Like every sport, if you want to maximize your abilities in standup paddle boarding, it helps to perform the right exercises and condition your body to succeed. Good core strength is a necessity to become a competitor in the sport, along with some pretty buff arms and back muscles. Here are a few exercises to try if you want to up your game on your next outing.
Much like in surfing, to SUP you have to be able to balance yourself on the board whether you’re standing, getting ready to pop up or trying to pull yourself back on after a spill. Balance pushups are a great way to learn how to steady yourself effectively.
Begin by placing a weighted bar across a balance board or bosu ball then get your body down in the pushup position. With your hands gripping the bar just past where the ball or board ends, push yourself up and lower back down in slow, controlled motions. Always remember to keep your arms at a natural 90-degree angle.
The Paddle Squat
The paddle squat is a variation of the normal squat but with a paddle instead of a barbell and weights. It’s allows you to use the same amount of weight you’ll need to be accustomed to out on the water, though you can also do this in the gym with weights if you prefer to make more gains. Stand with your legs slightly wider than shoulder width with the paddle held above your head with both hands. Perform a squat, counting to three on the way down and the way back up.
As you perform your sets, slowly move your legs apart and push your arms closer together to increase the difficulty. If you’re really feeling bold, you can try this one while standing atop a bosu ball to increase the difficulty.
The plank is one of the greatest exercises for developing core strength no matter what sport you’re training for, but it’s especially great for SUP. Start in the normal plank position with your forearms and elbows on the floor, palms facing each other and your thumbs up. Engage your core by keeping your body as flat and parallel to the ground as possible, balancing on your forearms and toes. Try to hold this position for at least two minutes.
For a little variation, go up and down from your underarms to your hands, one at a time, and keep this up for another two minutes. You can also brink the plank up onto your side if you feel up to it.
Swiss ISO Twist
While paddling, your body will rotate as you change your paddle from side to side, so mimicking this movement in the gym is a great way to increase strength and endurance while on the board. You’ll need resistance cables and a Swiss ball to perform this exercise.
Straddle the ball while facing perpendicular to the resistance cables. Grab the cables with both hands and pull them to the other side of your body, while trying not to rotate your hips. After your set, switch sides on the ball and pull in the opposite direction.