All the major muscle groups are involved in every paddle move: abs, back, chest, legs, and arms. Here are all the muscles used in kayaking!
Many people jump into the kayak for refreshment and take it as an outdoor activity. But few people realize the importance of kayaking as a full-body workout.
When you do kayaking, all the muscles of your body start functioning and allow you to train all your muscles in one activity.
You’ll be surprised to know that when you kayak, both your upper and lower part of the body also takes part in paddling the boat.
So, in this article, I’ll explain to you the different muscles used in kayaking.
Muscles Used In Kayaking
Here are all the muscles you’ll use when you do kayaking to properly reap all those kayaking health benefits:
1. Back Muscles
When you do kayaking, the muscle group which is hit first is your back muscles. There are about 5 different muscles in your back, and among them, the lat or latissimus dorsi is the bigger one.
The main function of this lat is to produce torque power from your lower body and transform it into your upper body. So, when you paddle, you use this torque power to move your arms.
Then comes your lower back muscle. It’s important to maintain your posture while kayaking because a wrong posture can cause you back injury, and sometimes you’ll have to bear back injury for a lifetime.
To maintain proper posture, your lower back muscles support your upper body.
Also, make sure you have enough backrest installed in the kayak. It’ll help you prevent back injuries.
2. Shoulder Muscles
After back muscles, shoulder muscles are the most used muscles in kayaking. Any arm-related workout you do, your shoulder muscles will get involved.
Many people underestimate the involvement of shoulder muscles in kayaking, but most of the kayakers suffer from a shoulder injury.
After a few paddling strokes, you’ll feel the soreness in your shoulder and start realizing the involvement of shoulder muscles in kayaking.
When you do the forward paddling, your posterior deltoids or back of your shoulder gets more involved than the front portion of your shoulder. As a result, there’ll be imbalanced muscular growth in your shoulder.
You can do stretching and training to balance your rear and forward deltoids. Also, you can avoid shoulder injuries by maintaining a paddler’s box.
Paddler’s box is an imaginary rectangle box made by your chest, arm, and paddle. When you maintain the paddler’s box all the time while paddling, you’ll get the maximum power, and your shoulder will be safe from injuries.
3. Biceps And Triceps
Everyone wants bigger biceps-triceps, and kayaking can help to build big arms. When you do kayaking, both biceps and triceps get involved. However, your triceps work a little bit more than your biceps, but both the muscles take part in paddling.
Biceps and triceps of your body are known as Agonist-Antagonist pair. It means that when one muscle contracts, other relaxes.
When you paddle in the water, you’ll have to rotate your arms constantly and that puts constant pressure on your both biceps-triceps muscle.
In the beginning, when we start kayaking, we only paddle with our arms. This scenario is the same for other sports and activities. But when you become an expert in kayaking, you start involving other body parts to generate required torque than your arms.
It’ll require time to get used to with kayaking, and when you do, you’ll feel less pressure on your biceps and triceps.
Core muscles are a significant muscle group in your body as it plays the role of a bridge to connect the lower body and upper body.
If you have a strong core muscle, you can balance easily while kayaking. Balancing is important in kayaking, especially for a racing kayak, because balance is required to stabilize your kayak.
Although paddling requires more twisting in the upper body and rotation of arms, you’ll need torque power to do this. Your lower body and your core muscle play an important role in providing torque power to your upper body.
Also, your core muscles help you to stay in good posture.
5. Chest Muscle
Chest muscles also take part in kayaking. This muscle group helps you to extend one side of the paddle in the forward direction, and the other arm pulls the paddle in the inward direction.
Also, chest muscles work as a stabilizer in kayaking, and if you do cable rows in the gym, it’s a similar activity.
6. Leg And Hip Muscles
The involvement of legs and hips is very much surprising to many of you, but these muscles are essential in kayaking.
However, legs and hips muscles are not used in the same you that you may use while doing squats or leg curls. The main function of leg and hip muscles is to stabilize your body while kayaking.
Both leg and hip muscles work as a connecting point with the kayak. When you need to twist and turn, you’ll need help from the leg and hip muscles to stabilize your body.
So, leg and hip muscles have a lot do in kayaking. That’s why you should never miss a leg day and train your leg muscles properly.
7. Forearm And Grip Muscles
These are the obvious muscle groups that are used in kayaking. You will need a good forearm and grip strength to do kayaking.
The torque power produced by your lower back and your abdominal muscle transfers to your upper body and then to your forearm muscles. After that, you use this torque power to paddle your kayak in the water.
That’s why kayaking is a great outdoor activity to build your forearm and grip strength.
But you’ll have to be very careful about wrist injury. These injuries can happen if you don’t follow proper guidelines. So, before kayaking, you should stretch your wrist a bit, and other body parts also.
Besides all these obvious muscles used in kayaking, your heart muscles take also a very important part in this activity.
Kayaking can be a great form of cardio exercise. That’s why if you want a full-body exercise or movement, kayaking can be the best outdoor sport/activity compared to golfing, and volleyball.