How to Get in Shape for Paddleboarding

Fitness, Paddleboarding, SUP, Tips, Watersports -

How to Get in Shape for Paddleboarding

Like many other physical pursuits, paddleboarding requires a certain level of fitness. As such, whether you are a keen first-timer or a professional paddler, ensuring that your body is physically prepared for paddleboarding will not only help you to master it quicker but will also make for a far more enjoyable experience overall once you are out on the water. Below, we have listed some of the best exercises to do to help you get in shape for this popular watersport:


SUP, in particular, requires a great deal of balance as not only can you be standing upright on your paddleboard for extended periods, but you also spend a lot of this time moving, making it even harder to maintain stability. Throw in the mix some uneven terrain, i.e. the sea, and keeping your balance can be pretty tricky!

While there are several exercises you can do to improve your stability, building up the strength in your feet is a great place to start as they are a crucial component in helping you to stay upright while paddleboarding. Here is just one exercise you can try to train your feet and ankles:

Dorsiflexion (with Resistance Band)

How: Sit on the ground with your legs stretched out in front of you. Then, wrap your resistance band around the top of one of your feet, tying the other end to a stable object that won’t move. Once you are in position, slowly tilt your foot upwards towards your shin, creating tension in the resistance band and stretching your calf muscle. Throughout the exercise, keep your toes relaxed and focus on using your ankle to generate the upwards movement.

Why: As well as stimulating your lower legs muscles, this exercise will also serve to strengthen your feet as well as your ankles, helping to improve your balance and making for a steadier paddleboarding session.

A person holding their feet as they stretch out on an exercise mat.

Core Strength

As with many watersports, paddleboarding requires a great deal of core strength for several reasons. As well as working to stabilise your body in tandem with your arms and legs, strong abdominal muscles can also increase your durability meaning you can remain on your paddleboard for longer, even in more challenging conditions.

While you can discover a great exercise for building up core strength in our blog on how to get in shape for kitesurfing, the plank is just as effective for working your abs:

The Plank

How: Begin by kneeling on all fours with your hands placed directly underneath your shoulders but slightly wider apart. Then, stretch out your legs and push up on to your arms and toes, lifting your body into the air. Once stable, try and line up your head, neck and spine by focusing on a spot on the floor just in front of your hands and keeping your back straight. Hold this position for around 20 seconds when beginning this exercise and for as long as possible as you progress.

Why: Along with the obvious benefit of improving your core strength, planking will also make it easier for you to change position whilst you are on your paddleboard, e.g. pushing up from a sitting to a standing position.

A woman holding the planking position on a beach in the sunshine.


Whatever style of paddleboarding you enjoy, movement is a big part of the watersport, particularly that of the upper body. While your glutes and legs remain relatively static, your arms and torso are subject to constant movement and are used to propel you across the water. As such, doing exercises like standing torso twists will enable you to rotate your torso more easily and help you to find a rhythm between your movements and staying upright:

Standing Torso Twist

How: Stand with your legs at an even distance apart and in line with your shoulders. Place your hands on your hips. Once you are in position, twist your upper body from side to side to a 90-degree angle, keeping your legs still. As well as your torso, twist your shoulders too and hold this position for a few seconds on each side.

Why: Not only will this exercise increase the scope of your torso movement but this, in turn, will make your paddling more efficient overall, meaning you can glide along at a quicker pace!

A person paddling along on their paddleboard on the sea.

Whether you’re a beginner looking to start SUP this spring or an experienced paddleboarder wanting to increase your fitness, these exercises are sure to put you on the right track to getting in shape for this fantastic watersport. If you have any more questions about paddleboarding or are in search of Manera wetsuits, SUP packages or any other essential equipment, get in touch with our friendly team today who will be happy to help!