A Look at Warm-Ups – Canoe Slalom

By John Willacy


These are the accompanying notes for a presentation given on the topic of Warm-Ups for Canoe Slalom paddlers.


Warm-Ups

  • Why?
  • When?
  • What?
  • How?
  • Where?
  • Practicalities of warm-up
  • Warm-up Clever

Why we warm-up

  • To improve race performance
  • To improve training session efficiency
  • To minimise risk of injury
  • Tune in to “today’s body”
  • Increase Confidence

When we warm-up

  • Before a race
  • Before a training session
  • Before any activity

What we warm-up

  • Mind
    • Focus
    • Deal with Distractions
    • Visualisation/Rehearsal
    • Setting Strategy
  • Body
    • Prepare body for work
    • Take feedback from body
  • Skills
    • Refresh Skills
    • Boost Confidence

How we warm-Up

  • Stretching / Mobility
    • Land and Boat
    • Dynamic versus Static
  • Continuous Paddling
  • Boat Handling / Awareness
  • Stroke Mobility
  • Gates
  • Sprints
  • Mental Preparation
  • Off the water
    • Run/Walk
    • ‘Home Gym’ Equipment
  • Relaxation

Training Warm-Up – Intensity Session

  • Mobility
    • Light dynamic stretching/flexibility out of boat, short steady run (5 – 10 min)
  • Continuous paddling
    • Easy start, steadily increase pace (10 min)
  • Boat handling/stroke drills
    • Enders, turns, slicing, cross-bow, reverse paddling  – (5 min)
  • Specific Stretching within boat
    • Dynamic
    • Not too strenuous  – (5 min)
  • Short Sprints
  • Mental Preparation/Visualisation throughout the process

Training Warm-Up – Endurance Session

  • As per Intensity W.U. but bring heart rate gradually up to required level.
  • Stay below Lactic Threshold
  • Continuous paddling
  • Boat handling/stroke drills
  • Stroke/Boat/Body Mobility
  • Specific Stretching within boat
  • Aerobic Efforts
  • Replace sprints with 2-3 x 3 – 4 mins efforts at Aerobic threshold
  • Mental Preparation/Visualisation throughout the process

Race Warm-Up – Double W.U.

  • Detailed (initial)Warm-up
  • Followed by time for:
    • Mental Preparation
    • Strategy
    • Relax
    • Quiet Time
    • Allow 45-60 min rest before race run
    • Try to maintain moderate activity so warm-up effect not lost
  • Pre-Start Warm-up (immediately before race run)
    • Sprints, Stroke Drills, Gate Work, Mental Prep.
    • Short — 10 – 15 mins
  • For Single Warm-up days – use abbreviated form of Detailed W.U.

Example Race Warm-Up (Detailed Warm-Up for a Double Warm-Up day)

  • Mobility
    • Light dynamic stretching/flexibility out of boat (5 – 10 min) – short steady run
  • Aerobic Continuous paddling
    • Easy start, steadily increase pace (10 min)
  • Specific Stretching within boat
    • Not too strenuous  – (5 min)
  • Boat handling/stroke drills
    • Enders, turns, slicing, cross-bow, reverse paddling  – (5 min)
  • Gate Technique Warm-up
    • Short courses (20-30 sec), race pace, cover all moves required – don’t go lactic (10 mins)
  • Sprints (ATP-CP)
    • 5 x 10-12 sec — 5 x rest (5 – 7 mins)
  • ‘Full run’
    •  Simulation run – flat-water, imaginary gates (enhanced visualisation), close to race pace  (below race pace for Single W.U. day)
  • Anaerobic Sprints/Gates
    • 2 – 3 x 30 – 45 sec, max pace with 3 – 4 min between (on double warm-ups only, Note: differing opinions on pros/cons of this stage )
  • Moderate paddling / ‘Specifics’
    • Whatever you feel needs more time/detail
  • Mental preparation/Tune in

Warm-Up Practicalities

  • Not always possible to do exactly what you want –
    • Lack of facilities
    • Different venue
    • Interaction with others – working as a team
    • Aim for the optimum but be prepared to accept less
  • Be flexible in your approach
    • Have an ideal but be prepared to go with less/different
    • Train your routine and your ‘flexibility’
  • Training Session Warm-up shorter than race day W.U.

Not a Warm-Up!

  • Floating around the eddy chatting to your buddies
  • Paddling around aimlessly and doing a few dips
  • Etc…

Your Warm-Up

  • Make it structured
  • Learn a routine and use it
  • Train your Warm-up
    • Experiment/Trial and Error
  • Improve your Warm-up
  • Enjoy your Warm-up
  • Use Confidence Boosters
  • Be prepared to be flexible

Warm-Up Clever

  • High Intensity Sessions require a more detailed Warm-up
  • Technical Sessions require a more detailed Warm-up
  • Injury Recovery requires a more detailed Warm-up
  • The fitter you, are the longer it takes
  • The colder the weather, the longer it takes (use pogies!)
  • The earlier in the day, the longer it takes
  • The older you are, the longer it takes
  • Stick to a routine – but be prepared to adapt

John Willacy
Dec 2014