The Best Types of Exercise for Stand Up Paddleboarding

There’s nothing quite like being on the water on a stand-up paddleboard (SUP). However, as most SUPers know, that isn’t always a possibility. Bad weather, winter and 101 other factors can prevent you from going SUPing, but whatever the reason, it’s important that you get some exercise to stay fit and healthy. That way, when you do get to use your board again, it won’t come as too much of a shock to your body.

The best types of exercise for stand up paddleboarding aren’t just for regulars who aren’t able to go SUPing as often as they’d like. Everyone who has a SUP should be doing them, and if you’re planning to get yourself a board and join in the fun on the water, you should be doing them too.

Boosting Your Balance

The following exercises help you train for SUPing in various ways. One of the most important of them is increasing the strength of your core muscles, which is where your power to paddle comes from.

They can improve your balance, and as you probably know or have guessed, maintaining a good balance is an essential part of using a SUP. This is especially true if you plan to use your board on the ocean. A steady balance not only lowers your chances of falling off your board, but it can also help you make smoother strokes with your paddle. These exercises also help your arm and shoulder muscles to endure the constant motion of paddling.

Although we’re not focusing on cardio, that is something you can add to the regime. A great way to do this is to swim or to do aerobics; both of which can help you strengthen your heart and your lungs.

A Weekly Training Schedule

Before embarking on any training schedule, you first should check with your doctor or another health professional. Assuming they give you the go-ahead, you could look at working out according to the following weekly schedule.

Do three nonconsecutive days of strength and balance training and do two nonconsecutive days of cardio. Give yourself two nonconsecutive days of rest.

It’s important to move at your own pace, so don’t be ashamed to start slowly. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself and don’t be afraid to modify the exercises if they are not suited to your fitness level or build. If you hurt or strain yourself, take a few consecutive days of rest to give your body a chance to recover. You should find that, over time, the following exercises for SUPing become easier. You can then increase the number of repetitions and build strength and stamina.

Things To Remember

Make sure you warm up before you start. The easiest way to do this is to go for a brisk walk for five to 10 minutes. If you are training at a gym, use your favorite equipment for a similar length of time.

Do each of the following exercises for between 30 and 60 seconds and repeat each of them up to three times. Remember to breathe regularly and be sure to rest for a few moments between each round. 45 seconds should be long enough for you to catch your breath.

Opposite Arm And Leg Reaches

Stand on your right foot, reach your left leg back, and reach your right arm forward. Keep your stretch firm, and then aim to stretch your raised arm and leg so that your body is parallel to the ground (forming a T-shape). Return to a standing position, and then repeat by standing on your left foot, reaching your right leg back, and your left arm forward.


Stand with your feet apart and position them as wide as your hips are. Squat down, bending the knees, as though you are sitting on a chair and aim to touch the ground. Squats can help you make smooth transitions when you are on your SUP.

Tandem Balance

Begin in a standing position. Place your right foot in front of your left foot, with the heel of the right foot touching the big toe of your left foot. Cross your hands over your chest, Egyptian mummy-style. Hold the position for 30 to 60 seconds, and then switch so that your left foot is in front of your right foot. This exercise can help you improve your balance, and it can be even more effective if you close your eyes while doing it.


You will need a resistance band for dorsiflexion. Sit on the ground with your legs straight out in front of you. Put the band around the top of one foot, and then around something that will not move or fall. Relax your toes while pulling your foot toward your shin. This exercise will work your ankles and your shin muscles.

Single Arm Pull

Single arm pulls also require a resistance band. Stand with your feet apart positioning them so that they are as wide as your hips. Attach the band to something that will not move, and then pull it back slowly, using one arm only. Stop when your elbow reaches the side of your body, tucking your shoulder blade toward your spine. Repeat with the other arm.

Plank Hold

Position yourself as though getting ready to do push-ups. Your feet should be hip-width apart, and your hands should be under your shoulders. Do not bring your shoulders up toward your ears. Hold the position for 30 to 60 seconds. You can intensify it by raising one arm toward the sky, and then repeating this on the other side.

Hip Clock

Stand with your weight on your left leg, with the knee bent slightly, and keep your back straight. Lift your right leg and extend it into a 12 o’clock position. Move your right leg back to the center, and then raise it and move it into the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions, bringing it back to the center each time. Repeat on the other side. Do this 5 times with each leg.

These exercises will help get you in peak shape for SUPing and make balancing and paddling so much easier. By doing them regularly you’ll not only be fitter, but you’ll also reap the rewards of more successful sessions on the water.


Written in partnership with Kayak Guru