Inflatable Paddle Board Workouts

inflatable paddle board workouts

You have heard about and possibly tried stand-up paddle boarding. Participation in the U.S. has almost tripled in the past few years. An estimated 2.8 million people participate. The typical first inflatable stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) experience goes something like this.

  • Paddle ten feet from shore for 20 minutes
  • Fall of a few times
  • Laugh it off
  • Resume lounging on the resort’s beach chair

Many stand-up paddle boarders get started like that. Christopher Stec, the American Canoe Association chief operating officer, says SUP offers an adrenaline rush. On an inflatable paddle board, you can take on whitewater rapids, perform handstands, surf open-ocean waves, and explore caves.

At an elite competition, athletes conquer swells more than ten feet or clip along at more than ten miles per hour with bodies that are rock-hard. According to Kristen Thomas, Stand Up Paddle Industry Association executive director, SUP causes more muscle fire than nearly any other activity.

Even casual paddlers find board fit-producing. While max effort racing, more than 1000 calories per hour can quickly be burned. Laid back excursions burn about 500 calories per hour. The act of paddling uses muscles in the legs, core, back, and shoulders.

Small stabilizer muscles that are typically inactive are tapped, especially on turbulent water. Fine motor control and balance are vital to the on-the-water performance. Snowboarding and skateboarding are ways professional SUPers hone their skills in the off-season.

Expose endurance levels to high amounts of stressful training followed by rest to let the body rebuild itself. Cycling, running, and strength training multiple times each week above and beyond paddling helps develop the endurance and power needed to cover water at high speeds. The world record was set by Shane Perrin in 2014 when he paddled 100 miles in 24 hours.

High-Intensity Inflatable Paddle Board Workouts

This core-hammering SUP workout is recommended by Leslie Rose, a SUP instructor in Breckenridge, CO. It will make you more fit, strong, and better than you are now. Each exercise is to be performed for 30 seconds.

Move to the next exercise immediately. Complete the circuit once if you are a beginner. As you progress, add more rounds to the routine. These moves can be performed even if you do not have a board or water.

Test the Water

Assume a low plank position. Keep the body straight from head to heels. Some people need to begin by balancing on their knees.


Hands are placed under the shoulders with the core tight. Tap a foot into the water, then return to the high position. Repeat on the other side.

Push the triceps and chest to raise up onto the hands. Pause before lowering back down to the board. Repeat. Keep the body straight while completing the movement.


Assume a low plank position. Keep the body straight from head to heels. This exercise can also be done from the knees. Elbows are directly under the shoulders and the core is tight. Push the triceps and chest to raise up onto the hands. Pause before lowering back down to the board. Repeat. Keep the body straight while completing the movement.

Paddle Twists

Sitting tall in the center of the board, stretch legs out in front. Extend arms out to the sides of the body.


Hold the paddle in front of the shoulders. As the head is extended skyward, twist the body and paddle as far as possible to one side without tipping the board. Repeat in the opposite direction.

Side Plank Lifts

Depending on the level of skill, assume a side plank position using either the feet or knees. Drop the hips to the board. Grab the middle of the paddle with the top hand. This is the starting position.


Simultaneously, raise the hips to align with the rest of the body. Raise the paddle as high as possible off the board. Pause, return to the starting position and repeat. Switch to the opposite side.


Lay on your back, hold the paddle above the chest with your arms straight. Squeeze the abs to raise legs and shoulders off the board at the same time until the paddle meets the legs. Pause, lower to the starting position. Repeat.


The following are SUP yoga exercises. The yoga exercises can be done on the inflatable paddle board. They help relax the mind and give the body a workout.

A SUP workout brings people to the brink of their limits, regardless of the skill they possess. The goal is to exhaust all you have for the best workout and to train in the water conditions that match the terrain where boarding is done for racing, competition, or enjoyment.

Virasana Pose

The virasana pose is a warm-up exercise. It is also known as the hero pose. Place the right hand on the left knee. Place the left hand behind the body. Twist the body toward the right side.


Turn the head to gaze over the left shoulder. Take a deep breath and hold it. Return to the center. Repeat with the other side.

Downward Facing Dog

The downward facing dog position begins on hands and knees. Spread the fingers wide. The thumb and index finger are on the board.


The toes are curled as a person focuses on pushing the hands and forearms away from the paddle board and lifting the buttocks in the air.

Tighten the midsection to help give the core a workout. The heels should face the ground. The lower back is kept straight. Knees can bend while lifting the buttocks into the air. Hold the position for 30 seconds. Repeat three times.

Knee Lunges

The same beginning position used for the downward dog is used for the knee lunges with some slight differences. Place the left foot between the hands and place the right knee on the board.


The back is arched and the toes lifted. The toes on the other foot are used to help with stability. Keep the feet hip distance apart.

To help keep balance, the person can also place their hands on the thighs. Tighten the stomach to work the core muscles. Repeat the position for 30 seconds. Switch feet and hold for another 30 seconds. This exercise addresses the psoas, hips, and thighs while using your inflatable SUPs paddle board. Check out our list of the top paddle boards