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How to Train for Stand Up Paddle Boarding

During this video we'll do a quick demo of 8 exercises and lay out a basic training plan for you to improve your SUP performance and minimize injury.

The 8 exercises for stand up paddling that we will work on are:

  • Skater with uppercut 
  • Single leg deadlift 
  • Chop 
  • Lift 
  • Squat and row 
  • Side plank with leg raise 
  • Step up with lateral leg raise 
  • Hip clock 

During this video we'll do a quick demo of each exercise and lay out a basic training plan for you. Remember, before you start any exercise to consult your doctor or physical therapist if needed.

Skater With Uppercut 

A great full-body workout to incorporate a little bit of cardio while you work on balance and some of that rotational power is the skater with uppercut. So as Anna gets ready she's really making sure that as she lands and her knees not wobbling or going too far over her toe. She's staying nice and tall as she really comes through with that uppercut. A great way to make it easier is that when she comes over she's just gonna do a step instead of a jump. Do your best to do fifteen each direction.

Single Leg Deadlift

To really focus on balance, as well as building up the endurance of your hip muscles, the single leg deadlift is a great way to work on that knee control as you're working on dynamic balance. Here and you can see as Anna goes over, she's keeping that back nice and flat not letting those hips wobble or her knee vary too much. Try to do about 15 to 20 each side per set. A nice way to make it easier is to go into this kickstand position and Anne is still focusing most of her effort on that front leg. If you're really looking for a challenge you can go into a full extended position really working on endurance of those back muscles.


With the chop it's gonna be important to remember to keep those arms nice and straight and think about turning through the torso here. Anna is doing a great job of really letting her abs do the work and moving that resistance. You want to shoot for a medium resistance band trying to do 15 repetitions each side for one set. Some easy ways to modify it are moving away from that point of anchor and really making that band tighter or you can move closer to your point of anchor and make that band a little bit lighter. 


As you do the lift remember to really turn through your trunk and not your arms to minimize the loading on your shoulders, and then as you come through really extending on your toe to work on that glute versus arching through your back. Anns is only going to do a few for us but try to do 15 each side for one set. Then to make it a little bit harder you can of course move away from your anchor point to make that band tighter or you can move towards it and make it a little bit lighter. Shoot for a band that's about medium resistance.

Single Leg Squat And Row 

To really start to work on that trunk control and build up that nice power that you need during a stroke, this exercise is a great way to work on both endurance of those lower body muscles, the longer you're in that seat, and then of course trying to generate that power and control through the trunk. As you see here Anna is not twisting and turning as she does that row and keeping that knee in a good position, not extending too far over her toe. Try to do 15 on each side if you can. To make it a little bit easier, Anna's gonna stay in this kickstand position to feel nice and stable.

Side Plank With Leg Raised The Side

Plank itself is a good exercise but with the leg raised it really works on having that body awareness as you're moving dynamically. Ao as Anna gets ready she's gonna make sure that her elbow is right underneath her shoulder and when she lifts, her hip stays in line with her torso. As she raises she's not wobbling back and forth. Try to do 12 to 15. If you can to make it one set as you're going through it, don't forget to breathe. Then if you want to make it a little bit easier, see if you can drop that bottom knee and then just lift that top leg.

Step Up With Lateral Leg Raise

A nice way to really work on building that power through those quads and those glutes while adding a bit of balance is the step up with lateral leg raise exercise. So as Anna steps up she's gonna make sure she stays nice and tall as that leg goes out to the side maintaining her balance the whole time. As she does this she's gonna make sure that her knee doesn't extend too far over her toe or wobble side to side. She's really trying to focus on keeping that back nice and straight. Try to do 15 each side if you can. To make it a little bit easier you can eliminate the step or as Anna’s doing here, just kind of hovering that foot to the side.

Hip Clock

As you work through the hip clock some things to remember are trying to not let that knee wobble and then as you take it into different directions like Anna is here not letting your weight shift over. Ideally you'd run through this about four or five times on each leg for one set. And making sure as Anna's doing coming up to a nice tall position between each movement. To make it a little bit easier try not to go out as far and really focus on that balance part of it and then, to make it harder, go ahead and see if you can squat deeper into each position.

Now that you've gone through that once, take a little break maybe a couple minutes and see if you can go back through those exercises two to three more times. When planning out your week try to incorporate these two to three times with some added cardio, and of course days of rest. The more you do these, the more you should feel confident on balancing on that board and staying out on the water longer.

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