Training our bodies to perform at their best is a big undertaking both physically and mentally. There are several elements that have to come together for you to feel confident and strong on the water, no matter which paddling discipline you choose on any given day. Whether it’s flatwater cruising or SUP surfing, distance or technical racing, downwinding or whitewater, each venue and condition has its own unique set of challenges that we have to connect with and adapt to. Added to this, our choice of equipment, our technique, and our nutritional approach all have a huge impact on the outcomes of our time on the water.
If getting faster, stronger, more stable, and healthier are in your set of goals, it is important to take an intentional and focused outlook to your training program. It is also important to not just train through paddling alone. A multi-disciplinary, integrated approach to training can be extremely beneficial. Running, swimming, rock climbing, and weightlifting are all examples of activities that can all contribute to your overall fitness and can help you become a better SUP paddler. Here are a few simple ideas to consider based on the type of SUP mission you are on.
Flexibility and Mobility
Before you can jump right into your training routine for building a stronger, more capable body, you should spend about 10-15 minutes on flexibility and warming up. Failing to warm up the parts of your body that will be putting in the work is the quickest route to having to stay off the water due to injury, and let’s face it, none of us like having to stay off the water. So creating good warmup habits will add more days to your season. Self Myofascial Release (SMR or foam rolling), active and dynamic stretching and a little bit (about 5 mins) of cardio work is the best recipe for having proper blood flow to get a solid training session in.
Key Fitness Concepts
Before the workouts begin, there are a handful of important and simple fitness concepts that will be discussed.
Essential Muscles for SUP
It is important to have an understanding of how the following specific muscles and muscle groups (complexes) contribute to your body’s ability to work efficiently with your board and paddle to get you where you are hoping to go.
Essential Muscles to Train by SUP Discipline
While these are by no means exhaustive lists of muscles called into action during the various SUP disciplines, they are the primary force generating muscles that need to be trained. And since stand up paddleboarding is a full-body sport, you will also notice that there is quite a bit of overlap between the muscles used for each discipline.
Flatwater Cruiser: Stabilization
Core stabilizing muscles, abdominals, obliques, lats, triceps, biceps, hip flexors
SUP Surfer: Focused Power and Core Strength
Pecs (chest), deltoids (shoulders) biceps, triceps, abs and obliques
SUP Technical Racer: Focused Power and Core Strength
Lats, Lumbo Pelvic Hip Complex (LPHC), deltoids, abs, obliques, lats, triceps, biceps, hip flexors
SUP Distance Racer: Muscular Endurance
Pecs, deltoids, biceps, triceps, abs, lats, hip flexors
Downwinder: Stabilization, Power and Endurance
Hip flexors, hamstrings, quads, adductors, obliques, abs, pecs, deltoids
Over the next few blog articles, we will focus on demonstrating sample workouts that incorporate training these most important muscle groups used when you are on the water participating in a given discipline. So stay connected for some fun workouts you can do at home, on the water or in the gym to build strength, power, stabilization and endurance to get the most out our your time doing what you love best. Grab your workout buddy and hold on for a new focus on becoming an all around better paddler!