Can a Stand Up Paddle Board Give You a Good Workout?

Posted by Hornet Blog on

Two men doing SUP workouts

This article was originally published on Hornetwatersports.com.

One cool thing about stand up paddleboarding (SUP) is that you can vary your experience from exhilarating to relaxing. You can choose to go downwind at high speeds, through challenging waters, or find a calm lake to practice yoga on your paddleboard.

No matter the style of SUP you choose, one thing is certain: SUP is good exercise.

How many calories does paddleboarding burn?

Specifying the number of calories you’ll burn while paddleboarding is hard to do. That’s because the number varies greatly depending on which activity you’re involved in.

If you’re paddleboarding at a leisurely pace, you can plan to burn 305 - 430 calories, according to SUP World Magazine. That might not sound as impressive (although it’s typically more than the average walk will burn), but if you pick up some speed while SUP racing, you will probably burn anywhere between 713 and 1,125 calories in an hour.  

SUP surfing is another workout that burns calories fast. If you paddle surf for an hour, you can burn 623 - 735 calories in an hour.  

It’s called “stand up paddleboarding” but that doesn’t mean you have to always be upright to get a great workout. For example, you can burn between 416 - 540 calories in an hour of doing an energetic yoga routine on your SUP.

Calories are only one part of the equation though. In order to truly understand why paddleboarding is good exercise, you must also look at which muscles you use while on the water.

SUP surf workout

Muscles Targeted by Paddleboarding

In addition to the calories you’ll burn, there are many muscles you can target and tone while on your paddleboard.

Many people look at paddleboarding and assume it’s all about the arms. After all, you’re using a giant row to push against water resistance and propel yourself forward. Although your arms do get a workout while on an SUP, each stroke engages more than just your biceps. You’re also working your deltoids, traps, pectoralis major, latissmus dorsi, supraspinatus, and your abdominal muscles.

Paddleboarding is surprisingly a good core workout. That’s because you have to engage your core muscles and lower back muscles to maintain balance while on your board. The more you paddle from side to side, the more your muscles tense up.

Your legs also get a great workout as they stabilize your body on the board through the water.

Overall, SUP is a great cross training workout for athletes of all skill levels because it engages just about every muscle in the body.

A Few SUP Workouts to Get You Started

Ready to get started? Although you could grab your SUP and head to the closest water source to enjoy being in the great outdoors, there are a few other workouts you can do to improve your fitness while enjoying the sport.

If you’re more interested in the leisure of SUP, you can still get a great workout by paddling to calm waters and then doing a few sets of squats, pushups and crunches.

Use the board to help you get a great workout too. Pull your paddle out of the water and hold it with both arms in front of you. Then, enter out of a deep squat and slowly come up to your toes while balancing. Hold that pose for a few counts and then lower back down. Rinse and repeat.

For a great core workout, put your paddle partway in the water. Then, rotate your torso from right to left dragging the paddle through the water as you go.

Man SUP surfing

Make SUP Part of Your Workout Routine

If you live by the water, it’s fun and easy to make SUP part of your workout routine. Use those unexpected currents to keep your balance while you engage your entire body in a unique type of workout that’s crazy effective.

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