Body Prep For Rafting

If you think rafting only requires strong arms…you couldn’t be further from the truth. Rafting is a high-endurance sport that utilizes every muscle in the body. And, if you like feeling sore, you can ignore this (optional) prepwork suggestion! You’ll need all-over strength, good cardio capacity, and endurance. You don’t have to join Crossfit or anything before you go, but if you’d like, we took examples from OARS to put together some moves you could easily incorporate into your weekly workout routine.

Photo Credit: Melissa Donald

Body Weight Exercises

Fighting the current takes strength. You’re working your arms, shoulders, back, core, even your legs. To prepare, focus on compound exercises that also work multiple areas of the body. A great place to start is old school body weight exercises. Push ups can help prepare you to propel that paddle through the water. If you’re not up to military style, you can start with your knees on the floor. Already knocking them out with no problem? Elevate your feet to make them harder. Pull-ups or chin-ups are a great complement to push-ups.

Photo Credit: Melissa Donald

Strong Core and Legs

A strong core is at least as important as your upper body. Planks and side-planks will help to develop the muscles that help stabilize you as you lean into your paddle. And as the strongest, biggest muscles in your body, your legs can provide a powerful base for paddling. Build them up with walking lunges, backwards lunges, and squats. When you’re ready, add some weight to these. Try dumbbells to increase resistance.

Cardio Conditioning

Nobody’s having fun if they’re sucking wind five minutes into the trip, so don’t neglect your cardio capacity before you go. Consider high-intensity interval training. These short bursts of hard core exercises are incredibly effective. Pick any movement you like: jump rope, burpees, boxing, stationary cycle, and the elliptical are all good. Do a few minutes, then repeat.


Finally, to truly get the full-river experience, try to increase the number of laps you swim, the distance you bike, or the miles you run. Increasing your endurance will help the most. When you feel you’re finally ready to find adventure on the Ocoee, let Outland be your guide.


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