Stand-up paddleboarding requires strong muscles throughout the body because the balancing and paddling uses your arms, core, back and legs. Get your muscles ready to paddleboard before you start, then add some uncomplicated exercises to your paddling workout to target muscle groups.
Before You Board
Like surfboarding, getting up on the paddleboard in the water takes some practice. Pushing your body up out of a pool can help you get the motion down pat. Jump in a pool in the deep end, then put both hands on the side about shoulder-width apart. Dip your body down into the pool and kick upward to gain momentum as you push your body up evenly with both arms. Although you might eventually be able to gain enough momentum to land on your knees on the side, start with your stomach and swing your legs up. Working with an exercise ball can also help get your arms, back and core ready to perform the paddling motion. Sit on your knees with the ball in front of you. Put both hands on the ball, then roll it forward. Lift up off your knees slightly to keep your back straight as you roll the ball as far forward as possible -- this takes powerful abdominal muscles. Pull it back, bringing your elbows back behind you and squeezing your shoulder blades.
By nature, yoga requires you to develop good balance. Paddleboarding also requires balance, making the two a natural pair. While on the board, practice your downward-facing dog stance, where your feet and hands are on the board with your hips in the air -- your arms, back and legs should be straight with your body making an upside-down "V" shape. This stance is helpful when you're trying to stand up on the board as well. Get on your hands and knees, then lift your hips. Walk your hands back toward your legs, then up your legs without moving your feet.
The length of the board lends itself well to poses such as the Warrior pose, which is similar to a lunge position. Straighten one leg behind you with your foot turned outward, then bend your front knee to a 90-degree angle. Lift your arms over your head and touch your hands together, pulling upward through your shoulders to stretch your core and arms. Open your arms out to the sides to help maintain your balance if necessary.
The constant minute position changes required to keep your body on the board means your core is always working on a paddleboard. However, you can target that area with exercises such as the Superman, in which you lie on your stomach and lift your arms and legs a few inches off the board. Or, lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the board, holding the paddle across your body with both hands. Lift your upper body in a sit-up, twisting the paddle to each side to work your oblique muscles.
Squats on land can help build your thigh muscles, which get a powerful workout on a paddleboard. You can also perform squats on the board with your paddle held out in front of you parallel to the water. Add a toe lift at the top of the move to engage your calves. To reach the abductor muscles on the outside of your side, lie on your side on the board and lift your upper leg about 1 foot off the board and hold at the top for three seconds before lowering. Lift your bottom leg a few inches off the board with your foot flexed to work your adductor muscles on the inside of your thighs.
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