SUP Basic Exercise 5 – The Simple Push-Up

Stand up paddling can keep you fit, healthy and active.

Your circulatory system, core, upper and lower body muscle groups all benefit. Aside from that, it is just plain fun to get out there on the water and paddle your SUP board in the surf, on a calm lake or a turbulent river!

If you are trying to re-create that 6 pack ab, beach body look you had when you were younger, this sport can help you achieve that as well.

Before you get started though, you need to exercise properly.

What appears to be a peaceful paddle can actually be an intense test of your physical ability.

SUP exercises like the squat, Codman’s pendulum, the pretzel twist and the plank do a great job of getting your body in the proper condition for paddle boarding. The basic push-up is excellent as well.


SUP Basic Exercise #5 – Push-Ups

What could be simpler than a traditional push-up?

You probably do not have to be instructed how to perform this globally recognizable exercise. Even those in very poor physical shape can usually manage 1 or 2 push-ups.

The benefits to your body are perfect for complementing paddle boarding.

Lie face down on your board or on the floor.

Slowly rise up onto your toes.

Work your hands out to your sides, palms face down. Your palms should be located just outside or directly underneath your shoulders.

Push up slowly, extending and strengthening your arms.

Hold at the top, then slowly return to the prone position.

Push-ups are great exercises for your shoulders, arms and upper body. Since the paddling movement which you will be continually repeating on your SUP requires that those muscle groups are strong, push-ups are perfect for getting you ready to hit the water on your board.

You can also derive excellent core benefits from push-ups if you contract and compress your stomach as you are performing them.

If you are just getting started, feel free to balance on your knees rather than your toes.

Build up so you can do several repetitions, and practice this simple exercise only after warming up and stretching first.

If you find classic push-ups too easy (or too hard), there are basically hundreds of other push-up variations that can give you either an easier or more challenging workout.

Check out this video:


Core fitness is essential for the SUP enthusiast. From getting aboard to bailing out, every action requires strength and balance.

Take out time every day to strengthen your core muscles to prevent injury. Plus, you’ll look like a million bucks on with your ripped core and toned muscles!

SUP Basic Exercise 4 – The Plank

There are some SUP exercises delivering excellent total body benefits. They help keep you fit and healthy, on and off your board.

So many of the movements that you make each and every day benefit from the exercises you use to become a better paddle boarder.

Improved balance and flexibility, as well as excellent core, lower and upper body strength, are delivered by simple bodyweight exercises like the plank.

Similar to the squat in its flexibility and total body strengthening rewards, the basic plank has given rise to several variations.

But the standard plank still delivers plenty of benefits. (This is one SUP exercise you can perform at home, before you climb on your board, or even out on the water.


SUP Basic Exercise #3 – Planks

Lay facedown on your board or on the ground. Imagine your body as stiff and straight as a plank.

That is the form you are trying to achieve. However, unlike a push-up, you want to place your body weight on your forearms.

Your elbows should be vertically directly below your shoulders, and your arms shoulder width apart.

Raise your stomach, back and lower body up onto your toes. Keep your legs and your back stiff and straight.

You should now be balanced on your forearms and toes. (If having your palms flat on your board or the ground does not feel natural, you can clasp your hands together. You can also raise up onto your hands as opposed to your forearms for more of a workout.)

When you first start out, holding this position while contracting your abdominal muscles might be tough for just 20 or 30 seconds. Hold for as long as you can.

Several repetitions are recommended. You want to build up your ability to hold the plank position for 2 minutes or more.

When you reach that level of fitness, you are experiencing exceptionally strong core muscles. This is an exercise was can be performed anywhere, at any time. It delivers many total body benefits to your circulatory system, gluteus maximus, shoulders, core, flexibility and balance.


Plank variations include the knee plank, side plank, single leg plank and literally dozens more.

Perform this SUP exercise with others like Codman’s pendulum, the pretzel twist and squat and you will look, feel and perform like a stand up paddle board veteran your first time out.

Check out this cool Youtube video on plank variations that you can attempt if you want to challenge yourself!

SUP Basic Exercise 3 – The Simple Squat

If you want that head-turning beach body look, strengthening your core is of the utmost importance!

That is one reason the SUP movement has been so popular the last few years. The waist-swiveling motion of paddling, combined with the core-crunching resistance of pushing your paddle through the water, is a perfect recipe for burning the flab and fat that likes to accumulate on the front and sides of your core.

But there is a problem.

Newbies are flocking to sporting goods stores and scooping up SUP equipment without realising they need to be in good enough shape so that they don’t suffer an injury from the repetitive paddling motion that is required.

To prep your body for your board, and to keep from spending more of your time in the water than on it, begin practicing the versatile squat.


SUP Basic Exercise #3 – Squats

Once you become a pro at this simple exercise which works multiple muscle groups, you can step up to its many variations.

The basic squat has given way to the Bulgarian split squat, the sumo squat with medicine ball, the single leg bench squat and more than a dozen other offshoots.

While all of those advanced squat forms are designed to really work your lower body and legs, the traditional squat delivers a lot of physical rewards as well.

You improve the strength of your thighs, hips and buttocks, as well as the flexibility of your waist and knees. Your bones are strengthened, as are the ligaments and tendons in your thighs, quadriceps and calves.

To perform a squat, position your feet just a little wider than your shoulders.

With your hands at your waist, slowly “squat down” while keeping your head up and looking forward.

Let your knees and waist do all of the bending. Make sure your back is rigid, with your lower body doing all of the work.

You will feel your abdominals and core working as well.

Pause at the bottom for a second, and then return to a standing position.

If you have a hard time keeping your balance, extend your arms out in front of you as you are squatting down.

If you are in a beginner’s state of physical fitness, do not overdo it.

This seems like a very simple exercise, and it is easy to perform. But it quickly stresses and taxes your thighs and calves.

Aside from lower body strength, your balance and flexibility will also improve. Those are obviously physical abilities required for proper SUP technique and enjoyment.

Check out this video on youtube for more squat variations that you can attempt: