Do These 10 Simple Balance And Leg Exercises And Reduce The Amount of Falls Off Your Stand Up Paddle Board

Do These 10 Simple Balance And Leg Exercises And Reduce The Amount of Falls Off Your Stand Up Paddle Board.

In this article we are going to go over 10 simple balance and leg exercises you can do so you don’t fall off your stand up paddle board.

Dating back to the 1950s in Hawaii, stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) has provided water sport enthusiasts with an alternative to surfing. SUP has increased in popularity within the last few years and attracts a range of athletes from recreational to elite level boarders.

SUP provides a low-impact total body workout focusing on fitness, strength, and balance.

We will discuss why balance and lower body strength is important to prevent falls off your stand up paddle board. Also some things you can do to improve it.

Why You Need Strength and Balance for SUP

Falls Off Your Stand Up Paddle Board

SUP is a great total body workout involving all your muscles from your toes, legs, core, arms, shoulders, back, and neck.

While the upper body is predominantly used for paddling, our lower body is working overtime to keep us balanced on the board, and not in the water.

It may not look as though the legs aren’t working very hard when paddle boarding, but they have to keep pushing against the water for us to remain afloat.

When waters become choppy, or you’re riding a wave you must keep your lower body muscles contracted to resist the sporadic water displacement beneath you so you don’t have falls off your stand up paddle board.

Again, it may seem simple but for those who have ever held a wall-squat will know constant tension in your legs is not for the faint-hearted.

What Happens When You Have Weak Lower Body Strength and Balance for SUP

If you are not active or don’t workout much. You may experience difficulty paddle boarding within your first few SUP sessions and are likely to have falls off your stand up paddle board

Standing on a paddle board requires a foundation level of lower body strength and balance.

However, most beginners can stand after getting comfortable on the water. If your lower body and balance are weak, stand up paddle boarding will be more difficult and fatiguing.

Over time it will help improve your fitness level and get you standing in a stable position on the board in no time.

Frequently it is a case of activating our smaller accessory muscles which we may not use much. In everyday life we are almost always on flat solid ground, therefore our muscles are conditioned to keep us balanced.

When on the board in water the ‘ground’ is uneven and we have to use our smaller accessory muscles to keep us balanced. This involves making very small adjustments with our feet.

Once we learn to do this, and learn how much pressure to apply in different situations, you will feel a lot more confident on the paddle board.

It is important you paddle within your physical capabilities. More experienced boarders are physically conditioned to paddle at high intensities for long durations.

If you are not conditioned, pushing way past your physical limits can increase the risk of injury. SUP involves repetitive movement of the joints, muscles, and tendons.

Doing significantly more than your body is capable of may cause exhaustion and fatigue to your body. We advise you to paddle within your limits and follow our workouts below to build up your fitness level for those challenging sessions in the future.

What Are the Leg or Lower Body Muscles Involved In Stand Up Paddle Boarding?

Leg Muscles Involved In SUP

SUP requires almost constant muscle use to ensure you remain balanced on your board. Even on calm waters, the water is always being displaced from underneath you and it is your lower body’s job to keep you on the board.

There are over 100 muscles in your feet, all of which are having to work while paddle boarding. Many beginners experience cramping in their foot on their first SUP session because they are not used to having to work those smaller stability muscles.

Minor adjustments are made by your feet, whereas larger adjustments and paddling involves the use of your leg muscles. This includes the:

◉ Gastrocnemius
◉ Abductors
◉ Adductors
◉ Hamstrings
◉ Quadriceps
◉ Glutes

A unique benefit to SUP is it provides a unilateral exercise. This means each side of your body has to work on its own, as well as in unison with its opposing side. This ensures both sides have equal strength, therefore reducing the risk of injury.

Many gym exercises and machines are bilateral, meaning they work both sides of the body. For example, a barbell bench press. Most people often have a stronger side; therefore, they can use their strong side to help their weak side.

This creates a muscle imbalance and therefore increases the risk of injury.

In stand up paddle boarding, the water under each foot acts as individual resistance, therefore each side has to work equally as hard to keep your stability, helping improve equal lower body strength.

Leg Exercises To Improve Strength and Balance on the Paddle Board

How to Balance On Your Paddle Board And Not Fall Off

Balance and strength for stand up paddle boarding can be improved by introducing resistance and stability exercises into your fitness regime.

SUP requires a range of fitness components including muscular endurance, cardiovascular fitness, strength, power, and balance.

Below we have included some lower body exercises that target the different fitness components, specific to lower body strength and balance.

Muscular Endurance Cardiovascular Fitness Strength Power Balance
Wall Sit /Wall Squats Tuck Jumps Weighted Step Up Squat Jumps Box Jumps
Glute Bridge Hold Burpees Lateral Squat Jumping Lunges Single Leg Deadlift

Muscular Endurance

Wall Sitting or Wall Squats

Wall Squat Exercises








Glut Bridge Hold 

Glut Bridge Hold Exercise

✹ Cardiovascular Fitness

Tuck Jumps

Tuck jumps exercise









Burpee Exercises

✹ Strength

Weighted Step Up

Weighted Step Up Exercises







Lateral Squat
Lateral Squat Exercise




✹ Power

➤  Squat Jumps

Squat jump exercise







➤  Jumping Lunges

Lunge Jump exercise

✹ Balance

Skater Hops

Skater-Hop Exercise






Single Leg Deadlift

Single Leg Deadlift Exercise






Bosu Ball Exercises

Bosu Ball Exercises





To maximize balance and strength results. We recommend creating a circuit by choosing one exercise from each section.

Begin by performing each exercise for 30 seconds. Followed by 30 seconds of rest. Do this for 2 rounds. When you repeat the circuit, you can progress by increasing work time, decreasing rest time, adding more rounds, or adding weight to the movement.

Consistent progression should be made over time to adapt to a higher fitness level. Be careful not to make significant progressions as this may lead to injury.

Preferably do this session on a non-SUP day, this way you are not fatigued from paddle boarding and you can give more effort to the workout circuit.

Best Home Exercise Equipment You Can Buy For SUP Balance Training

These balance training equipment are good to use at home or in the gym to help you reduce falls off your stand up paddle board.

  1. Bosu Balls
  2. Balance Board
  3. Rocker Balance Board
  4. Wobble Board
  5. Revolution Balance Boards
  6. Balance Pillows and Pads
  7. Balance Beams
  8. Disc Pillow

Final Thoughts On Leg and Balance Exercises To Prevent Falls Off Your Stand Up Paddle Board

Losing Your Balance On Your Stand Up Paddle Board

Lower body strength and balance is a key skill for stand up paddle boarding as it prevents us from falling into the water and helps us put power into our strokes.

SUP uses a huge range of lower body muscles therefore, we must keep them strong enough to meet the demands on the water and prevent falls off your stand up paddle board.

Not only will a strong lower body and balance improve our SUP performance. But it will also reduce our risk of injury.

Single leg muscle endurance, cardiovascular fitness, strength, power, and balance all contribute to improved SUP performance. We must make sure to work on these exercises frequently in order to ensure we don’t wipe out off our paddle board into the water.

The exercises we provided are just a sample of what you can do to strengthen your lower extremities and core. If you want more exercises to improve your balance and fitness and prevent falls off your stand up paddle board.

You should checkout one of these home programs that will get you started right in the comfort of your living room.

Inner Thigh Lower Body Exercise Program

Unlock Your Gluts Lower Body Exercise Program

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