This move will give you a strong core and lower back, perfect for paddling and rollingJosie BoudlingWhether it’s initiating an aerial move, mastering a roll or just paddling, a strong core and lower back are vital. “I do a lot of squat work,” says Tyler Curtis, a veteran of the Canadian freestyle team, competitive creek boater and whitewater kayak guide. To keep his core strong, Curtis prefers to do low-weight, high-rep squats. He doesn’t use machines, opting for free weights, which require the small muscles that maintain stance and balance to work as well. “There are lots of fairly erratic movements in paddling, and the free weights help prepare your body for them better,” he says.
What you need: Either dumbbells or a bench-press bar with 10 per cent of your maximum squat weight.
How to: Start with dumbbells at your sides or a bench-press bar resting on your shoulders. With feet shoulder-width apart, bend your legs until your quads are almost parallel to the ground and your elbows are almost resting on your knees. Stick your butt out and keep your feet flat, core engaged, head up and back straight. Make sure the movement is slow and smooth. Hold for a second and then extend your legs to standing. Do five sets of 25.