Strength Training for SUP

Table of Contents

Stand-up paddleboarding is gaining popularity worldwide. It is a fantastic way to enjoy nature, exercise, and strengthen your muscles. One of the primary challenges in stand-up paddleboarding is developing the right paddling technique and endurance. It takes time and practice to become proficient at paddleboarding. To improve paddling strength, finding the right exercises is key.

In this article, we will cover the six best exercises to improve paddling strength for stand-up paddleboarding. These exercises target critical muscles used during paddling, such as the shoulders, triceps, back, and core muscles. We will also answer some important sub-questions about paddleboarding and fitness.


What muscles are used while paddleboarding?

Paddleboarding requires several muscle groups in the body. The primary muscle groups used during paddling are:

– Shoulders: The shoulders are responsible for controlling the paddle’s movement and directing it through the water.

– Biceps and triceps: The upper arms help the shoulders move the paddle through the water.

– Back: The upper back muscles help to maintain stability and balance during paddling.

– Core: The core muscles are used to maintain a stable stance on the board.


How does paddleboarding benefit the body?

Paddleboarding is an intense full-body workout that has several benefits for the body. Here are some of the benefits of paddleboarding:

– Improves Balance: Paddleboarding requires balance and stability which helps to strengthen and tone the muscles in the legs, abdomen, and back.

– Increases upper body strength: Paddleboarding requires significant use of upper body strength, which can help to build strong shoulder, arm, and back muscles.

– Cardiovascular workout: Paddleboarding is a great way to improve cardiovascular health by increasing your heart rate and promoting weight loss.

– Enhances mental well-being: Paddleboarding reduces stress, improves mental clarity and helps to relax the mind.


What are the best exercises to improve paddling strength for stand-up paddleboarding?

Here are six exercises that can help to improve your paddling strength:

1. Push-Ups

Push-ups are an all-around excellent exercise that helps to build upper body strength, particularly the shoulders, chest, and triceps. Here’s how to perform push-ups:

– Start with a plank position, with your hands and feet shoulder-width apart.

– Lower your body until your chest is an inch above the floor. Keep your elbows tucked in towards your sides.

– Push yourself back up to the starting position.

– Keep your core tight throughout the entire movement.

2. Plank

Plank exercises are perfect for improving core strength, which is essential for stability on the paddleboard. Here’s how to perform planks:

– Start in a push-up position with your hands and feet shoulder-width apart.

– Lower your arms to rest on your forearms.

– Keep your core tight and your body in a straight line.

– Hold the plank position for 30 seconds to a minute.

3. Bent-over rows

Bent-over rows target the back muscles, which are essential for maintaining balance and stability while paddling. Here’s how to perform bent-over rows:

– Start with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a set of dumbbells.

– Slowly bend forward at the hips, keeping your back straight.

– Lift the dumbbells towards your chest, keeping your elbows close to your body.

– Lower the dumbbells to the starting position and repeat.

4. Seated Row

Seated row exercises target the upper back and shoulders, which are essential for maintaining a proper paddle stroke. Here’s how to perform seated rows:

– Sit on a rowing machine with your knees bent and feet flat on the footrests.

– Hold onto the handle with both hands and pull it towards your chest.

– Keep your back straight throughout the entire movement.

– Return the handle to the starting position and repeat.

5. Burpees

Burpees are a full-body exercise that targets the arms, chest, legs, and core muscles. Here’s how to perform burpees:

– Start in a standing position.

– Lower yourself into a squat position and place your hands on the floor.

– Jump or step your legs back into a push-up position.

– Perform a push-up.

– Jump or step your legs forward, and stand back up.

– Jump up with your arms reaching towards the ceiling.

6. Lunges

Lunges help to build lower body strength and stability. Here’s how to perform lunges:

– Start with your feet shoulder-width apart.

– Step forward with one foot and lower your body until your front thigh is parallel to the ground.

– Push yourself back up to the starting position and repeat with the other leg.

– Keep your back straight throughout the entire movement.


How often should I do these exercises to improve my paddling strength?

When it comes to how often to do these exercises, it is essential to listen to your body and take rest days to prevent injury. Beginners should start by performing these exercises two to three times per week and gradually increase the frequency and duration as their fitness level improves.


How long does it take to improve my paddling strength with these exercises?

The amount of time it takes to improve your paddling strength will depend on your current fitness level and the frequency, intensity, and duration of your workouts. With consistent and regular training, you can expect to see improvement in your paddling strength within a few weeks.


What other fitness activities can improve my paddling strength?

In addition to these exercises, other fitness activities can help improve your paddling strength, such as swimming, kayaking, and weight training. Activities like yoga and Pilates can also help improve your balance, which is essential for paddleboarding.



In summary, paddleboarding is an excellent way to exercise, build strength, and improve your mental well-being. The six exercises we have covered in this article are designed to improve your paddling strength by targeting critical muscle groups used during paddling. With regular and consistent training, you can expect to see improvement in your paddling strength, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced paddleboarder.

Josh Mitchell

Josh Mitchell

"I live and breath boardriding"

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