Skip to main content

Bliss Life

be bold. be brave. be remembered.

Paddle Board Workout 101

Jun 13, 2012 02:09PM
Written by Susan Thorn

The fastest growing women's sport is stand-up paddle boarding, or SUP. It is a phenomenal core, upper body, and leg workout, and a great way for anyone to get time in out on the water. Not only is SUP a wonderful workout for even the least athletic person, it is a great time to renew your mind and spirit as you paddle. One of the beauties of the sport is that it is a quick-to-learn workout that anyone can do.

The same basic principles used in swinging a golf club or racket are incorporated in stand-up paddle boarding. The only difference is that you are standing on an unstable surface; you will feel much the same as you do when you are on a BOSU ball. In fact, we will give you some exercises to tone up for this fun sport that incorporate the BOSU ball. Get ready for some wet fun and a very good head-to-toe workout. This is a sport that will bring out the Goddess in all of us!

The workout below will elicit all of the muscles that create your pillar; your core, shoulders, and hips. Remember to stretch! Every workout should start with some gentle stretching. Stretching wakes up your muscles and lets them know it is time to work.

Each exercise should be one to two sets of 10-15 repetitions.



This is a great leg and butt-building exercise. Try it on the BOSU ball for an added challenge!

  1. Stand with feet hip- or shoulder-width apart on the floor or on a BOSU ball. Hold medium to heavy dumbbells in each hand just outside the thighs or with arms bent above the shoulders
  2. Bend the knees and lower into a squat. Stop when your knees are at 90-degree angles or before you lose the natural arch of your back.
  3. At the bottom of the movement, make sure you take your hips back, as though you're about to sit in a chair. Avoid bending the knees so that they go beyond the toes.
  4. Contract the gluteus and legs while stabilizing your body with a strong torso.
  5. Slowly stand back up without locking the knees and repeat for 1-3 sets of 10-16 repetitions


This move closely mimics being on the board by forcing you to maintain a stable base and good posture while you work with resistance. Plus, you’ll build leg strength.

  1. Attach a rope to a high pulley on a cable machine. Start with a weight that is comfortable for you.
  2. Stand perpendicular to the machine in a split squat position with your inside foot forward.
  3. Holding the rope with both hands let your arms rotate toward the machine. Pull the rope diagonally down and across your body.
  4. Reverse the movement and return to the starting position. Finish the set, switch sides and repeat for 1-3 sets of 10-16 reps


This is for the front and back delts and the upper trapezius you will need for paddling.

  1. Stand with a pair of dumbbells in front of your thighs.
  2. Lift both dumbbells up and to the front of you and bring back to your chest
  3. Pause for a count and lower back down to the starting point
  4. An advance move is to perform one at a time; this requires more core stability
Start with 5 pounds for 3 sets of 10-16 and increase the weight as you gain strength.



This is another great upper arm/shoulder workout. You can do this seated or standing, or more advanced on a BOSU ball.

  1. Stand while holding a pair of light DBs at your side (palms facing in) with your elbows and knees sightly bent
  2. With only a slight bend in your elbows, raise the dumbbells up and out to the side. When your arms are parallel with the floor, pause for a count, then slowly lower to the starting position
Start with 5lbs for 3 sets of 10-16.



These are going to strengthen those chest muscles needed for paddling through the waves!



This is the best exercise for core and a great challenge. Start with 5 seconds and work your way to 60.

Side Planks:

  1. Start on the floor on your side resting on one elbow
  2. Lift up into position, hold for 5-60 seconds (while continuing to breath)
  3. Slowly lower back to floor, rest for 30-45 secondsRepeat 1-2 more times for a total of 2-3 sets. Alternate sides to work both sets of oblique muscles.
This workout incorporates all of the muscles that make up your pillar. You will be a paddling goddess in no time!