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Essential SUP Exercises For Active & Aspiring Paddle Boarders

Posted by Robyn Dawson

Whether you enjoy paddle boarding once day, week, month, or year, you’ll know that it’s a great way to keep fit. There are plenty of SUP workouts that you can practice both on and off the water, to help perfect your paddling skills while boosting your fitness levels at the same time. So, if you’re hoping to stay on your game, we’ve put together some essential SUP exercises for you to try out!

Roll Ups

One of the best paddle board core workouts you can do is roll ups. For this SUP exercise you want to start by lying on your back with your knees bent (as if you were about to do a sit up), and your arms stretched upabove your head, holding your paddle. Engaging your core, raise the paddle towards your knees, and come back to the starting position. To increase the intensity of this SUP exercise, you can keep your legs fully extended, rather than bent at the knees, and stop when your paddle is just above your toes.

Floor L- Sits

L-Sits are another great SUP exercise for working your core. Start in a seated position with your legs stretched out in front of you, and back straight. With your palms flat on the floor, push yourself away from the floor so that your rear and thighs are off the floor but your heels are still on the ground. Try your best to keep your shoulders down so that you're not shrugging, and hold for as long as you can up to 60 seconds. 

It may take a while but once you're able to hold it for 60 seconds, you can make it more difficult for yourself by lifting one of your legs off the ground so that only one foot remains on the floor. With enough time and practice, you might be able to get both feet off the ground at the same time! 

Fit Man in push up position mid-burpee
Sporty Woman Doing An L-Sit

Burpees

Burpees work your whole body, but are a particularly good SUP exercise for targeting your core, shoulders and upper back. To do a burpee you’ll need to start in a squat position with your knees bent, back straight, and feet shoulder width apart. Lower your hands to the floor so that they’re just inside your feet and kick your feet back so you’re on your hands and toes in a push up position. Do a frog kick and jump your feet back to return to the starting position. Repeat the exercise for as many reps as you feel comfortable doing. Doing this SUP exercise on the water is a real test of your strength and balance, and so it’s a great way to build up your coordination and endurance.

Kneeling Plank/Full Plank

Planks are a great SUP exercise for building your core and upper body strength. You can practice planks at home or in the gym, and then translate them onto the board for more of a challenge. When you first start doing planks on your paddle board, it can help to start with kneeling planks, where you come down onto your elbows and hands, before building up to full planks.

Side Plank With Hip Lift

If you want to make your plank workouts even more challenging, then try out a side plank with hip lift. Start by lying lengthways on your paddle board (or yoga mat if you’re practising at home), with your right forearm on the board, making sure it is directly below your shoulder, and parallel to the edge of the board. Using your obliques, gently raise your hips off the ground and lower back down, engaging your core as you do so. You can position your feet one on top of each other, or place your left foot on the board in front of your right foot

Woman sat on paddle board in a Yoga Pose
Woman in Downward-facing Dog Pose on a paddle board

SUP Yoga

We couldn’t talk about essential SUP exercises without mentioning SUP yoga. Doing yoga on your paddle board is tranquil and relaxing, but it’s also a really great workout for your whole body. There are many different SUP yoga poses you can try out including downward dog, mountain pose and savasana. Make sure to check out our guide to SUP yoga for more information.