One crucial factor to consider while paddle boarding is maintaining stability and having the right gear. Having the best equipment will only take you so far if you don’t know how to balance.
While this may be the most common struggle for amateur paddle boarders, you can improve your balance with the proper technique and exercise. With such, continue reading to learn more about the tips and tricks you can apply to enhance stability while paddle boarding.
- Importance of Strength and Balance in SUP
- Tips To Improve Balance When Paddle Boarding
- Are You Ready To Strengthen Your Lower Body And Balance For Paddle Boarding?
Importance of Strength and Balance in SUP
It may seem like a pretty easy activity, but paddleboarding is an extreme full-body workout that involves your core, upper body, and leg muscles; both the upper and lower body are at play the entire time. The former is responsible for paddling, while the latter is responsible for keeping you stable on the board.
Although it seems like the lower limbs aren’t working as much, the legs are busy pushing the water to keep the board floating. Significantly during turbulent water, the leg muscles must tighten to hold out against the disturbance in the water. That way, you and the board are kept suspended.
Tips To Improve Balance When Paddle Boarding
It may look easier than it does, but amateurs who aren’t accustomed to the tension are likely to struggle. However, you may improve your balance after some practice. All you need is to start practicing the following tips and exercises regularly:
Consider Doing Daily Balance Workout
If you’re a first-time paddle boarder, you may have to conduct daily balance training to enhance your stability. This is a significant foundational step that teaches the lower body muscle to remain still despite choppy waters. That being said, check out the following exercises you can do:
- Single-Leg Floor Touch: With this, you have to lift your other leg at a 45-degree angle while the other leg is standing still. Then, touch the floor using one hand after bending down and leaning forward.
- Tall On A Single Foot: In this, you have to balance for half a minute by standing on one foot. While remaining straight, you can switch to the other foot.
- Stability Ball: With the stability ball, you have to press your feet on the floor at a shoulder-length distance while sitting on a stability ball. Then, lift your leg and its opposite arm to shoulder level. Repeat this for some time, alternating each side.
- Leg Swings: In this exercise, you need to rest your arms on your side while standing on both feet with shoulder-width apart. Then, raise one leg and make sure to keep it at a 45-degree angle. Once lifted, swing the leg front to back for ten minutes, then switch to the other side.
Start By Using Balance Board
A balancing board or wobble board is a tool where you can stand while doing any physical activity. The goal of using wobble boards is to enhance overall stability.
Wobble boards aren’t limited to SUP trainers alone. That’s because many athletes use wobble boards to improve both their posture and balance. Sometimes it’s also used by athletes who are currently going through rehabilitation.
On top of that, by using a balance board, you can gain the following benefits:
- Prevents Injuries: The common effect of having strong muscles and joints has enlarged muscles. The great thing about enlarged muscles is that they’re less likely to be torn, therefore, preventing injuries. You need this when paddle boarding so that you won’t easily get injured.
- Enhances General Performance: Since you’re less likely to get injured, your overall performance is more likely to improve; you can now withstand the stronger impact you would have had if you didn’t utilize a balancing board.
- Refines Cognitive Skills: This is perhaps the most surprising benefit of using a balance board regularly. Apart from helping your physical health, balance boards are also known to sharpen your focus. Having good cognitive skills helps in removing disruptions and rids your mind from worries. So when you’re out on the ocean, you can concentrate on paddle boarding instead of getting distracted.
- Increases Core Strength: Having strong core muscles is crucial in paddle boarding. As you enhance your core strength, you’ll start to see some relief on your back since you shift the tension to your core every time you move.
- Aids In Posture Problems: The majority of human’s day-to-day activities contribute to having a bad posture. Just imagine how many times you crunch your back while sitting in front of your laptop. If you spend more time lying down or sitting, your body starts to get used to this posture. Balance boards help reset your body’s posture by making it easier to stand and sit straight. And this is what you need when paddle boarding, instead of hunching your back.
Build Your Foot Strength And Mobility
Sore feet are the usual woe of many paddle boarders. Many beginners in the aforementioned sport try to maintain a grip of the board using their feet. This leads to sore feet, which can be pretty painful.
Since the feet act as the foundation, they’re likely to get hurt if your other muscles aren’t strong enough to take some workloads. That’s why maintaining foot strength and mobility pays value while balancing on a board. To build this skill, here are some things you can start doing:
- Conduct Regular Foot Exercise: Start practicing foot exercises now. Fortunately, most foot exercise can be done while sitting on the couch and watching your favorite show.
- Walk Barefoot: One of the biggest reasons behind poor foot mobility is wearing tight shoes. If your feet are regularly enclosed inside a tight pair of shoes, your feet and toes start to lose mobility, making them harder to move around. In addition to that, wearing tight shoes might also lead to severe foot deformities in the future, something that you can avoid by walking barefoot from time to time.
Practice Using A Bosu Paddle Ball
You can also try using a Bosu paddle board to improve your balance. You can do so by standing on a Bosu ball while keeping your knees slightly bent and your core muscles tight. Then, lift your arms forward and grab a cable bar; try to keep it straight from the ground and put one hand on top.
While still extending your arm outwards, move the cable to one side in a paddling motion, and try to do the same on the other side. You can do this exercise with 30 or 60 repetitions in one set. As you become better, try to increase the repetition in each set.
Practice Doing Swiss Iso Twist
In this exercise, you’ll need to stand perpendicular with your paddle or resistance cable. Then, straddle a swiss ball while keeping your knees wide open. You also need to make sure the ball stays square from the ground.
While keeping your hips and torso still, reach and get a hold of the resistance cable with two hands. Make sure to use your core muscle as you grab the cable and then rock your arms past your body to the other side. Do this at least five times each day and gradually increase by adding two more at a time.
Do Balance Push Ups To Increase Balance
Another exercise is to put a weighted bar on top of your wobble board or Bosu ball. Lay in a pushup position with your feet shoulder-distance apart and clutch the bar that’s located on the outer part of your board or ball.
Then, maintain a 90-degree angle on your arms and slowly lower down, and do a pushup. This exercise is great for teaching your muscles to remain steady and still on top of a board.
Strengthen Core Muscles By Doing Single-Leg Squats
This exercise focuses on the core muscles and the muscle that reinforces hip balance, which is a good practice for developing stability.
For this exercise, you’ll need a resistance band.
Start by holding the band slightly over your shoulder. While standing, hold the band with one hand and bend it at a 90-degree angle close to your rib cage. Make sure not to fall on your trunk and keep your shoulders wide as you bend your arms.
Then, bend the opposite leg in a squat position while you reach your other arm up while using the other arm to keep your body balanced. Once done, straighten your leg up and put your arm back to where you started.
Are You Ready To Strengthen Your Lower Body And Balance For Paddle Boarding?
Paddle boarding will be more difficult and exhaustive if you don’t regularly engage in physical activities, especially exercises that build your lower body muscles. This water activity needs strong foundational knowledge that comes from being comfortable standing in choppy water.
Most of the time, the water underneath the board is uneven, which makes it even harder to stand still. But once your accessory muscle gets accustomed to this pressure, you’ll become more comfortable on the board.
As you perform more exercises, your body is bound to adjust over time and will inevitably become stronger. However, be sure not to practice beyond your limits. Doing so will only open more rooms for potential injuries.