Outdoors blog


Will Kayaking Build Muscle?

Kayaking is always a great adventure offering some beautiful scenes in cool water surfaces with some quality peacetime to connect with nature.

Kayaking does build your muscles. Yes, it is a proper cardiovascular exercise and gives you a great opportunity to work out your upper body and keep it in good shape.


Muscles built While Kayaking


Everyone wants abs, no doubt about that since people work out really hard in the gym to build abs. Your trunk runs from your waist to your neck. It is constantly involved to help you rotate the paddles during kayaking. This consistent movement helps you to build abs quickly and more efficiently.

The core muscles are extensively involved in kayaking. Since your legs are inside the kayak, your core acts as an anchor between the kayak and your upper body. While you’re rotating your trunk, your abdominal and oblique play a vital role in generating the required power. The abdominals in your lower back are also involved by maintaining your balance.


While paddling may sound easy, it is equal to a gym workout for forearms and grip. These two muscles are extensively used during paddling. While one arm extends the other contracts and the grip is used to rotate the process for the other arm giving you a complete grip and forearms workout.

Continued paddling during long hours engages your forearms a lot and the power transfer is made smooth by rotating the paddle using your grip hence, building these muscles in a very healthy and proper way.


The chest may not seem like one of the obvious muscles used in kayaking, but it is involved.  Chest muscles are used to extend one end of the paddle forward while the other arm pulls the paddle inward. These muscles also act as stabilizers throughout the motion, like with a cable row in the gym.


Your shoulders are also involved in kayaking. While propelling the kayak, you constantly rotate the paddle to keep giving a smooth push. This is where shoulders come into action. Shoulder muscles provide the power needed to pull the paddle back towards the body. Hence, maintaining a proper rotational motion to smoothen your kayaking.

Back Muscles

Your back muscles are the most used ones during kayaking. During each kayak stroke, your back muscles play a vital role to provide force. The lats are the largest muscles of your back and are contracted whenever you apply a forward stroke. Their major role is to transfer power from your lower body and pull your arm back in during paddling.

The traps are located in the middle of your back. They are used to move your shoulder blades up and down and are also involved in neck and spine movements.

Biceps and Triceps

Biceps and triceps are used throughout kayaking. They work in a pair. Meaning that when one muscle contracts, the other relaxes. So, during a forward stroke, when paddling, the biceps contract to pull the paddle in one arm while the triceps act to push it in the other. This provides a constant healthy exercise for both muscles.


Kayaking is one of the best cardiovascular exercises. The heart is the most important muscle in your body and keeping it healthy and strong is very important to live a healthy life. Kayaking provides you with a complete cardio workout with a great adventurous experience. It is also a great option for people who get easily bored during regular gym exercises.

Calorie Burner

Research suggests that one hour of kayaking can help you burn up to 400 calories. It is the best way to burn calories. Kayaking also has better stats of calorie-burning than other regular gym exercises. So, it not only builds your muscles but also converts the extra fat on your body into muscles.

Kayakers live a healthy lifestyle than average people with a strong heart and better body shape.

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