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Strong back muscles are crucial for the pulling phase of a dragon boat stroke. Being out on the water in a dragon boat with your team is a fun outdoor fitness activity for anyone, but this sport also attracts elite athletes who are serious about competing and winning races. Revealed in a study in the Journal of Strength and conditioning research, which was published in January 2013, a specific upper body workout is essential in enhancing performance during a dragon boat race. With these exercises, you can develop strong shoulders, back, chest, and arms to supercharge each stage of your dragon boat stroke.   Pull Phase (Back Muscles) The back muscles (rhomboideus and erector spinae) is fundamental during the pulling phase of the dragon oat stroke, therefore incorporating exercises to strengthen these muscles is key. An excellent upper body workout may include: · The bench row · Dumbbell row · Wide grip front pull-downs · Straight arm pull-downs · One-arm cable rows · Close-grip chin-ups The last exercise is performed by placing the hands, knuckles pointed away from the body, about six inches apart on the chin-up bar. Suspending from the bar with your arms straight while crossing your legs below you, bend the elbows and contract your back and arms muscles to bring your chin up to the bar. Then lower yourself down. Go over the exercise for as many times as possible for a minute.   Catch Phase (Shoulders) During dragon boat paddling, you must be able to grab as much water as you can with the paddle during the catch phase of your stroke; therefore, you need strong shoulders. To strengthen your shoulder muscles (trapezius and posterior, middle and anterior deltoids), the upper body workout can include: · Upright row · Dumbbell overhead press · Bent-over lateral dumbbell raise · Upright shrug · Dumbbell shrug To perform the latter exercise, you must stand upright with your feet positioned shoulder-width apart and pick up a dumbbell with every hand. The weight will be determined by your present strength and your strength goals. Gradually contract the shoulder muscles and raise the shoulders towards your ears. Release and repeat for several repetitions. You can also obtain a paddle ergometer that permits you to practice dragon boat racing on land as if you are on the water. Catch Phase (Chest) An open chest position offers good form for dragon boat stroke during the catch phase. Strong chest muscles (pectoralis major) permits you to execute catch. The workout can include: · Dumbbell flye · Flat dumbbell press · Incline dumbbell press For the incline dumbbell press, you must place a weight-training bench at a forty-five-degree angle. With a dumbbell in every hand, lie on your back on the bench with your head pointed up. Place the dumbbells shoulder-width apart in every hand, allowing each one to touch a shoulder cap. Rotate your hands with the palms pointed away from your head. Gradually contract the muscles and push the dumbbells to the ceiling. Straighten your arms, stop and return the dumbbells towards the shoulders. Repeat a few times. Catch Phase (Arms) Your triceps and biceps are mainly involved in the catch phase. A good workout may include: · Alternating standing dumbbell curl · Dumbbell kickback · Preacher curl · Reverse curl · Cable press down · Overhead dumbbell extension · Dumbbell curl With the last exercise, you stand upright with both feet shoulder-width apart and a dumbbell in every hand. Drop your arms to the side and turn your hands with palms facing forward. The sides of the dumbbells must touch each thigh. Bend the elbows and contract your biceps, moving dumbbells toward the shoulders. Stop at the top of contraction and slowly lower dumbbells to your legs. Repeat a few times.


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