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SUP Training Exercises For Beginner & Intermediate Paddlers

Posted by Jasmine Butler

Whether you’ve just started stand up paddle boarding or have been going out on your SUP for a while, you’ll know how much of a workout it is. Doing SUP training exercises off the water is a great way to build your strength, stamina and balance, which will help to improve your paddling skills when you’re next out on the water. So, before you head out on your next SUP adventure, why not try out the following SUP training exercises?

Paddle Squats

This is a simple standing squat, but with your paddle in your hand! It might be a simple exercise, however a squat does wonders for working your quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves. Lifting your paddle square over your head when you do it, helps to build strength in your back muscles as well.

Jumping Lunges

Perfect for building strength in your hamstrings, glutes and calves, jumping lunges are another simple SUP training exercise that you can practice at home. Start by doing static lunges, and once you’ve perfected that, incorporate a jump as you switch legs. This is also a great SUP exercise for increasing coordination and balance, which as we know, is very important when you’re on a paddle board!

Woman Doing Jumping Lunge

Plank Walkouts

Building core strength is an essential part of SUP training, and plank walkouts are a great way to improve this. Plank walkouts also activate the shoulder and back muscles, which are used a lot in paddle boarding. Start by standing with your legs shoulder width apart and your hands on the floor. Next, keeping your core tight, walk your hands forward until you’re in a plank position and hold. You can repeat the exercise as many times as you like.

Press Ups

Upper body strength is essential for paddle boarding, and so press ups are always going to be a useful exercise for SUP training. Press ups are great for strengthening your chest, shoulders and abdominals, as well as your lower back. If at any point you feel like press ups are becoming too easy, you can make it more difficult for yourself by inserting a clap. To do a clap press up, you'll need to push yourself away from the floor with enough force to get you off the ground and give you time to clap before lowering yourself back into the press up position. It's not easy, but it is fun to do once you're able.    

Side Lunges

Another great SUP training exercise for improving your balance is side lunges. Side lunges are a quick & simple exercise to practice at home, however they are great for working leg muscles in a similar way to how they are worked when you’re on the board.

Front view of a fit woman doing side lunges near the river
Man doing a Push Up in his garden

Plank T Rotations

This SUP training exercise mimics the core rotation required when paddling, making it a great exercise to practice off the water in order to help build your balance and strength. Start in a plank position, tighten your abs and glutes, and reach your elbow up towards the sky, looking in the same direction. Complete equal reps on either side.

Superman Plank

Another variation on the plank that is great for SUP training is the superman plank. Start in a plank position and extend your right arm forward while lifting your left leg back, making sure to keep both your leg and your arm parallel to the floor. Switch the arm and the leg you are lifting, and carry on in this pattern. This exercise is particularly good for strengthening your core. Once you build up your skills and experience, you can start translating some of these exercises onto the water. SUP yoga, for instance, is a great core workout that you can do while on the water.

For more SUP training and paddle board exercise ideas, check out our list of essential exercises for active and aspiring paddle boarders