Paddle Surfer
Paddle Surfer at Morro Rock

What are the best stand-up paddling exercises?

Paddle Surfer
Anthony Slater

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What looks simple from the shore can easily become chaotic and exhausting in practice. After all, you’re trying to transfer power while maintaining balance on a constantly fluctuating surface. Use these movements to develop the skills you need to paddle efficiently:

Split Squat Rotational Chop

Why it works: This move closely mimics being on the board by forcing you to maintain a stable base and good posture while you work with resistance. Plus, you’ll build leg strength.

How to do it: Attach a rope to a high pulley on a cable machine. Stand perpendicular to the machine in a split squat position with your inside foot forward. Holding the rope with both hands let your arms rotate toward the machine. Pull the rope diagonally down and across your body. Reverse the movement and return to the starting position. Finish the set, switch sides and repeat. (Click here for a video demonstration.)

Stability Ball Roll Outs

Why it works: This move engages your abs while your arms reach overhead—closely mimicking the way your top hand reaches forward to start each stroke. It also teaches you to initiate with your core to maximize stroke efficiency.

How to do it: Kneel on the ground with your arms straight and the back of your hands on a stability ball in front of you. Roll the ball forward while keeping a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Pull the ball back to the starting position and repeat. (Click here for a video demonstration.

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