A week off due to vacation for me meant that I was raring to get back to surfski training this Saturday, and we were treated to a dry session, quite incredible after all the rain in the last couple of weeks. We warmed up on land for 15 minutes to make sure we were ready for resistance training, which Coach Wes assured us would be “REALLY HARD”.

Fall Training Week 5

Resistance training is apparently great to do in the fall, because it slows things down and makes you concentrate on paddling with good form while paddling hard, rather than technique going all to hell when you add speed. To add resistance to the boats, Wes provided tennis balls on string, which were fastened around the bow of the boats. [I’m going to make a confession here that I didn’t actually use the resistance balls in the training session as there weren’t quite enough to go around – something I was really upset abou!!]

Resistance training

Once we were on the water, we paddled for 15 sets of 1 minute at 80% race pace, 30 seconds rest. For those with resistance, the enforced slower pace was certainly effective – more focus on technique while paddling hard took a lot of concentration and there was less banter than usual while we were out there. For us without resistance, it was pretty cool to keep pace with the stronger paddlers, and I certainly felt like I stepped up my game while paddling with them.

After those 15 sets, and assurances that the team was really tired, the tennis balls were removed and we reverted to just paddling hard for 5 sets of 1 minute. The exclamations that were going around me as the stronger paddlers took off confirmed how much effect the balls had had, and the feeling of paddling normally felt much faster and easier, with improved connection to the boats.

To finish – a warm down lap of the Cove, during which Ask Coach questions this week were:

Q. When should I be engaging with the foot strap of the foot board?

A. Engaging the foot strap and pulling back gives you more of a wind up for your stroke. Some people don’t use the foot strap but it’s always important to have because it means you can rotate back further, and bring your hip further forward. BUT more important is your action of putting pressure through to the footboard as you drive your hip forwards in the stroke, but just before you’re entering the water, pulling back on the foot strap can give you an extra stretch.

Q. What is the secret to becoming an expert paddler??

A. THERE IS NO SECRET!! Ha ha – the only way to become a great paddler is lots of hours on the water. And when I say lots…it apparently takes 10,000 hours to be an expert in anything. So get out there and get working!!

The work-out prescribed this week at the gym is building on weights – work the shoulder blades and lats using light weights and build reps, making sure not to lift above shoulder height. The on water work out for me is to use resistance!! There’s no getting away from the tennis balls I guess…

Tennis balls for resistance training