Outdoor Fitness: Go Further with Watersports Exercises

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As the weather gets warmer, take your exercises from the land to the water. There are many different watersports which you can do. This month, I will discuss four different types of watersports and exercises you can do to enhance your fitness and performance, so you can enjoy and get the most out of your activity, whichever one you choose to do.

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Stand-up Paddling or SUP
This looks a lot easier than it actually is. It requires balance (to stand up) and upper body strength (to paddle) particularly around the core, arms and shoulders. The exercise I have chosen for this is a standing BOSU Bicep and Shoulder press. Start by carefully standing on the BOSU. Once you are confident in balancing you can then introduce the dumbbells. Try not to do too heavy, for example 4-12kg is fine to start. Simply
perform a bicep curl with both arms at the same time and then at the top of the curl, go into an overhead shoulder press. The focus is to work the arms but to predominantly keep your balance as you stand on the unstable surface. Aim to complete 3 sets of 10-15 reps.

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A little more strenuous than the first exercise; a strong core and good upper body strength (for the paddling) will help you glide through the water. Russian twists with a plate can help facilitate this movement. If you do not have a plate, then you can use a medicine ball. Sit down on the floor, with both legs out straight. Hold the plate with both hands and keep your back straight. Brace your abs and tighten your core then rotate from left to right with the plate. You should feel this on your obliques, at the side of your abdominals along with your arms as you rotate from side to side. Try to do this for 30 seconds and repeat for 3 sets with a 30 second rest in between.

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Waterskiing / Wakeboarding
This involves a lot of balance and technique. You will work your upper body and lower body. I have chosen two exercises for this activity.

• Static Half Range Wall Squat
• Straight Bar, Back Cable Row

The static half range wall squat will work the legs. Even though you are holding the movement, the muscles are still working, in an isometric contraction. This is similar to the position you are in when on the skis in the water. Try to hold this position for 3 sets of 30 seconds. For the second exercise, adjust the cable machine to the lowest setting. Using the small bar, hold it overhand grip and extend your legs but keep your back straight. The weight can be between 20-40kg. Here you need to pull, bringing the bar into your chest and keeping the elbows in narrow. Perform this for 3 sets of 15 reps.

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Jet Skiing
This predominantly works the upper body as you are sitting down. Arms and back need to be strong to enable you to hold on at fast speeds. The exercise I have chosen to help improve your strength when on the jet ski is an overhand dead row, reverse bicep curl combo. These two exercises work the forearms, biceps and back. Pick up a barbell that is around 10-20kg in weight and hold in an overhand grip. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and stand up straight. The first move is a reverse bicep curl, bringing the bar from your thighs up to your chest. After one rep, go straight into the second move which is a dead row. Tip from the hips, keep the back straight and row, bringing the bar into the belly. This counts as one rep. Try to perform 10-15 reps for 3-5 sets, with a 60 second rest in between.

I hope that from reading this article and trying the exercises, you feel they help with your strength, fitness and endurance. I have tried to make each exercise specific, so you can condition your body for each type of watersport. I’ll keep an eye out for you out on the water…Good luck!


Words by: Nicky Holland, Fitness Manager, Fitness First Beach Park Plaza

Photos by: Keith Pereña

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