This past Saturday was another Awesome day, it was Iron Outrigger Champions Canoe Race in San Diego! I had been training hard in preparation for this Race, for it is the sports largest race event in the lower 48 states and I wanted to represent my Club: Kai Elua, to the best of my capabilities. I have been competitively outrigger canoeing since the beginning of the year. Even with all my years of training it has taken time for my muscles to adjust to the demands of this Amazing sport. It requires a really strong back (this is your main power source), core, legs, and flexibility, especially in the hips – this was my weakness a month ago. Now incorporate these muscles and multiple this by doing a stroke/rep a couple thousand times in one practice session on the water!!
During the other previous races I had utilized my back some and relied more on my arms and shoulders. After doing a brutal 13 plus mile ocean race in Los Angeles in the beginning of June my lower back was in tremendous pain during the race. I was not rotating enough to provide some relief in that area. I had been enduring this pain for several months, just ignoring it and pushing through. Just imagine thousands, yes thousands of strokes with your lower back stuck in one position. It was insane!! Something had to change after that experience.
Though the most helpful exercise (I devised) of all was mimicking the hip and back rotation while paddling. I used a cable machine with a single row stirrup handle and sat on a large exercise ball set far enough back that when my arm and back was fully straight the weight that I had chosen from the stack was being suspended in midair. While rotating my hips and back forward and slightly downward in a 1-2 sequence (simulating my body position during blade entry in the water I would reach out as far as comfortably possible and then explode back up by applying power from my forward positioned leg and then rotating my hip back and pulling at the same time with my back to straightened position. After hours of this for a number of weeks I could really feel the difference!!
Needless to say my team went out there on Race day and took home 3rd place in a 6 mile Open race against veterans who had been doing this for years!! Including myself there were 3 other guys who had less than a year’s worth of experience paddling on our team. We not only did great, but we passed plenty of boats including our own Clubs Veteran boat in the same race!!! Training hard and believing in yourself does pay off!! Be the Animal go out there and show everyone what you’ve got!! If you’ve got the Animal in you feel free to show it with one of the Awesome apparel pieces!! Have fun and Workout Like an Animal!!!
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