Many folks have been using the “Off Season of SUP” for some cross training and flexibility activities. When taking a “break” from Stand Up Paddling, many people hit the gym hard. Others may have fallen off the bandwagon completely. We’re now in the midst of what could be considered a “Pre-Season” for SUP. This is when you want to ease back into your training and prep for the SUP racing season ahead.
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Whether you’ve been rigorously repping away in the gym or become a couch cadet, there are a few guidelines to help you come back from a break more effectively. You’re paddling muscles should have received some sort of break in the off-season, so we’re treating them as if they’re a little stale.
- Build a base. Start Slow.
The first thing you want to do is get back on the water. There are two types of people. Some hop back on the water and feel amazing and rested and sprint off into the sunset… until the next day when they feel the repercussions of overdoing it on those well-rested muscles. The other type gets back on the water and can feel the effects of the last two months paddling less or not at all. No matter which kind of person you are, don’t be tempted to push yourself too hard. The beginning of the pre-season is the best time to log long, slow base miles. These miles will help you more in the long run anyway. The stronger your aerobic base, the higher you can build when it comes time to go harder.
- Resistance Exercises with weights.
If you were hitting the gym throughout the off season, you may have kept some paddling muscles active, but giving sports specific motions a break should have been part of your agenda. Now is the time to start adding in paddle-specific muscle groups and increasing the resistance to add strength. Couch surfers should start slower with resistance training, but build up to heavier reps early in the pre-season. Later in the pre-season and in-season, you’ll want to ditch the heavy weights to optimize performance.
- Mobility, yoga.
You’ll see this as a recurring theme. We recommended flexibility and mobility in the “off-season.” It is just as important in the pre-season. Getting back on the water and increasing the resistance off the water may cause some lactic acid build up in muscles. Doing yoga can stretch the muscles and help remove some of the lactic acid improving recovery time. Boom.
- Cross Train & give paddling muscles a break.
Keep building that aerobic base, but spend a session or two off the water. Try biking, hiking, or jogging at around 70% of your max heart rate for longer distances. This keeps up your training while changing up the muscle groups when you’re jumping back into your schedule. Don’t be afraid to go for a hike or jog if you’re feeling very fatigued from paddling. Its better to avoid injury and not overdo it, and you can continue to build aerobic capacity!