If you’re going to beat the pack, you have to train for it. Photo:Alex Marks.


You complaining about sore shoulders? What are doing about it?
Are you still doing dumbell front raises, high rows, or bench presses?  If you are, you are just wrecking those shoulders more and more and more.  Tear up that rotator cuff tissue! (That’s sarcasm).  If you want to improve your paddling endurance, or simply the ability to paddle pain free, you first gotta lose the crap posture so you can actually paddle stronger and longer.  Stretches and mobility work, so get on it. Check out those posts and get to work on some of those movements.

Scapula/Shoulder Anatomy
shoulder anatomy bones01 300x225 HOW TO PADDLE STRONGER AND LONGERA bit of quick anatomy here: the shoulder is comprised of the humeral head, and the scapula, which sits on the rib cage.. and is attached only through muscles and tendons.  Very basic concept here:  if your scapula isn’t situated on the ribcage properly, isn’t moving properly, and you’re lacking mobility in the thoracic spine,  this all negatively effects the movement of the humeral head within the fossa of the scapula, which equals pain and torn up rotator cuff structures. That will guarantee you’re not gonna paddle well.  So, you need to fix the posture of the thoracic spine and scapula, and help strengthen the muscle structures that will stabilize the scapula. This can get into much more detailed anatomy and knowledge of kinesiology, but we’ll put this into two basic groups…

1. the muscles offsetting the position of the scapula need to be stretched and
2. the muscles that need to be strengthened to help bring the scapula into better positioning on the rib cage………….. and you still need to be working on your thoracic spine mobility.
chest anatomy 300x270 HOW TO PADDLE STRONGER AND LONGERIn the video, I’ve included two stretch/mobilizations to begin to loosen up the tissue that could potentially be pulling the scapula forward (rounded shoulders), which offsets the optimal position, and can begin the path of shit shoulders and torn up tissue.   To keep things simple, we’ll just say you need to loosen up Pec. major, and Pec. minor, although there are plenty of other muscles that can contribute to a protracted scapula.   So now that you’ve relieved some of the pulling forces on the scapula and shoulder girdle, you can now more effectively strengthen the muscles that will help stabilize the scapula, and pull it into a better position upon the ribcage.  Remember, to paddle stronger and longer, you’ve got to correct the position of the shoulder, and then build endurance.  Check out the image below, and you can see there are a lot of muscles throughout this area, and all play a critical role in stabilizing the scapula, and dynamic positioning.  This is where the exercise comes into play, and the one included in the video is awesome, as long as your shoulders aren’t competely trashed already.

backanatomy 300x200 HOW TO PADDLE STRONGER AND LONGERWhen performing the exercise, stay with a lighter weight, and higher repetition.  We’ve got to train those muscles to have endurance, and to be able to hold proper scapula positioning for extended periods of time.  This is what is vital for increasing your paddling endurance and power… properly positioned scapula, and muscles that can maintain that position of extended periods.

So start working on your paddle endurance, but realize, to really do that effectively, you’ve also got to work on improving your posture.

Article By Cris Mills from