If you still rely on your arms to do most of the work while paddling, or if you just can’t master that dang torso rotation when you take a stroke, then this post is for you! I have a solution- the ‘Straight Arm Drill’. It’ll feel weird going through the motions at first, but keep in mind that this is just a drill to help program your body to move more efficiently. When performed properly, this movement will help engage your core when you take a stroke, thus making your stroke more powerful while relieving your arms from doing all the work. This means more speed, less fatigue and a stronger core.
#1. Hold your paddle horizontally out in front of you (In the photo below my paddle blade is out to the left) Pretend that you were born with no elbow joints in either arm. That’s right, keep your arms straight throughout this exercise- no bending or it won’t work!
#2. Completely rotate your torso so that you’re facing the OPPOSITE direction to the side your blade is on. (I rotate to the right in below photo) Hold this position and take a few moments to look down at your body. If you rotated to the right then your left shoulder and hip are pointed towards the nose of the board. Also, your left knee will be bent because of the rotation in your torso. And finally, your right shoulder will be back. THIS IS THE TORSO ROTATION!
#3. Now, remaining in that same position, place your blade in the water (on the left in the photo) and take a stroke. Keep your arms straight! By keeping your arms straight it will force your torso to rotate each time you go to take a stroke. Eventually, you’ll add a slight static bend in both elbows, but for the sake of the drill visualize STRAIGHT arms.
Every time you get stuck or confused about this movement, stop and use this exercise as your ‘reset button’. Good luck!
Paddle: Werner Carve