Is Stand-Up Paddleboarding A Good Workout?

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Stand-up paddleboarding, also known as SUP, is a water sport that has gained tremendous popularity over the years. It is an activity that involves standing on a large paddleboard and using a paddle to move across the water. Many people enjoy it as a leisure activity or a way to explore scenic waterways. However, is stand-up paddleboarding a good workout? In this article, we will explore this topic and answer some common questions about SUP as a fitness activity.


What muscles does stand-up paddleboarding work?

Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) is a full-body workout that engages multiple muscle groups. Here are the primary muscles that are worked during stand-up paddleboarding:

  1. Core muscles: SUP requires a strong core for stability and balance. Muscles such as the rectus abdominis (six-pack muscles), obliques (side abdominals), and transverse abdominis (deep abdominal muscles) are activated to maintain an upright posture on the board and stabilize the body.
  2. Back muscles: The muscles in the back, including the erector spinae, latissimus dorsi, and trapezius, are engaged to maintain balance and support the upper body during paddling.
  3. Shoulder muscles: Stand-up paddleboarding involves repetitive paddling motions, which primarily target the deltoids (shoulder muscles), specifically the anterior (front) deltoids. The supraspinatus, infraspinatus, and teres minor muscles of the rotator cuff are also activated during the paddling motion.
  4. Arm muscles: The muscles of the arms, including the biceps, triceps, and forearms, are utilized for paddling and controlling the paddle. The pushing and pulling motion of paddling engages these muscles, providing resistance and strengthening them over time.
  5. Leg muscles: Stand-up paddleboarding requires maintaining a stable stance on the board, which engages the leg muscles. The quadriceps (front of the thighs), hamstrings (back of the thighs), and calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus) work to stabilize the lower body and provide balance.
  6. Glutes: The gluteal muscles, including the gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus, play a role in stabilizing the hips and lower body during stand-up paddleboarding.
  7. Cardiovascular system: Stand-up paddleboarding is also a great cardiovascular workout as it involves continuous paddling and movement, which increases heart rate and improves overall cardiovascular fitness.


How many calories can you burn from stand-up paddleboarding?

Stand-up paddleboarding is a high-intensity workout that can burn up to 400-500 calories per hour. However, the number of calories burned depends on various factors such as body weight, the intensity of the activity, and the duration of the workout.


Is stand-up paddleboarding good for weight loss?

Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) can be an excellent activity to support weight loss and overall fitness. It offers a combination of cardiovascular exercise, muscle engagement, and low-impact movement. However, it’s important to note that weight loss primarily depends on creating a calorie deficit by burning more calories than you consume.

SUP can contribute to weight loss in several ways:

  1. Cardiovascular exercise: Paddleboarding involves paddling against the resistance of water, which increases your heart rate and provides a cardiovascular workout. This helps burn calories and improve overall cardiovascular health.
  2. Full-body workout: When you paddleboard, you engage multiple muscle groups, including your core, arms, shoulders, back, and legs. By consistently using these muscles, you can enhance muscle tone and increase your overall strength.
  3. Low-impact activity: SUP is a low-impact exercise, meaning it puts minimal stress on your joints. This makes it accessible to people of various fitness levels and reduces the risk of injury, allowing for consistent and sustainable workouts.
  4. Outdoor enjoyment: Being out on the water, surrounded by nature, can make paddleboarding an enjoyable activity. When you enjoy what you’re doing, you’re more likely to engage in it regularly, leading to more consistent exercise habits and potential weight loss.


Can stand-up paddleboarding improve balance and coordination?

Stand-up paddleboarding requires the use of the entire body to maintain balance on the paddleboard. As a result, it can improve balance and coordination skills. This may be particularly beneficial for individuals who are older or have a history of balance issues.


Is stand-up paddleboarding good for cardiovascular health?

Stand-up paddleboarding can improve cardiovascular health by increasing heart rate and improving blood circulation. Doing this, on a regular basis, helps decrease the risk of heart diseases such as heart attacks, strokes, and high blood pressure.


Is stand-up paddleboarding a low-impact activity?

Compared to high-impact activities such as running or jumping, stand-up paddleboarding is a low-impact activity. This makes it an ideal workout option for individuals who may have joint issues or are recovering from injuries, as it places minimal stress on their joints.



In conclusion, stand-up paddleboarding is an excellent workout that engages multiple muscle groups in the body while providing a fun and scenic experience. It is a versatile activity that can be done alone or in a group and can be enjoyed in various bodies of water. Whether you want to lose weight or improve your cardiovascular health, SUP is an activity that can help you achieve your fitness goals while having fun.

Josh Mitchell

Josh Mitchell

"I live and breath boardriding"

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