Stand Up Core Exercises

Stand up Core Exercises | How to get into shape for paddle boarding! |

Trying to gain some strength for paddle boarding season?  Maybe you’re new to the sport and know that having a stronger core will make paddling and balancing easier.  

Not to mention getting on and off of your board!

Although almost anyone can start right away in any physical shape (consult with your doctor first of course), paddle boarding becomes more fun when you are in decent physical condition.  This is because you’ll have the strength, flexibility and endurance to sustain longer, more enjoyable excursions!  

Rather than overheating and working way to hard to balance, you’ll be cruising around enjoying the sites with your friends and family!

Having a more in-shape core will pay back dividends should the weather turn on you.  Any seasoned stand up paddle boarder can tell you that the weather can get ugly quickly.  From rough water to strong headwinds, having a developed core will give you the balance and strength to paddle through and still enjoy yourself!

So whether you’re looking for a pre-season core workout or simply desire to stay in shape throughout the season, here are some exercises you can use to help your paddle boarding.  


Good Core Exercises


Planking is perfect to put your core strength to the test while simultaneously gaining some extra arm muscle.

SUP Benefits: The better you get at planking, the easier it’ll be to push yourself into a standing position on your board and kneel back down when you have to.

To Perform a Plank Hold:

  1. Place yourself in push-up position.
  2. Try to then drag your hands towards your feet and your feet towards your hands. This is not literal “dragging,” but it is instead the direction of pressure between your hands and feet
  3. Hold while squeezing your core (abs and stabilizing muscles)

This video demonstrates the plank core exercise on a paddle board but you can easily practice planking on land too!

Reminder: When performing the planking exercise make sure to continually tighten your abdominal muscles.


Want a core workout that goes beyond the core?  V-Sits will also engage your legs and arms too.This is an effective exercise for your entire body: legs, arms, and especially core.

Perfect for the winter-time blues…grab your paddle.  You’re going to use it for this next exercise!

To Perform V-Sits:

  1. Lay on your back with your SUP paddle in both of your hands (paddle positioned underneath your legs)
  2. Next raise both your legs and arms up until the paddle slightly touches your legs
  3. Hold this pose for 20-30 seconds while squeezing your abdominal muscles

Note: You can substitute a broomstick for your SUP paddle or not use a paddle at all.



It’s extremely important to make sure you stretch after your stand up core exercises.  In fact making stretching part of your pre-paddling and post-paddling routine would be a smart idea.

While some evidence is debatable on how stretching affects some special types of sports activities, most experts agree that stretching will keep your muscles flexible, healthy, and otherwise injury free.

Let’s learn a few basic stretches that will help you stay healthy while paddle boarding…


Child’s Pose

The child’s pose is a great stretch to do after your training.  You can even perform this stretch immediately upon getting on your SUP to warm up your core.

To Perform a Child’s Pose:

  1. Kneel on the ground with your hands positioned on the ground in front of you
  2. Exhale and lower your butt … relax.  You’ll feel your body collapsing toward the floor.
  3. Lower your forehead to the ground and bring your hands back towards your feet (palms facing upward)
  4. Hold this pose. Take slow, controlled breaths


This will not only release tension in your core, but in your arm and shoulder muscles as well.


Downward Dog

This is another exercise to get you ready for paddle boarding or to cool off after!

To Perform a Downward Dog Pose:

  1. Start in a push-up position.
  2. Walk your legs back pushing your butt into the air.  This creates an upside-down v-shape with your body.
  3. Position your head between your arms (or slightly lower).  You’ll be looking upside-down back towards your legs.
  4. Hold this pose

The downward dog can have more benefits than only stretching your core. You’ll be stretching your back, shoulders, and legs as well. It’s beneficial for many parts of your body!


Why Exercise Your Core?

Stand up core exercises should no-doubt be part of your pre-season paddle boarding workout.  You won’t be able to enjoy paddling around if you are tired or injured.  

The simple but effective strength training exercises and stretching routines exhibited here will help you improve your posture and balance.

For a Healthy Core Try:

  • Planking
  • V-Sits
  • Child’s Pose
  • Downward Dog


Whether you’re waiting for the season to start up again or just trying to gain some strength and flexibility before your next trip these exercises will get you in shape to paddle board like a pro the next time you’re actually out on the water!