Stand Up Paddle boarding (SUP) is a fun way to relax and enjoy being on the water. Yet, as the fastest growing water sport in the world, SUP can also provide a full body workout using minimal equipment. Yet, before hitting the water, it will help to have a good understanding of your fitness goals.
New to the world of SUP? Check out our Beginner’s Guide to Stand Up Paddle Boarding.
Benefits of SUP Fitness
With so many workout options available, it’s not surprising to find many individuals using SUP fitness outside of traditional workout classes. Owning your own board can give you the freedom to create your own workout. You can incorporate intervals, sprints, and endurance paddle.
“Benefits of SUP fitness is a strong core, great upper and lower body strength,” says Kayla Boys, SUP enthusiast and Race Director for Mountain High Outfitters (MHO). “There’s also the benefit of less stress because of the activity and location….of course you’re happy on the water.”
A Whole New Way to Benefit from Yoga, Boot Camp & More
As the water sport continues to grow in popularity, so too do the range of SUP fitness class options and availability. Whatever your fitness goals, SUP can take you well beyond a fun way to relax and be outdoors. It offers all the fitness challenges of a typical land workout, but comes with the benefit of being able to simultaneously enjoy the natural environment and being on the water. SUP fitness classes generally last between 45-90 minutes and range from beginner classes, to SUP Boot Camps, or Mileage Builders, which is similar to taking long runs for marathon training. Participants usually meet for classes at a designated lake or river where some workouts even involve a combination of land and water activities.
“My best friend and I taught a Paddle & Power class one summer,” said Boys. “She taught 45 minutes on land doing a variety of high intensity interval training (HIIT), while I had the other group on the water doing paddle intervals and strength building.”
How to Decide your Personal Fitness Course with SUP
Boys suggests taking the time to discuss fitness goals with someone like her in MHO prior to participating in random SUP fitness classes. “When I’m talking to people who are new to SUP, I like to look at who they are on and off the water.” Lifestyle and other individual goals can make a big difference in determining the direction of fitness someone takes with SUP. Runners or triathletes, for example, who enjoy participating in 5ks, marathons, or triathlons, may eventually want to work up to taking part in SUP races, and will likely want to participate in classes focused on that level of fitness.
To kick it up a notch, Boys suggests adding components and exercises from land to your SUP workout such as squats, mountain climbers, modified burpees, dips, front & side planks, and more. Elements of yoga and Pilates can also be included. Bring along stretching equipment like tubes and bands to use for additional strength training.
Despite the various forms of SUP fitness, one aspect is sure to evoke the same level of satisfaction. “The end of a workout is something you will not want to miss when you are stretching and relaxing on your board,” says Boys. “It’s like having a hammock on the water.”
For more great info about SUP, including tips on getting started, gear and more, check out our Beginner’s Guide to Stand Up Paddle Boarding.