How to Prevent And Get Rid of Tight Hip Flexors for Paddle Board Kayak Conversions

How to Prevent And Get Rid of Tight Hip Flexors for Paddle Board Kayak Conversions

In this article we will discuss how to get rid of and prevent tight hip flexors from paddle board kayaking.

Paddle board kayaking is a water sport activity that involves using a stand up paddle board with a seat conversion kit. The blade paddle is used to move across a body of water such as rivers, lakes, and coastlines.

Originating in the Arctic for travel purposes, kayaking has developed into a popular recreational activity for outdoor lovers across the world.

Many paddle board kayakers report sore and tight hip flexors, as a result of sitting for prolonged periods of time. In this article, we discuss causes, prevention, and the rehabilitation of sore and tight hip flexors associated with kayaking.

The Cause of Hip Flexor Pain and Tightness from Stand Up Paddle Board Kayaking

We all know sitting for prolonged periods of time is bad for us. We’re constantly told to move from our desks and exercise as frequently as possible to remain flexible for life. However, what if our chosen physical activity is paddle board kayaking, a sport that involves being seated?

Paddle board kayaking provides many health benefits and is a great sport to increase our fitness levels. Unfortunately, paddle board kayaking also involves remaining seated for long periods of time, which can have adverse effects on our bodies.

A common complaint amongst paddle board kayakers is painful or tight hip flexors after a long paddle. Fortunately, this can be prevented with good posture when paddle board kayaking and performing accessory exercises for your hip.

Hip flexor pain is caused by a tear or strain when the hip flexor has been moved beyond its range of motion. It can cause irritation of hip flexor tendons, or hip create impingement of surrounding nerves.

Specifically, hip impingement is when the hip flexors can be in a contracted state for a long period of time, causing damage to the hip joint and structures surrounding it.

Hip flexor pain is usually caused by bad posture while sitting in the kayak. We will discuss each of these in more detail, and how to overcome the problem.

Unlock your tight hip flexors

How Should Your Posture Be While Sitting in a Paddle Board Kayak?


When in a paddle board kayak you should keep your back straight and in an upright position. Leaning forward or back puts a strain on your lower back and consequently leading to tight hips.

If you find it difficult to sit upright in the kayak, you may need to work on your hamstring flexibility and core strength.

Paddle board kayaking can be a long and intense activity. Tight hamstrings and a weak core prevents you from maintaining good posture while sitting in the paddle board kayak.

Can You Fit Properly on Your Paddle Board Kayak Conversion?

Hip flexor pain and stiffness may also be a consequence of poor set up within the paddle board kayak.

When in the sitting area of your board your legs should have a slight bend in them. Fully extended or excessively bent legs can be uncomfortable and put unnecessary tension on your hip muscles. This is what can cause the hip pain and stiffness.

Additionally, if you have a wide seating area. It can cause your knees to abduct out, again creating tension on the hips. Therefore, ensure your foot braces are set up correctly and the paddle board kayak conversion fits your size.

Long Term Health Consequences of Tight Hip Flexors

Chronic hip flexor pain and stiffness can lead to severe physiological damage. You must seek the required help if you are experiencing hip flexor pain and stiffness.

Ignoring it may lead to more severe pain and permanent damage including:

◉ Hip Flexor Tendinopathy:

Pain, swelling, or breakdown in and around the hip flexor tendons. Hip flexor tendinopathy can occur as a result of overuse, impact, or aging.

◉ Hip Flexor Strain or Tear:

Caused when the hip flexor muscles or tendons are stretched too far. Tears can cause pain, loss of motion, and weakness.

◉ Osteoarthritis:

Wearing of the hip joint cartilage, causing stiffness, tenderness, and loss of flexibility.

Ignoring chronic hip pain and stiffness can have adverse long-term consequences on your health and kayaking performance.

In some cases, ignoring your symptoms may prevent you from ever getting back on a paddle board kayak. Therefore, it is important to address the hip pain and stiffness at its onset.

Hip Tightness Prevention

Stretching and Strengthening Exercises For Paddle Board Kayakers

As previously mentioned, hip flexor pain and stiffness can be a consequence of poor hamstring flexibility and weak core strength.

Try this home workout if you are suffering from a weak core and tight hamstrings:

3 Rounds, 45secs Work, 15secs Rest:

◉ Plank

◉ Hurdler Hamstring Stretch

◉ Hollow Hold

◉ Standing Hamstring Stretch

◉ Superman Hold

◉ Towel Hamstring Stretch

Over time, increase the work time and rounds, and decrease the rest time to allow for constant progression.

It is also important to perform an effective warm-up and cool-down stretch before partaking in a paddle board kayaking session.

A warm-up reduces muscle injury by increasing blood flow to the muscles and starting the nervous system, preparing your body for exercise.

A cool-down lowers your heart rate and relaxes your muscles, returning your body to its original state. Try the following warm-up and cool-down exercises on your next outing on your paddle board kayak.

Exercises To Stretch Your Hips

10 Reps of Each Exercise, 2 Rounds:

◉ Dynamic Chest Stretch

◉ Hurdle Steps

◉ Runner Touches

◉ Lateral Hips Openers

◉ Tin Soldiers

◉ Shoulder Gators

4 Stretches For Tight Hip Flexors

Unlock Your Tight Hip Flexors
Photo Courtesy of Critical Bench

1 Min of Each Exercise, 2 Rounds:

◉ Deep Squat Pry

◉ Frog Pose

◉ Half Kneel Opener

◉ Spiderman

◉ Standing Hamstring Stretch

Daily life may also contribute to your hip flexor pain and stiffness.

Medical experts also advise hip pain can be reduced by losing weight (if currently overweight), take painkillers, wear flat shoes, and avoid high-impact activities such as downhill running.

Getting Rehabilitation for Your Tight Hip Flexors

Hip Flexor Stretching Exercises

If coming back to paddle board kayaking from a hip injury. We advise that you are medically cleared by your doctor before participating.

Additionally, we recommend that a thorough warm-up and cool-down is conducted around your paddle board kayak session.

After a hip injury, patients typically become weaker, therefore strengthening exercises should be done to help your body keep up with the demands of paddle board kayaking.

The video below has some great hip exercises and drills for you to do if you are in the rehabilitation phase of your hip injury.

When To Get Medical Advice From Your Physician

Hip pain can get better at home with rest, strengthening, and flexibility exercises. However, chronic pain may be an indicator of a more serious condition.

You should see your doctor if the pain lasts more than a week or if you start to have a fever, rash, sudden hip pain, or if the pain transfers to other joints.

You should go straight to the hospital if the pain was caused by a serious accident, your leg becomes deformed, bruised, bleeding, you become ill, or you are unable to bear weight on your hip.

Conclusion to Preventing Tight Hip Flexors for Those Who Are Paddle Board Kayakers

Hip flexor pain and tightness is a common complaint amongst paddle board kayakers of all abilities.

In many cases, this can be prevented by fixing your posture while sitting and engaging in regular hip stretching and strengthening activities.

Failure to address your hip flexor pain and tightness may lead to more severe long-term health consequences that you can avoid. You must seek professional medical help if the problem continues to persists.

Unlock your tight hip flexors


All the information presented in the THE SUP HQ  is for educational and resource purposes only. It is there to help you make informed decisions about your fitness training.
It is not a substitute for, or an addition to, any advice given to you by your physician.THE SUP HQ strongly recommends that you consult your doctor and get medical approval before beginning any fitness and/or exercise program.
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In no way will  THE SUP HQ be held responsible for any injuries or problems that may occur due to the use of this website or the advice contained within.

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