Back Basics

You know that moment when you hit a sweet boof… and then you land on a rock?

What about that moment when you go to do a splat…. and then just plow your bow straight into a rock and jolt forward? (Oh that’s just me…)

What abouttttttt when you go to load your boat on top of your vehicle and your back catches?

If you haven’t experienced back pain as a kayaker then you certainly know someone who has. It’s no surprise since there are so many things that we do- in our boat let alone out of it- that can mess up your back. The less ergonomic you are in your boat the worse it gets. It’s not really the boat’s fault, though. It’s a combination of the opposite forces in your boat (feet against the foot pegs and back against the back band), whatever rocks you may hit on the river or any impact that you take, and mostly not doing what you need to do off the river in order to protect your back.

Do you need to stretch more? Likely yes, but tight hammies isn’t your only problem. This is especially true for my weekend warriors. You sit in a car and drive to the river, shove yourself into a boat, drive home, sit at a desk all week and then if you’re lucky (or single) you do it all again. Your back isn’t just tight. It’s weak.

People often think of “core” as abs. Your core includes your obliques and all of your back muscles- which are often neglected. Your core can’t be powerful if half of it is weak. This means that if you have trouble carrying your boat, boofing, getting strong strokes, powering up on the river.. you need to strengthen your back. Most back injuries occur when the abs over power the back muscles. It’s not hard to strengthen the back, you just have to remember it plays the most important role in kayaking and give it some love. Below are some exercises that you can do both at home and in the gym to strengthen your back.

Per usual if you have any questions just reach out!

Happy (and healthy) boofing!

Sam

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