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Lower back pain when paddling hard, suggestions?

Discussion started by Phillipe Loher 4 years ago
I've been training for a long distance paddle - and generally go out about 4 times a week. 2 times a week I generally go for about 6.5 miles and the other two I'll go on average around 8.

However, my lower back is the first to start to give. I'm not sure if that's because it's getting stronger, or because I'm doing something wrong. I fear the later but I'm not sure. I normally use the Tahitian stroke and do a lot of 'forward folding' to get as much reach as possible. I stack my shoulders and make sure the paddle is vertical.

Any ideas if this is common or if there are certain things I should be cautious of? For what it's worth, it feels like I'm using my lower back and upper shoulders more than I'm using my abs.

Thanks for any advice.

Cheers,
Phillipe
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Erin Blunt Robbins
Erin Blunt Robbins
Great advice! Thanks for the added insights Andre!
3 years ago
Andre Niemeyer
Andre Niemeyer
The rule of thumb is:

Lower back pain = paddle is too short & Shoulder pain = paddle is too long

A few other things to watch.

1. Changing boards may require different paddle length due to how high you stand
2. Change of technique may also require different paddle length and blade area
3. Competitive paddlers with weak core tend to compromise form and put too much strain on spine
4. Avoid paddles with large blade areas if you have not fully developed an iron core
3 years ago
Erin Blunt Robbins
Erin Blunt Robbins
I have felt some of what you've described in my back with added cramping. However, I've had a spinal fusion and just thought it was part of having a weak back. I do think it's related to doing a lot of "forward folding" as I tend to paddle this way as well. I've heard that the shorter a paddle you use, you'll feel more in your back. If you use a longer paddle you'll feel more in your shoulders and arms. Maybe try a different paddle length?! Let me know if this helps or what you find out. ;-)
3 years ago
Rob Casey
Rob Casey
one idea, but probably not the full solution, keep a loose grip on your paddle barely holding it with both hands (unless you're surfing, etc).
3 years ago

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