With the ability to burn up to 800 calories in one hour, it’s no wonder stand up paddleboarding (SUP) has skyrocketed in popularity. “A few years ago, there were only five to 10 SUP races, and now there are hundreds of events,” says J.J. Jameson, a senior instructor for REI Outdoor School and certified level 2 SUP Instructor. Stand up paddleboarding isn’t as easy as it looks, though. “It requires that you remain standing upright on an unsteady surface while maneuvering a paddle taller than you are,” says Jameson. “As a result, you use just about every muscle in your body.”
In order to prepare to get up on the board, it’s important to strengthen certain muscle groups beforehand. So we sat down with personal trainer Orion Mims, A.C.E., A.C.S.M.—who SUPs himself—to create a program that focuses on strength, balance, and muscle reflexes. “The key is to teach your muscles how to cooperate when they're confused,” says Mims, “and this program does that.” Do this routine three times a week (and work up to five as you get more comfortable) to improve your SUP performance… before you hit the water.