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Crossfit & Paddling

Updated: Jul 6, 2021

I was presented with a question from a paddler the other day about doing BOTH Crossfit and Paddling (either Standup or Outrigger). While it can be difficult to keep up intensity in both, they can coexist and even enhance one another!

See, paddling really is a full body sport. More so than a lot of other endurance activities. Every time I take some time off from paddling and do Crossfit, I come back a lot stronger (read: less KT tape, less pain, better anaerobic capacity). Whenever I take some time off from Crossfit and just paddle, I come back WAY STRONGER there too! Like, maxing out my PRs strong...

As with anything, the simple growth equation presented by Magness and Stulberg in Peak Performance (Extreme Stress + Extreme Rest = Growth)

works well with the interplay of Crossfit and Paddling. The mistake everyone makes is trying to do EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME. You can't do everything all the time. Period. The gym owners won't like it if you take a few months off, though, and they're not getting member dues from you! They'll tell you that you can do both, or that Crossfit will keep you in paddle shape. Let's set one thing straight: There is NO substitute for paddling. Period. The time you spend on the water is developing your technique by reducing use of unnecessary muscles leading to an increase in your efficiency. So if you can't do everything.. all the time... when should you be doing what?

Here was the question from a paddler:

" I just read your post.. It was almost perfect timing that I read it as we were talking to our CF coach this morning about how we could keep doing both.  And...... since you were mentioned how you wanted to progress into the next year with CF and of course I know you're paddling, how do you see this fitting in.  Now, I know you have more time then us to train but if we could fit in one workout a day with a potential of two on a one weekend day, generally.... how do think that would look?  Our CF coach has an idea for prioritizing paddling and CF intensity level comes down. "