If you are an avid SUP enthusiast who lives in a seasonal climate you probably spend much of the winter counting down the days until you can use your board again. Maybe you even take a tropical trip in the winter to thaw out and keep your paddling skills sharp.
But for many people, the winter is a time when our abdomens get soft and our core strength starts to diminish. But as summer approaches, it is important to make sure your body is ready for a long season of SUP boarding.
Rather than going full steam ahead when your body isn’t ready, try some gym and at-home exercises to get your body ready for SUP boarding. Various planks, squats, and lunges are very helpful in engaging your upper body, lower body, and core. Pushups are also great for the abdomen and shoulders - crucial SUP target areas. Yoga and pilates are also great for building core strength and improving balance.
You can do many workouts to help get in shape for SUP season. The important thing is that you don’t over-stress your muscles right away when paddling, as this increases the risk of injury. Instead, take several weeks, or even months, to get your body in paddling shape so you can get on the water with confidence this summer.
What Muscle Groups Does SUP Boarding Target?
SUP boarding is a full-body workout. That is one of the many benefits of SUP boarding. It also means that when you prepare your body for another season of SUP boarding, you need to prepare all of your muscle groups.
From your upper back, shoulders, and pectorals to your biceps and triceps in the arms - SUP boarding fully engages your upper body. It also relies heavily on your abdominal core for both strength and balance.
And while you might feel a lot of the burn above the waist, your lower body also does lots of work - including your hamstrings, glutes, and hip flexors. So when you start to exercise your body to get ready for SUP season, it is important you engage your entire body, not just certain parts.
When To Start Getting Your Body Ready For SUP Season
You might be wondering if it is too early or too late to get ready for SUP boarding season. The answer is, it is never too late or too early. But for best results, it is best to start preparing your body at least one month before you start hitting the water.
One month will allow your body to start getting used to using certain muscles again. It will also give you a little time to heal from any soreness. Yoga and pilates might not show instant physical results, but you will quickly feel a difference in your core and balance. If possible, try and keep up with one yoga or balance class regularly in the off-season. This will keep you well-stretched and keep your body in good equilibrium.
Nine Exercises To Get Your Body Ready For SUP Boarding
One of the oldest exercises, pushups, is still considered a highly effective one. Pushups also happen to work out several core muscles that you use a lot when SUP boarding. When you paddle, you use a lot of upper body and abdominal strength. When you do pushups the primary muscle groups you are targeting include your pectoral muscles, your deltoids, and your trapezius muscles. Pushups are one of many great chest exercises for paddlers.
These muscles are located in your chest, shoulders, and upper back. These are key areas that paddling targets. You also activate your abdominal muscles and your core in similar ways you would when SUP boarding. Another benefit of pushups is you can literally do them anywhere.
Situps are another exercise, like pushups, that has been around for ages and you can practice practically anywhere. Situps activate almost all of your abdominal muscles in a major way. This is critical since a strong abdomen is critical when it comes to paddling on your SUP board.
Situps also engage your hip flexors and a bit of your lower body. This is helpful since hips also play a strong role when standing up on your board.
Plank exercises are popular and helpful for those looking to get their bodies SUP season ready. T-planks are one of the most effective types of planks when it comes to activating key muscle groups used in SUP boarding.
A T-plank is when you start in a standard plank position (the upward resting position of a pushup), and then contract your abs while lifting one arm straight up as you rotate your body. Your body shape forms a sideways T, hence the name. This exercise engages your core, balance, and a variety of key muscle groups - making it perfect for SUP boarders training for the summer.
If you live somewhere that has a pool open throughout the year, consider getting a membership. Just like SUP boarding, swimming is an all-body workout. It is also a low-impact workout. This means that you won’t hurt your joints, but will likely experience all the benefits.
Swimming is excellent for shoulder muscle strength, as well as your back and side muscles. Best of all, it is a great cardio and weight loss workout. This is helpful for those hoping to fit into their wetsuits after the inevitable winter weight gain.
5. Side Planks
Another popular plank exercise is the side plank. SUP boarding involves a lot of side muscle strength since you are using both sides to propel you forward. One great way to build muscle strength on your sides (and throughout your body) is by doing side planks.
Side planks involve starting on your side with your upper body propped up by one arm bent down at the elbow. You then lift your body up, at essentially a 45-degree angle, and hold that pose for intermittent periods. This is a great workout to mix in with T-planks.
6. Jumping Lunges
Lunges are another great exercise to help prepare your body for SUP season. While you might feel a lot of energy used on your upper body when you paddle, your lower body also does lots of work, so leg workouts are very important. Your glutes, hamstring, and hip flexors are all crucial to a strong paddling body.
Jumping lunges target all of these areas, and are a great way to engage your lower body and get it ready for SUP boarding.
Another very important exercise that will get your body ready for SUP boarding season is the squat. Squats are another highly effective workout for your lower body for any sport. SUP boarding often involves you standing in a partial squat, so it is only natural that squats are part of the workout regimen. You can squat with weights at the gym or do squats without weights by holding poses for longer intervals.
If you are looking for an off-season workout to supplement your SUP boarding when the weather is too cold, you may want to consider pilates. Pilates is a popular workout you can do in a group and class setting, or on your own at home.
It is one of the most effective practices for engaging your abdominal core. It also works to strengthen many muscle groups and even helps improve your balance.
These days, SUP yoga is everywhere. But just because you can’t get on your SUP board doesn’t mean you can’t still have a meaningful yoga practice. There is a reason yoga and SUP go hand in hand - and that reason is balance.
Both SUP boarding and yoga involve engaging your body and its muscles through balance, focus, and movement. Doing some yoga a few times a week will greatly help your balance, tone your muscles, and also give your muscles some great stretching they might require after a month or two of lethargy.
Summing Up How To Prepare Your Body For SUP Boarding
There are a plethora of exercises you can do to help prepare your body for SUP boarding this summer. You can do group classes in the form of yoga and pilates, as both of these help with your core strength and balance. Or perhaps you might want to focus on some at-home exercises, including various planks and lunges. Gyms are great for squats and other muscle training, and if you find one with a year-round pool - even better.
Regardless of what exercises you choose, staying active and stretching will make hopping back on your SUP board all that much easier and enjoyable when the long-awaited first summer day finally comes.