5 different stroke techniques are used at full power, 20 strokes at a time to build muscle. Paddling with just a few rows at a time increases the load and forces paddlers to be more solid with the less active muscle groups.
1. Kayak Stroke - Rotation of spine generates the power. Arms and legs remain solid so no power is lost or wasted. Head, neck and spine maintain a solid axis for rotation. This efficient stroke is good for pacing in the middle of a race and for newer paddlers who haven't built up much shoulder strength and need to focus on rotation.
2. Lifter Stroke - Similar to Kayak stroke, but with more forward lean. Outside shoulder works much harder, and the forward paddle angle creates more lift. More powerful, but also more tiring than the Kayak Stroke, it is better for shorter paddlers and stronger paddlers sitting in the front of the boat.
3. Power Stroke - Axis of rotation is changed to generate more leverage and power. Inside leg is forward. Torso faces outward and we lean forward to get much more weight on the blade. Good for starts and finishes and paddlers sitting in the back of the boat.
4. Sharp Stroke - Drop our body weight onto the blade to generate more power in a short, sharp pull. Not as efficient, but effective with strong crews in light boats.
5. 3-Stage Stroke - First stage generates momentum, using outside leg and lower back. Second stage increases power with rotation. Third stage adds more strength, driving back and deep with shoulders. Good for long races and heavy boats.