Training for Over 80 to Become A Stronger Paddler

Jim Dreeben with his grandson on their SUPs. | Photo courtesy: Jim Dreeben Jim Dreeben with his grandson on their SUPs. | Photo courtesy: Jim Dreeben

Jim Dreeben, a retired CPO of Peconic Paddler (53 years) is thriving in his 80s, still SUPs and even competes in kayaking. Here, he details his training regimen and tips on how to become a better and stronger paddler in your 80s (or any age).

Words by Jim Dreeben

I have always worked out since high school, but after I turned 80, my workouts have become more consistent. Most of my workouts are to prepare me for Paddle Battle SUP/Kayak Race every July. It’s put on by Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead, New York. For information: paddlebattleli.com. The following exercises are for anyone who wants to get into, and stay in, shape for any reason.

Interval Training

Interval training is the best training to become faster at any sport. In this case we will call it Interval SUPing or Kayaking. It builds strength and stamina to help you paddle faster and farther. Paddle at a moderate pace for a few minutes, then sprint as hard as you can for ten or 20 strokes. The results of interval training are amazing. It’s not just for paddlers or racers; it makes anyone fitter for any sport.

Standup Paddling

Stand up Paddling gives you a full-body, core workout. You are constantly balancing on the SUP and stressing most muscle groups. Your legs get stronger from balancing; your arms, neck, shoulders and chest get stronger if you do a proper stroke: Rotate your body; don’t pull the paddle with your arms.

For summertime, warm water, upper-body strengthening, I swim a prone board while keeping my chest and shoulders up and balancing on my stomach for as long as I can. I go non-stop for an hour. I also swim in the ocean almost daily. I’ll swim hard into the waves and body-surf back for an hour.

jim dreeben elderly sup training tips plankJim Dreeben still going strong at over 80 years old. | Photo courtesy: Jim Dreeben.

Off-season, and in bad weather, I do some of the following daily, and I drink lots of water:

  • 2,000 meters on a rowing machine at moderate pace (and interval). That burns many calories.
  • Whip battle rope 100 times thrice daily (except when it’s frozen). It’s okay if it's wet, but it’s heavier.
  • Fast – walk 6/10 of a mile around the block 2X daily. On the way, I do 20 push-ups on a planter in the children’s park or on the guard rail by the beach. Since I had both rotator cuffs repaired, regular push-ups are too stressful on my old body. (Regular push-ups: you lift 75% of your body weight.)
  • “Swim” a 25” diameter exercise ball 100 to 200 strokes. Use breast strokes and crawl strokes.
  • Shake a 4’ Classic Bodyblade in different positions for ½ hour. Use a 5’ Bodyblade to get stronger.
  • Do 100 squats while holding a 10 or 20 pound weight or kettlebell or while shaking a Bodyblade and sometimes while standing on a balance board or the flat side of a Bosu Ball. It’s a very good exercise.
  • Do the plank in high (push-up) position or low (forearm) position, or both, ten to 15 minutes a week.
  • Balance on your butt in the V-Sit position as long as you can. Do it 45 degrees left and 45 right, also.
  • Stand back to a wall. Sit down on imaginary chair. Hold for 30 seconds. Stand up and do it again.
  • Do bird dog exercise, alternating sides every 15 seconds, from two to 10 minutes.
  • I just started using an elliptical exercise machine. It is tiring at first but it gives a full-body workout.
  • Bear Crawl. Best on soft sand at the beach but it can be done on grass or rug also. Super workout.
  • CrossFit on Wednesdays for a tough, sweat-pouring, workout. Does anyone want to try it with me?
  • Bike ride the 10 mile trail inside the Riverhead/Grumman property. It usually takes about one hour.
  • Take a hot shower changing to cold water 2 to 4 times a day depending on how much I sweat.
  • 50 yard farmer’s carry with two 25, 30 or 40 pound dumbbells. Occasionally stop and do 10 shrugs.
  • On short walks, I carry a 12 lb. bar or an 18 lb. splitting maul alternating shoulders every five minutes.

If you don’t like serious exercise then just walk. Go a little farther and faster every day. 10% of your walk should be backwards especially walking uphill. It fires up, and strengthens, your glutes and quads. A perfect walk: Park by Old Ponquogue Bridge. Walk over the Ponquogue Bridge to the ocean and back. A serious walk: Battle rope at my house, walk to ocean, run in, swim for 15 minutes, back to the rope.

For more SUP tips, click HERE.

Last modified onThursday, 11 April 2024 16:29
Jim Dreeben

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