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The Performance Life

Core Training on the Water

Brody Welte often is asked if stand-up paddleboarding is a workout routine or just a fun way to spend a day on the water. Welte, who has introduced thousands of people to the sport, believes it’s both. His new book Paddle Fit, written with Core Performance co-author Pete Williams, is both a how-to “SUP” manual and also a workout program featuring two routines, one of which is done on the board in the water and the other on land.

“Stand-up paddleboarding is such an incredible workout,” says Welte, who owns Stand Up Fitness in St. Petersburg, Fla. “With each stroke, I’m activating and using all of the core stabilizer muscles around my hips, midsection, and shoulders. Lower or upper body, strength or cardio, slow-twitch or fast-twitch, they’re all part of a stand-up paddleboard workout.”

“I’m a big fan of BOSU balls and stability balls,” Welte says. “But the great thing about this sport is that you don’t need them to create instability. The board and the water provide it for you.”

Paddle Fit actually is not a book but a “vook,” a combination of text, photos, and 45 minutes of video presented in one package tailor-made for Kindles, Nooks, iPads, and iPhones. You can read paddling instructions and exercise descriptions and also click on video. The book includes a “Paddle Fit” workout done on the board in the water and a “Waterman’s Workout” routine that can be done on the beach (or anywhere else) using no equipment.

Here are a few Paddle Fit moves you can try the next time you’re out on a paddleboard in calm water:

Hover Plank

Start in a modified push-up position, with your forearms resting on the board. Your elbows and shoulders are bent 90 degrees. Push up off your elbows supporting your weight on the forearms. Tuck your chin so your head is in line with your body. Pull your toes toward your shins. Hold for up to a minute. Keep shoulders, hips, and ankles aligned.

Side Plank

Lie on one side with your forearm on the board and your elbow under your shoulder. Push up off your elbow, creating a straight line from your ankle to your shoulders. Hold for 20 seconds. Switch sides and repeat. Be sure to push your hips off the board and keep your toes up. Only the side edge of the bottom foot and your elbow should touch the board.


Start in the regular paddle position with feet shoulder-width apart on either side of the board handle. Keep your back straight and your body in alignment from ankle to ear. Sit your hips back and down, as if sitting in a chair, until your thighs are parallel to the board. Slowly rise, returning to the start position. Do 10 reps, more as you progress. As for the paddle, you can lay it on the board lengthwise so it doesn't get in the way. Or you can hold the paddle out in front of you.

Mountain Climbers

This movement mimics mountain climbing. Think of the board as your mountain. Start in pushup position. Alternate driving your knees forward to their corresponding arms for 30 seconds. Your feet should only touch the board in the starting pushup position.

About The Author

Pete Williams – Pete Williams is a contributing writer for CorePerformance.com and the co-author of the Core Performance book series.

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Tags: Stability, Balance, Outdoor Recreation