Stand Up Paddle Board Workouts

Stand up paddle boarding is huge right now, and it owes some of that popularity to the countless influencers snapping pictures of themselves exercising on SUPs.

It seems like the perfect way to get your daily exercise—the sun is setting, the waves are calm, and it’s just you and Mother Nature.

Whether exercising is your sole reason for buying a paddle board, or you’re just looking for a unique way to use your board, the following guide will help.

Balance and Core Exercises (Building Abdominal Muscles)

The great thing about paddle boarding is that it requires a lot of balance and core strength. The more you move around, the more balance you need. You’re constantly contracting those abdominal muscles and depending on the exercises you perform, you should also work your leg muscles and back muscles.

It’s a complete workout routine with only the most basic of movements.

To maximize the benefits, try incorporating the following exercises into a full-body workout routine:

  • Squats: Stand straight with your legs shoulder-width apart. Grip the paddle and hold your arms out in front of you. Slowly squat down until your knees are level with your thighs and then rise again. You can push yourself harder by lifting up to your toes and down beyond the parallel, but the latter is not recommended if you have bad knees or weak thighs.
  • Push-Ups: A simple push-up performed at a moderate pace and with slow, methodical movements is great for your chest and core muscles. You’ll need to tuck your arms in, though, and perform the push-up so that your elbows point toward your legs and not outward. These compact push-ups focus more on your triceps and ensure that you have plenty of space on the board.
  • Leg Raises: Lie on your back and either place your arms by your side or reach behind you and grip the rail. With your legs together and straight, slowly raise them up until they are pointing straight into the air, and then lower them. It’s a good workout for your core muscles and you should feel it after just a few movements.
  • Seated Row: Sit down in the middle of the board and place your legs out in front of you with your knees slightly bent. Using the paddle, row on one side and then the other, making sure you row slowly and forcefully and that you keep your back straight at all times.
  • Standing Row: You can perform the same row above but in a standing position. It’s the same movement that you perform when moving the board, but the trick is to make your movements slower and more deliberate.
  • Leans: Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart and your arms by your side. Lean on one side until your arm reaches down to your knee and then gradually straighten before doing the same on the other side.

For more balance exercise ideas, take a look at this great workout from SBS Boards on YouTube.

Cardio Workouts

Many SUP workouts combine a string of simple movements, such as those discussed above. If they are cardio-based, however, then they may focus more on speed and circuit training, getting your heart pumping, and helping you to burn calories.

A cardio workout doesn’t need to involve running and other high-intensity exercises. It can include a deep squat routine, some presses, sit-ups, push-ups, and other basics.

For some ideas, take a look at the following SUP board workouts on YouTube:

Questions about Exercising and Paddle Boarding

Still got a few questions about using your paddle board for exercise? Take a look below to see the most commonly asked questions relating to exercise and stand up paddle boarding.

Are Stand Up Paddle Boards Good Exercise?

SUP surfing in general is a good workout. You’re constantly moving your upper body and testing your core. In terms of calories burned per minute, it’s not the best, and if you’re looking to build muscle there are better options out there. But while it’s not as effective as lifting heavy weights or spinning, it’s certainly more entertaining.

Does Stand Up Paddle Boarding Build Muscle?

A full-body workout that involves many balance and core exercises can build muscle. However, the best way to build muscle is through something known as progressive overload, which means constantly adding weight to the bar or difficulty to your workout so that your muscles are pushed during every workout. That’s not easy to do with paddle boarding.

What Muscles Do You Work Paddle Boarding?

Your abdominal muscles, back muscles, and shoulders get a good workout when you paddle board.

Can You Get Ripped by Paddle Boarding?

Getting “ripped” is a combination of having low body fat and a lot of muscle. Paddle boarding is a fun way to burn calories and work your muscles, and if it’s combined with a calorie-controlled high-protein diet, as well as some complementary gym work, it can help you to meet your fitness journey.

If you’re hoping that paddle boarding will do all of the work for you, you’re going to be very disappointed.