Stand Up Paddle Can Provide the Best Core Workout Possible!
One of the great benefits of stand up paddle is the excellent core workout it provides. As one would expect, the paddling motion works out the arms, shoulders, and back muscles, but it also has the potential to work almost every muscle in your body. The "core" of the body which includes the stomach, back and obliques, gets a particularly intense workout especially in rougher waters. The constant movement of the paddle board under-foot requires the rider to continually adjust their position relative to the water and thus the great core workout.
There are a few paddling variations that I find helps to distribute the workout more evenly to the various muscle groups.
First you can do the traditional stroke by pulling the paddle alongside the board in a straight path from front to back. Instead of simply pulling the paddle with your arms, twist your entire torso as you pull the paddle through the water. This twisting motion will also greatly increase the intensity of the workout you'll receive. This stroke will also provide a good workout to the upper back and arms. As with all the paddle strokes, make sure to keep your knees slightly bent for balance.
The second stroke to use in your core workout is the
bow draw stroke.
This stroke provides an additional workout to the obliques due to the pulling motion from the side. It also has the added benefit of allowing you to keep the paddle board moving in a straight path which lets you concentrate the workout on one side for a longer period of time. Make sure to alternate sides so that you get a more even workout. That's especially important with this stroke since you won't need to switch sides to keep moving in a straight path.
I usually find that forty-five minutes to an hour on the water provides a good workout without overdoing it. As you build up the muscles in your core, you'll be able to stay out much longer.
You'll also find that varying wind conditions can make a big difference in the intensity of the workout. Paddling against a 5-10 mile per hour breeze can really dial up the intensity level, while paddling with the wind can give you an easier workout.
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