4 Paddling-Inspired Total-Body Moves

4 Paddling-Inspired Total-Body Moves

No H2O required!

Photo: Man and woman kayaking

Pro kayakers, rowers, and stand up paddleboarders don’t just sit around when it comes to staying in shape, and you can borrow their power moves outside the water. Though it may seem as if paddle sports only work your arms, consider that myth kaput—your hips really do most of the work. “The arm is a dead lift, really. It’s the end of the whip, not the whip itself,” says Eric Stiller, owner of Manhattan Kayak Company in New York City, stand up paddleboard (SUP) instructor, and author of Keep Australia on Your Left. “You’re waking up your hips and teaching them how to turn, which is counterintuitive to how they move throughout the day.” As a result, you integrate your abs, core, and lower back for a total-body workout.

To get a water-ready body on dry land, follow Stiller’s “secret sauce” for a great workout: your body and paddle should move as one team. The moves below imitate the action of paddle sports, so you can stay dry while you tone. The first two moves teach you how to get your hips grooving and body moving fluidly. Then increase the intensity with two calorie-blasting racing strokes inspired by SUP. When you do these moves, keep a short range of motion to engage muscles effectively. It may feel easier to move in a wide range of motion that feels loose, but keeping things smaller will help you tone. Grab a broomstick, twisted towel, or any bar object to use as your “paddle.” Did we mention it takes six minutes?

Paddle Sports: Low Arm Hip Twists

Photo: man demonstrating Low Arm Hip Twists
Stand with your feet anchored 1 foot apart and keep your head upright. Hold your paddle horizontally against your hipbones with your elbows bent to the side. For support, lock your thumbs under your waistband and keep a loose grip on the paddle. As if they were one unit, twist your hips, torso, arms, and shoulders from left to right at a 45-degree angle, slightly bending your knees as you move to each side. Twist from left to right for one minute without stopping.

Helpful Hint: Try this or the exercise below in front of the mirror so you have a focal point to keep your head in place, Stiller suggests. You can also tie a colorful ribbon to the center point of your bar or towel.

Paddle Sports: High Arm Hip Rotations

Photo: man demonstrating High Arm Hip Rotation
Stand with your feet anchored 1 foot apart and keep your head upright. Hold your paddle horizontally in front of you with your arms straight and a light grip on the bar. Begin rotating your hips, torso, arms, and shoulders from left to right at a 45-degree angle as if they were one unit (bend the knees as you go). Twist from left to right for one minute without stopping.

SUP: Tahitian Racing Stroke

Photo: man demonstrating Tahitian Racing Stroke
From standing, anchor your feet 1 foot apart and hold your paddle horizontally in front of you with your straight arms hip-width apart and head upright. Lift your right hand and lower your left hand so the paddle is on a diagonal. Leading with your right arm and left hip, “paddle” toward the left in a fluid, dipping motion, bending your knees as you go and incorporating the hips and torso. Return to start. Do this for one minute without stopping and repeat on the opposite side.

SUP: Hawaiian Racing Stroke

Photo: man demonstrating Hawaiian Racing Stroke
From standing, anchor your feet 1 foot apart and hold your paddle horizontally in front of you with your straight arms hip-width apart and head facing forward. Keeping your hands in place, turn the paddle to the left so it’s vertical. Your right hand is on top and left hand on bottom. Leading with right arm and left hip, bend your knees and dip your body downward as if you were bowing. Do this for one minute and repeat on the opposite side.

Talk to your doctor before beginning any new exercise program.