Many people occasionally go paddle boarding or kayaking simply for pleasure – or when visiting the Sarasota area on vacation. You can participate in both of these activities no matter your level of fitness, as you can structure your day based on your strength and stamina.

However, another group of people has picked up paddleboarding as a fitness regimen, a new way to stay in shape that they find exciting and interesting. If you are serious about paddleboarding as a way of staying fit, here is the information you need to understand your workout.

Does Paddleboarding Qualify as “Fitness Training”?

You may be surprised to learn about all of the muscle groups that can be worked by someone who is serious about paddle boarding. The sport engages large core muscles as well as smaller muscles you never dreamed you were working, so let’s examine all of the ways paddle boarding can make you stronger!

New to paddleboarding? Learn some tips here. 

  • Core Muscles: The core of the body is a group of muscles that stabilize the spine and pelvis. This complex series of muscles is located roughly in the midsection of your body but extends well past the abs – including abdominals, obliques, diaphragm, pelvic floor, trunk extensors, and hip flexors. Engaging these core muscles is vital during a paddling workout. Core muscles stabilize you as you glide through the water, supporting both balance and control. With every stroke of the paddle, abdominal muscles work to keep you upright as you shift your weight to maintain balance. Deeper muscle groups allow paddlers to increase power generation for efficient paddling – while also working to prevent excess strain on the lower back. Strengthening these core muscles can result in significant improvements in your overall fitness and technique on the board.
  • Back Muscles: Standup paddling is an excellent workout for back muscles. This muscle group includes the broad latissimus dorsi, which stretch from your arms to your lower back and are critical to achieving power strokes or maintaining balance. Upper back muscles, notably the rhomboid and trapezius muscles, work in tandem with the shoulders to complete each stroke. Strengthening these muscles will improve and enhance posture as your fitness routine evolves.
  • Shoulder Muscles: Paddle boarding necessitates the use of your shoulders, especially when executing a “power stroke.” This robust movement utilizes the deltoid muscles to drive the paddle through the water, resulting in an effective upper-body workout over the course of your time on the water. The repetitive action also engages and strengthens the smaller muscles surrounding the shoulders, improving endurance.
  • Arm Muscles: Of course, you need your arms to paddle, but the biceps and triceps are particularly crucial when performing a stroke. The muscles of the forearms and wrists are also engaged as they control and steer the paddle. Engaging arm muscles correctly can help sharpen the paddling technique and minimize overall fatigue, especially on the back and shoulders.
  • Leg Muscles: The leg muscles obviously play an important role in keeping balance on a paddle board. With every stroke of the paddle, your legs must adjust to maintain stability on the surface of the water. These repeated adjustments work and tone the quads, hamstrings, and calves, which help to absorb shocks from waves and wakes. Stand-up paddle boarding provides these lower body muscles with a robust workout as they work in concert with the core.
  • Feet: You may not have considered them, but your feet are a critical variable when paddle boarding. They provide stability, allow you to “grip” the board, and support your body weight. While on the board, concentrate on keeping your feet firmly planted to increase traction. You can even generate more powerful strokes by actively pushing against the foot pad with your toes.

Additional Fitness Benefits: In addition to strengthening key muscle groups, paddle boarding promotes improved cardiovascular fitness, increased stamina and endurance, and better balance and coordination—all in a safe, low-impact activity.

Start by Renting a Paddleboard

While you may be excited to get out there, you may wish to rent a paddle board (and take a lesson or two) before you purchase the needed equipment. But remember—as with any new exercise, you are likely to feel a little sore at first. Don’t give up! Paddleboarding is a fun and enjoyable way to enjoy the beauty of Sarasota and Siesta Key while improving your fitness.

Ride and Paddle rents paddle boards, kayaks, bicycles, and a full range of beach gear to visitors, but we always welcome locals who are looking for a new adventure!