Kayak/Paddling Pre-Season Training Program


• 6 weeks, 4 days/week
• Designed specifically to bring you into early season kayaking at top fitness
• Trains both on the water and in the gym
• This training plan is one of the 182+ Plans included with an Athlete’s Subscription.


This 6-Week, 4 day/week Sport-Specific pre-season training program is for kayakers, canoeists and other river athletes. It is designed to be completed directly before the paddling season.

Program Goals:

(1) Develop the strength, power, and strength endurance of your upper body and core. Upper body pressing and pulling strength, power and strength endurance are the primary drivers of paddling performance. This training program hammers your upper body and midsection.
(2) Train your paddling-specific work capacity/energy system (lungs and heart). Your lungs and heart are the drivers behind your paddling muscles. We train these sport-specifically through hard paddling intervals on the water.
(3) Increase your overall strength and mental fitness so you are more durable. We understand the danger of kayaking and the other paddling sports. In our experience, stronger athletes are simply harder to injure. Mentally fit athletes never give up.

Note: The Tuesday and Thursday work capacity training is this plan has you paddling in water. Here in Wyoming we paddled against the flow of the Snake River – in snowy/icy March! You can also complete these intervals in a lake.

This will be your training week:
Monday – Sport-specific, Gym-Based Power/Strength Endurance
Tuesday – Work Capacity Training (Water)
Wednesday – Sport-specific, Gym-Based Power/Strength Endurance
Thursday – Work Capacity Training (Water)

Required Equipment

- Fully equipped weightroom. The gym portions of this plan can be completed in any commercial gym
- Open water for the paddling intervals - river, lake, pond, etc. Drysuit if it's cold.
- Stopwatch with interval timer


Sample Training


Obj: Assessment

Warm up:
3 Rounds
10x Alternating Dumbbell Bench Press @ 15#/25#
10x Renegade Rows at 15#/25#
10x Russian Twists @ 15#/25#
5x Dislocates
Instep Stretch

(1) Max reps Alternating Dumbbell Bench Press @ 20#/35# in 90 sec.

Rest 3-5 minutes

(2) Max Reps Renegade Rows with 20#/35# in 90 sec

Rest 3-5 Minutes

(3) Max Reps Dumbbell Russian Twists w/ 20#/35# in 90 sec.

(4) 5 Rounds for Time
8x Front Squats - 45#/75#
Run 400m

(5) 3 Rounds
Hip Flexor + Pigeon
Foam Roll Low Back/Quads
5x Dislocates
5x Teacups

Obj: Work Capacity

4 Rounds
2 min easy paddle
10x Jump Squats

(1) 10 Rounds
40 sec Sprint
20 sec Rest

(2) 7 Rounds
120 sec Hard paddle w/ roll
30 sec Rest

Obj: Strength Endurance

Instep Stretch

(1) 5 Rounds, every 60 sec
35% of Max Reps Alternating Dumbbell Bench Press

(2) 1 Round
Max Reps Alternating Dumbbell Bench Press @ 20#/35# in 60 sec.

Rest 3-5 minutes

(3) 5 Rounds, every 60 sec.
35% of Max Reps Renegade Rows

(4) 1 Round
Max Reps Renegade Rows @ 20#/35# in 60 sec.

Rest 3-5 Minutes

(5) 6 Rounds, every 60 sec
35% of Max Reps Russian Twists w/ 20#/35#

(6) 1 Round
Max Reps Russian Twists w/ 20#/35# in 60 sec.

(7) 3 rounds
Hip Flexor + Pigeon Stretch
Foam Roll Low Back/Quads
5x Shoulder Dislocates
5x Y + L - 2.5#

Obj: Work Capacity

10 min. easy paddle

(1) As Many Rounds as possible in 30 minutes of:
2x River traverse laps  (approx 7 min)
100m Kayak portage (run!)

(2) 4 Rounds
20 sec Standing Founder
10x Poor Man’s Leg Curl
20 sec Kneeling Founder
10x Face Down Back Extension
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Fitness Programming Focused on
Mission-Direct Performance

All that matters to MTI is outside performance. We are driven to continuously improve and evolve. To this end MTI is not beholden to any fitness programming methodology, equipment or exercise. We continuously research, deploy, assess and iterate our programming with an emphasis on Mission-Direct application and performance. Here is the MTI Method:

MTI begins program design with extensive research of the fitness demands of the mission, sport or event, identifies the exercises and progressions which sport-specifically meet those demands, chose end-of-cycle goals, and program backward to design the training plan.

We deploy the training plan "Lab Rats" at our Wyoming facility. Training session and cycle issues are identified and fixed as we work through the training plan.  Post cycle we assess the programming's effectiveness and efficiency. We keep the stuff that works, and fix or toss the stuff that doesn't.

Plan is published for purchase as an individual training plan and made available to our subscribers.

It doesn't stop there. We take what we learn by deploying our mountain and tactical programming with our Lab Rats, go back, re-visit, update and improve already published training plans. Several of our individual training plans are on their 4th or 5th version.

Our Stuff Works. Guaranteed.

By Rob Shaul

I received notes frequently from athletes hesitant to purchase a subscription or training plans asking me to sell them on why they should make the purchase.

While I understand the question, I’m not a salesman - so I can't put a hard sale on anyone for our programming.

I can tell them the process we go through to design our programming.

We begin with extensive research on the fitness demands of the event, identify the exercises and progressions which sport specifically meet those demands, chose end-of-cycle goals, and program backward to design the plan.

Then we test the cycle on ourselves and our lab rats here in Wyoming. We document, note what works and doesn’t work, re-assess, and make changes and modifications.

Then we publish the programming in the form of one of our plans or as part of our subscription daily training sessions for tactical and mountain athletes.
We don’t stop there - our daily programming is the “tip of the spear” for our programming evolution. We use these sessions to learn and make continuous improvement.

As we learn more and improve, we go back, and update the sport-specific training plans on the website. For example, we’re currently on Version 5 of our Ruck Based Selection Training Plan and Version 3 of our Dryland Ski Training Plan and Version 4 of our Big Game Back Country Hunting Training Plan.

We understand our programing isn’t cheap, but we believe it’s a great value. The $79 for the Ruck Based Selection Training Plan, and $39 for the Dryland Ski Training Plan reflect the, research, work, innovative theory, iteration, testing and feedback we've put in and received to make these plans effective.

All that matters for us is outside performance, and we feel strongly that Our Stuff Works in the real world.

Here’s our guarantee:

1) Individual Training Plan Purchase:
If you purchase an individual training plan, follow it as prescribed before your season/event/pft/selection, and if you don’t feel you were physically ready for your season/event/pft/selection, and/or didn’t see dramatic improvements in your early season performance, we’ll refund your money, no questions asked.

2) Athlete’s Subscription
If you purchase an Athletes’ Subscription, follow the training sessions as prescribed, and are not satisfied with the quality of the programming, notify us within 30 days of purchase, and we’ll refund your money, no questions asked.

Email: rob@mtntactical.com

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This Plan is one of 200+ plans included in the Athlete's Subscription.