5 Core Exercises That’ll Help You Balance Better on Your Paddleboard

Getty Images | Westend61
Getty Images | Westend61

Thanks to classic core conditioning exercises like planks and ab twists, you can boost your paddleboarding skills from the comfort of your own living room — or wherever you set down your workout mat.

"True core stability is being able to move your extremities without moving your hips — paddling, while balancing on a board, is that exact definition in practice," Heather Gunn Rivera, a NASM-certified personal trainer and co-owner of Grassroots Fitness Project, says.

So, if balance (and the fear of falling off your board into the water) is the main issue keeping you off a paddleboard, it's not a bad idea to boost your core strength. Targeting your core will also help you produce more power, Rivera says.

You can get started by adding these exercises to your workout routine. After completing the warmup ahead, Rivera suggests stringing them together to create a 10-minute EMOM circuit.


  • 10 Inchworms
  • 10 Cat-Cows
  • 10 Thread the Needles
  • 30 seconds: Extended Puppy Pose

10-Minute EMOM, or Every Minute on the Minute

Each exercise starts on the minute, and while Rivera says the rest is built in, you should always listen to your own body and take rest as needed. Perform the exercises ahead in order, and then repeat for a second circuit to total 10 minutes.

  • Planks: Hold for 45 seconds
  • Superman: Hold for 45 seconds
  • Side Plank: Hold for 30 seconds per side
  • Ab Twists: Perform for 30 seconds
  • Single Arm Long Arm Planks: Hold for 30 seconds per side


  • 30 seconds Child Pose
  • 30 seconds Cobra Pose
  • 30 seconds Downward Dog
  • 30 seconds Forward Fold
Forearm Plank
POPSUGAR Photography | Matthew Kelly

Forearm Plank

"Being able to brace your core and not collapse in any part of your spine demonstrates true core strength and spinal integrity," Rivera says.

  • Place your forearms on the floor, and extend your legs back, so that only the balls of your feet are on the ground. You should look like a board, from the top of your head down to your heals. Hold for 45 seconds.
  • To increase the challenge, Rivera says to place something unstable under your forearms or your feet.
POPSUGAR Photography | Kat Borchart


"The core is a cylinder, so it's important to be strong all the way around," Rivera says.

  • Lay flat on your belly and lift your arms and legs off the ground at the same time and hold for 45 seconds.
Side Plank
POPSUGAR Photography

Side Plank

  • Lay on your side.
  • Place your forearm underneath your shoulder; stack your legs on top of each other and lift your hips off the ground.
  • Hold for 30 seconds per side.
Ab Twists
POPSUGAR Photography

Ab Twists

  • Sit on something unstable — an Airex pad, a Bosu ball, or stacked pillows.
  • In the seated position, take your feet off the ground, place your hands in front of your heart.
  • Twist your body to the right and left.
  • Perform this move for 30 seconds.
  • Rivera says that this mimics the core rotation on the paddleboard.
Single Arm Long Arm Planks
POPSUGAR Photography

Single Arm Long Arm Planks

  • Start in the push-up position.
  • Spread your feet wide and take one hand off the ground, placing the arm alongside the body.
  • The key is to keep the hips still and square.
  • According to Rivera, the arm that's off the ground forces the opposite side to work harder and stabilize.
  • Hold for 30 seconds each side.
  • Repeat moves 1-5 again to complete the 10-minute EMOM circuit.

Click here for more health and wellness stories, tips, and news.