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Strong Shoulders!

Posted: 03.12.2012 by Brad Ludden

It's that time of year when the snow starts melting and the rivers start running and that means you need to be getting in shape for an epic paddling season.

As we all know, strong shoulders are key to a successful paddling season! There are a few simple movements you can be doing now to get your shoulders in peak shape for paddling this year.

  1. The hand stand push up is a great movement that can be done at home or in the gym. There are several variations of this movement ranging from relatively simple to quite difficult. Here is a LINK to a video showing some of those variations.
  2. Overhead squatting- depending on the weight you're using, you can do this at home with a broom stick or at the gym with a fair bit of weight on a barbell. Here's a LINK to a video showing the exercise. One note of caution- please start really light on this as you don't want to blow out your shoulders in the gym.
  3. If all else fails, JOIN YOUR LOCAL CROSSFIT AFFILIATE! This is the best way to get in the best shape of your life in a short period of time.

If you're looking for a goal and want to help a good cause, I always recommend signing up for a TEAM FD challenge to challenge yourself and raise money for First Descents. By doing so, you'll pay it forward to a young adult with cancer so they too can paddle!

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Posted: 11.14.2011 by Brad Ludden

It's that time of year when water turns to snow and the skis come out. I was filming a tv show in Valdez, AK this summer with Dean Cummings who is one my childhood heroes.

Dean was in all the major kayak films back in the day and his voice, like Warren Miller's, brings back countless memories. This summer, while kayaking on the Tsaina river near Valdez, I had a chance to hear all about Dean's life and my sense of hero only grew. Here's a great blog post on Outside's blog about Dean. Be sure to check out the trailer for the "Steep Life".

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Summer Training! It's Gonna Be A Big One!

Posted: 05.16.2011 by Brad Ludden

If you're anything like me, texting and driving is safe compared to driving along a river in the spring time! This year is especially bad if you live in the Northern Rockies, California or the Northwest. After a MASSIVE snow year, all signs are pointing to an equally epic run off. It's time to get ready for spring, paddling and all things awesome!

Here are a few key pointers to get ready for big water.

  1. MOBILITY IS KEY! Avoiding injuries is better than rehabbing and most injuries can be avoided through mobility. Kayakers (myself included) usually have unique (to be read as BAD) posture from sitting in a small plastic boat and pulling ourselves around. There are some easy stretches you can do to get your back and shoulders aligned and mobile. For pointers, visit fellow my good friend and fellow kayaker, Kelly Starrett's blog- the mobility wod Here you will find some amazing "self administered" PT and stretches that will save you a trip to the ortho this year. My favorite is the couch stretch and you'll need some lacrosse balls to work out some major kinks you probably didn't know you had.
  2. Start strengthening your shoulders- this can be done through good hand stands against a wall, walking on your hands, overhead squats or hand stand push ups. Strong shoulders will equate to a safer and better paddling season.

As always, please tell anyone you know between 18 and 39 who has or ever has had cancer about the free adventure programs First Descents offers. If you don't refer them, they'll never know. It's up to you!

Finally, are you looking for a good challenge this year or do you already have one up your sleeve but need a good cause to align with? Check out TEAM FD where you can challenge yourself and do it for a good cause!

See you on the rivers!



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