate in the OC-1 season are realizing it’s time to get back into shape!

Perhaps you haven’t stayed as physically active as you wanted during the off-season. Maybe you even added a few pounds? This may put you at higher risk for injury when you get back into the canoe. At Jaco Rehab, we’re passionate about injury prevention and helping you compete at the highest level. Here are a few strengthening, core, and stretching exercises to incorporate into your regatta season conditioning program.


  • Medicine Ball Oblique Twist: While sitting upright with your legs lifted, rotate your trunk back and forth and tap the medicine ball to the ground on each side.
  • Oblique Pull Down: While gripping a pulley in the kneeling position, bring your shoulder to the opposite knee.
  • Repeat both exercises 15-20 times to improve the strength of your oblique muscles and increase the power of your stroke.
Medicine Ball Oblique Twist
Oblique Pull Down


  • Lunge With Rotation: Holding your paddle on top of your shoulders, lunge forward and rotate your trunk slowly 10-15 times.
  • Low Back Stretch: With one leg bent and crossed over the opposite leg, rotate toward the bent leg and hold for 30-45 seconds.
  • Both exercises improve lumbar and hip rotation, which increases your reach into the water.
Lunge With Rotation
Low Back Stretch


  • Plank With Opposite Knee Reach: From a high plank position, reach your knee toward your opposite shoulder. Repeat 10 times on each side.
  • Lunge With Chop: While gripping the pulley overhead in a lunge position, pull down towards your opposite hip in a cross-body, chopping motion. Repeat 10-15 times.
  • Both exercises are functional and incorporate numerous muscle groups that are active during your stroke.
Plank With Opposite Knee Reach
Lunge With Chop

These exercises can be added to your regatta season conditioning program to improve performance and reduce your risk of injury. If you do sustain an injury during the season, don’t push through the pain. Get a prescription from your doctor, and come see one of our therapists at Jaco Rehab. Good luck this season!

by Timothy Chang, PT, DPT
Jaco Rehab


  1. Just started outrigging with Bayside Outriggers on Brisbane’s Bayside (Australia). The on-water training is excellent but I needed help with selecting strength training moves. This article is perfect. Thank you very much. Vicki

    • Aloha Vicki! We’re every pleased you found it helpful. We’ll have more fitness and training tip coming soon. Please visit again. – Pacific Paddler.


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