How to Train for the Slalom Kayak

How to Train for the Slalom Kayak
Slalom kayaking is perhaps the most physically challenging form of competitive whitewater kayaking. A paddler must negotiate a section of river over which is arranged a series of slalom gates. Depending on the color of the gates, the paddler has to maneuver his boat downstream or upstream through them. This is a timed event, and missing a gate or touching a gate can result in a time penalty. Due to the challenge of not only negotiating rapids but often having to attain upstream through the gates, slalom kayaking requires massive upper body strength and an intense training regimen.


Difficulty: Challenging

Step 1
Hit the gym. Training starts in the offseason with rigorous conditioning. Focus on exercises that strengthen your core and shoulders, with secondary focus on arm and back strength. These are the muscles worked the hardest in kayaking.
Step 2
Paddle flat water. Many competitive slalom paddlers will paddle up to five miles of flat water per day. Paddling flat water builds upper body and core strength faster than whitewater because you must do all the work, as opposed to the river currents pushing you along.
Step 3
Practice upstream attainments. Find a stretch of river with several eddies in a row down one side. Paddle to the bottom, then attain up to the next eddy. Do this until you have reached the top, and then repeat. Attainments are to a paddler like sprints are to a runner, requiring short bursts of extreme energy and strength.
Step 4
Find an area with slalom training gates and practice with the gates. Local canoe and kayak clubs often set up training gates or can point you to where gates are set up. In many areas, there are gates set up on flat water, moving water and whitewater, and you can progress up through the levels when you reach this point in your training.

Article Written By Christopher Williams

Christopher Williams has spent over 11 years working in the information technology, health care and outdoor recreation fields. He has over seven years of technical and educational writing experience, and has brought strong skills and passion to the Demand Studios team in articles for eHow and Trails in 2009.

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