The Paddlers Box
In kayaking there is a concept called ‘the paddlers box’ that we use to keep our shoulders working within a safe range, helping preventing us from injury.
The paddler’s box refers to the position of the hands in relation to the shoulders and the paddle. When our hands are on the paddle and held out in front us, the paddler’s box is the rectangle shape that can be traced from the hands, up the arms to the shoulders, across the chest and back down the paddle. It is the rectangle that is created by our upper body, arms and paddle shaft.
Whenever we move when paddling we rotate our body torso and adjust the angles and directions of the paddle but the ‘box’ remains the same. No matter what the move or skill we are doing we always keep our shoulders and arms within that safe range. If we stretch our arms outside of this box we expose our shoulders and risk injury.
If we can be aware of our movement patterns and shapes at the beginning of our paddling lives and stay within the safe zone of ‘the box’ we will help keep our shoulders healthy for a lifetime of boating.