When you prone paddle should you move you’re neck to reduce the tension? I have your video on prone paddling techniques and it seems like you keep the head straight and looking forward. I was at China Walls out here in Hawaii during the M2O and it seemed like all the prone paddlers were not using a chin rest.
My second question is… should my rib cage hurt or feel compressed after 1 hr of prone paddling?
You are 100% correct. Most of the really serious paddlers do not use a chin rest. Some do. Personally I am no fan of a chin rest. Although it seems like a chin rest would be helpful it puts your shoulders and cervical spine in a really compromised position and I worry about injury paddling like that. I guess if you used one only for a few minutes at a time for a rest that could be ok but, on the other hand, most of the top paddlers do not use one and perhaps that is why they are top paddlers. 1) they have enough training to go the distance so they don’t need a head rest and 2) they didn’t get injured from using one.
The other issue with a chin rest is that when you are resting your chin on the pad you are essentially limiting your stroke to using only the small muscles of the shoulders. You cannot engage the larger muscles of your back. This means that any time you are using the chin rest you are compromising your power output.
Bottom line: you will have less power and increased risk of injury when you use a chin rest.
For your second question, when you are starting out paddling it will take some time to get used to the position. Prolonged pain on your rib cage, however, is not OK. You are either one a board that does not fit your right or your are too far forward (or back on the board). Without seeing you paddle it is hard to comment further on this question.
You also want to make sure you are paddling on your knees. If you are having a tough time knee paddling build up to it. Do 5 strokes then stop. 10 strokes then stop. 15 strokes then stop. Build all the way up until you can paddle on your knees with ease for a few minutes at a time.