Dragon Boat Racing Fitness

My dragon boat team at the September, 2014 Portland, OR race.

The Dragon Boat stroke takes many more muscles than the average paddler might think.


The obvious muscles include:





The less than obvious muscles include:

Core (abdominals & lower back)



The most powerful Dragon Boat stroke includes whole body integration. 

The Workout

There are competing theories when it comes to the workout regimen. Great Bones operates from the theory a whole body workout is the most optimum way to train the body. Train your whole body during each session because you are going to use your whole body in a race.


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Where should you start?

The Shoulder Test:

A Dragon Boat Race can last between 2-3 minutes depending on the distance. Can you hold your arms up for two minutes?

Flapping Shoulder Exercise (you will need a two minute timer):

Hold your hands out from your sides (parallel to the ground) with your thumbs pointed down and your palms facing backwards. Flap your arms backwards 6 inches then back to center for 30 seconds.

Keep your arms up (don’t rest) and rotate your thumbs forward and palms down. Flap your arms down 6 inches and then back to parallel to the ground for 30 seconds.

Next, rotate your thumbs up and palms forward. Flap your arms forward 6 inches and then back to center for 30 seconds.

No Resting!

Last, rotate your thumbs back and palms up. Flap your arms up 6 inches and then back to center for 30 seconds.

How do your shoulders and back feel? If you can’t complete this test without resting, think about what kind of power you are bringing to the finish of your race…

Power Plate Exercises for your Upper Back:

Static Rows off of Power Plate

Static Row with Squat on Power Plate

Power Plate Exercises for your Shoulders:

Static Shoulder Raise with Power Plate Straps

Static Shoulder Press with Power Plate

Power Plate Fitness for your Arms:

Power Plate Tricep Dip

Power Plate Bicep Curl

Power Plate Exercises for your Core:

Power Plate Plank with Leg Lift

(More Advanced)

Power Plate Side Plank (More Advanced)

Power Plate Exercises for your Chest:

Power Plate Push-up

Power Plate Chest Press with Resistance Band

Power Plate Exercises for your Legs:

Power Plate Squats with Medicine Ball

Power Plate One Legged Squat

Check back often for more Power Plate Exercises for the advanced user.