Strength Training for New Members – Understanding the PM Dryland Training Model

By Chris Chapman

With the spring race block behind us and summer training beginning, this tends to be the time of year we see a lot of new or seasonal members joining the Paddle Monster program. While it can be confusing to jump into a program where year round athletes are used to the model, fear not as we have designed it so you can jump in at any point without worry and reap the benefits (#trainingworks).

First, there are 4 levels of the strength training program:

  1. Home (2x per week) – This is for novice or beginner athletes who do not have the means to train at an external facility and want to train at home. Further, for intermediate and advanced athletes can do this program for the same reason, however if your goal is performance, serious improvement, or to win races, then we suggest these groups find access to a gym OR start getting some basic equipment to be able to complete the intermediate or advanced workouts at home. For some of the exercises and movements we need to load in order to improve paddle performance, it is difficult to find equipment or do these at home.
  1. Novice (2x per week) – This is for novice or beginner athletes who have access to a gym. It introduces a lot of the fundamentals and basics that will help build strength, power and muscular endurance for paddle specific performance.
  1. Intermediate (3x per week) – This program builds on the novice program by adding one more training session per week, in addition to more complex and paddle specific exercises and more training volume. This program requires a gym or a well kitted out home gym.
  1. Advanced (3x per week) – This program builds on the intermediate program by adding even more complex and paddle specific exercises and even more training volume. It does not add any more training session because the literature strongly shows more than 3x weights session per week interferes with on-water and endurance adaptations too much. Remember you are paddlers first and strength training is added to support your paddling.

For beginners who are joining the program it is always recommended to start with the home or novice level of whatever phase we are on. If after two consecutive phases you find it too easy then you can move up. Remember training is a process that is long in nature. Solid and robust gains take months and years to develop. Do not rush this process.

Second, there are different phases of the year and cycles within each phase:

  1. Off-Season Winter training (Cycles 1,2,3,4)

This is the start of the training year for those that train year round. After the last race of the season and a small recovery period, off-season training starts. This is considered the general preparation phase and we focus on building specific qualities to support paddling. We don’t care about interference with paddling as much in this block because we aren’t racing.

  1. In-Season Training
    1. Spring Race Block (Cycles 5,6)
    2. Summer Race Block (Cycles 7,8,9)
    3. Fall Race Block (Cycles, 10,11,12)

These are considered specific preparation phases and for all of these blocks of cycles they are constructed very similar. We switch from focusing on building 1 strength quality per cycle to training all strength qualities every cycle. The primary goal is to maintain all of the off-season work to not lose any qualities, but if followed as prescribed you should still make gains in season. The first cycle is always an accumulation phase with increasing volume, with the second and third cycles being intensification which means volume goes down but loads and speeds go up, leading into a peak or taper for the races at the end of each block.

If you are just joining Paddle Monster now, the program is designed that you can jump in at the start of a block no problem. Always start at the novice level and if you found it too easy jump up a level when the next race block roles around. Too much, too soon is the easiest recipe for injury!

While some of the exercises might be new to you, we do have videos of all of the exercise we use. It will take time to learn, become competent, and master these exercises, so do not stress if you don’t get it right away. Like anything strength training is a skill that takes a decade of mastery to become an expert.

If you ever have any questions or concerns reach out in the app via convo, forum or program chat. We are here to help!

Now let’s get to work and start making those gains! Happy Paddling Monsters!


Here are a few video resources for you:


Strength and Power: Preparation for the Strength and Power Dry Land Training from Paddle Monster on Vimeo.

Strength and Power: Why Strength and Power from Paddle Monster on Vimeo.

Strength and Power: About Coach Chris Chapman from Paddle Monster on Vimeo.

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