Getting a Workout with Your Stand-Up Paddleboard (SUP)

Getting a Workout with Your Stand-Up Paddleboard (SUP)

Whether you’re new to paddleboarding or you want to take your SUP adventures to the next level, you can benefit from a full-body workout whenever you use your paddleboard, even if it’s just for recreation. Many people have heard what a great workout you can get on a standup paddleboard, but if you’re thinking you need to be a pro to do so, this post will explain how you can get a workout as soon as you buy a paddleboard and hit the water.

standup paddleboard

What You Can Expect from a SUP Workout

Not only can you just enjoy paddleboarding but also your stand-up paddleboard can give you a great workout even when you’re just out for fun. How many calories you burn while paddleboarding depends on several factors, including your age, weight, and the intensity of your paddling, but because of the mechanics of paddleboarding, you get a more efficient workout than you would with traditional forms of exercise.

Paddleboarding’s unique form of exercise offers you unique benefits. Regardless of age, athletic ability, or experience on a paddleboard, SUP boards can offer many benefits that impact your daily life in a positive way:

  • Increased core strength: Core strength helps you to make powerful movements whether on the water or in everyday life. Because of the mechanics of paddleboarding, you increase core strength and burn calories simply by balancing on your stand-up paddleboard in the water. So even beginners can absorb this benefit. To properly paddle, you need to remain upright, with your eyes on the horizon, not your feet. Then as you paddle through the water, you’re using not only your upper body strength to pull through the water, but also your core strength and you complete a full range of motion. You don’t have to be paddling furiously or in rough waters to build your core strength. You can be a beginner who is just touring recreationally and still get this benefit.
  • Increased body awareness: Body awareness is a skill we begin learning in infancy and refers to sensing where your body is in a space. This skill helps you to perform dynamic actions and benefits all ages and athletic abilities. Athletes need enhanced body awareness to make physical adjustments suddenly and smoothly without going off balance. Increased body awareness trains people of all ages to seamlessly change positions without falling, to avoid obstacles, and to anticipate how to react or prepare for a change in your space, like when you crouch down to absorb the impact of a wave on your board.
  • Increased core stability: Core stability often gets confused with core strength, but core stability helps you maintain balance as well as a stable posture, so you can maintain your position without falling over. Obviously, balancing yourself on the water on your inflatable SUP works enhances your core stability, and this balancing act translates to moving off the water as well.
  • Increased performance on and off the water: When you put core strength and stability together with increased body awareness, you create a powerful combination for increased performance. Whether you want to get better at paddleboarding, a specific sport, or just want to move easier and better in your life each day, using your paddleboard can get you results.
  • Increased mental health: Working out already has tremendous, proven benefits for your mental health. From decreasing stress to regulating mood, working out has nothing but positive benefits for your mentality. In addition, working out with your paddleboard means getting out in a beautiful setting, soaking up your surroundings, and staying away from the hustle, bustle, and comparing that goes on in a gym, thereby reducing your stress even further.

While everyone else grinds away at the gym, you can relax, release stress, and work out efficiently on the water with your stand-up paddleboard. The movement you make on your paddleboard works your entire body, especially your core. So you end up burning calories no matter how leisurely you pace yourself, and you can enjoy the workout much more in beautiful surroundings compared to a gym.

standup paddleboard

Gearing Up for a SUP Workout

You don’t need much to get started working out on your SUP, but you want to be sure you buy a quality stand-up paddleboard that suits your needs. Whether you want an inflatable SUP board or an all-around paddleboard, as long as you have a board, paddle, and water, you’re set to go. You don’t have to fork over a pricey gym membership each month or work out at the same location each day. With a standup board, you can go anywhere you find water and get your workout done. If you select an inflatable SUP board, you have even more options because of its portability.

When you invest in a quality stand-up paddleboard, you have an excellent piece of athletic and recreational equipment that will last. Normally, when you buy exercise equipment, you end up having it sit in a corner and collect dust. Worse yet, many gym memberships go unused, and those that do use the gym use less than half of the equipment available. Not so with your paddleboard—especially when it comes to inflatable SUPs, you have an easy-to-store, fun-to-use piece of equipment that you can use for fun or sport, and you get a workout no matter how you use it!

While paddleboarding itself is a great workout, you can also take your fitness to the next level by trying out these workouts:

  • Core workout: If you have a core routine you love, give it a try on your paddleboard. Not only will it be more intense because you have to balance on your board, but you can take an ordinary core routine and make it much more challenging just by doing it on the water.
  • Yoga: Yoga has become a very popular SUP workout because, like a core workout, taking it to your board means an added level of maintaining stability with each pose. Poses you’ve had nailed for months become a challenge again when you try them on your board.
  • Interval training: Especially if you’re just starting out with paddleboarding, interval training can be a great way to work out while also perfecting your form. Just like you might do intervals while running or walking or on another piece of cardio equipment, challenge yourself to different intervals of time with varying amounts of rest to get your heart really pumping.
  • SUP touring or surfing: If you don’t want to do a specific workout and just want to have fun on your board, then select try touring or surfing. With touring, you can keep the intensity low if you want and paddle for long or short distances. Varying abilities and levels of experience on a SUP can handle touring. For surfing, you might want to be sure you have the basics down first and then give it a go. The challenge and intensity depend on the level of waves in your area, but you can definitely get a full-body workout, even as a newbie, with SUP surfing.

Whether you choose a specific workout or simply get out on the water and paddle off, paddleboarding is a great way to work in some fitness in a fun way. Regardless of whether you use your SUP to get better at paddleboarding or to improve your fitness and burn calories, you get the benefit of both!