Standup paddleboarding is one of the best total-body workouts because you exercise every major muscle group. Think: your back and arms pull you through the water, while your core, glutes, and legs stabilize and balance you on the board. But beginner standup paddlers, who are still chasing that perfect paddling technique, can often walk away from a SUP workout pretty sore.
These six after-paddling poses reverse what you were just doing on your board to promote chest expansion. Use them to bring down your heart rate and enjoy the soft stretch — a subtle side bend releases your core obliques, toe squat opens up the tight folds of the feet (nervous newbies often over grip the board) and eagle arms open your shoulders to counter the hunched motion you make while paddling.
Practice them on your board in open water, on shore, or on your mat at home to recover, promote proper alignment and build SUP-ready strength.
Start in Savasana, relaxing your shoulders down and allowing your feet to flop open to the sides. Place your hands by your sides resting on the water. Take a few moments to connect to the ocean beneath you, allowing the breath to soften and lengthen. Take deeper inhales and exhales. Remain here for a few minutes, staying present with the breath and the sound of the ocean.
Reach both hands overhead, and release the right hand to the rail of your board. Inhale to grow long through the left hand. Exhale to stretch your left arm up and over towards the right. Engage your core to stabilize, and stay here for three breaths. Repeat on the other side.
Interlace your fingers behind your back, inhale to roll the shoulders open and draw your shoulder blades down the back. Exhale gaze and lift your heart towards the sun, finding space across the chest. Find three full-rounded breaths and release.
Draw the arms up to shoulder height in a T position, and sweep the right arm under left, interlacing at elbows, wrists, palms to touch. Take any variation that feels comfortable – drawing the arms up, down, left, right, or circular motions. Take three breaths. Release the arms and repeat on the opposite side.
Uncross your legs and come to a kneeling position. Plant the hands down and tuck the toes under, making sure all ten toes are touching the board. If this is too uncomfortable, you can leave the hands on the board, bringing the weight forward to ease the tension. Otherwise, gently sit back on your heels using the inhale to bring more space into the soles of the feet, and the exhale to release any discomfort. Remain here for five breaths, release and shake out the feet.