Yoga and Pilates are seriously on trend as both studio sports and outdoor activities at the moment, and we are loving all the awesome activewear to go along with the trend. We got in on the action and tried it out for ourselves, with a stand up paddle board (SUP) workout with Super SUP Fit instructor Sophie Malpass. Core workouts and stability exercises can be tricky enough on solid ground, as it’s all about finding your inner balance and using your physical and psychological strength to hold a series of poses. Add a paddle board to the mix and it’s a whole different ball game. It may look easy and fairly elegant, but trust us, SUP fitness is not as simple as it looks. It’s all about gaining confidence on the board and finding stability on the water before you integrate the exercise element.
Sophie showed us a thing or two on the board as we stumbled between our planks and downward facing dogs, proving that it really is all about the practice. Here is a little bit more about the concept and why this is such a great outdoor workout.
How did the idea for SUP Fitness come about?
I was on holiday in Greece and I saw a SUP class on the beach; everyone was laughing and smiling and it just looked like so much fun! It suddenly dawned on me that it could really work in Dubai due to the location and fitness vibe out here so I spent the whole holiday devising a plan using my professional dance experience and knowledge to start up my own classes. I dragged my poor parents to the beach at 5.30am to take some pictures and try out some exercises on a paddle board. Luckily we caught the amazing morning light and calm water so they turned out pretty well!
What are the main benefits of this style of workout?
The SUP board really challenges your balance and so instantly you have to become very aware of how you are exercising and moving your muscles – unless you want to make a splash! Super SUP Fit helps to increase your control, proprioception and strength. It’s a cool workout to feel a different sensation that you’re not used to, and there are a lot of giggles and smiles. It’s great if you go as a small group with your friends and it’s really not a bad location to be working out in!
How does the paddle board elevate the level of intensity?
Being on the paddle board definitely elevates the intensity again due to the balance, so take a simple down dog – you really have to think about increasing your shoulder, abdominal and leg stability. I often find my clients concentrating so hard they forget to breathe so I always encourage them to breathe properly on the exertion to work the exercises to their full potential.
Why is it important for people to get outside and exercise?
The beach, clean air and sea does amazing things for your attitude so I always think exercise is more enjoyable outside, plus I try to match motivating music and instructing energy to a beachy feel so everything compliments each other in a feel good, positive way. It’s also important to relax too so 10 minutes of relaxation happens at the end of every class, floating blissfully on the sea.
What are the main stabilising muscles required for balance?
Definitely your core and glutes which is what I like to focus on – and let’s face it, everyone wants to aim for a flat tummy and peachy bikini bum! The exercises on the SUP board also really find strength and control in your thighs especially during the lunges and yoga section.
How often would you do these sessions before seeing results?
Everyone is different but I would say after 6 classes you will become more confident with the balance on the board and you can start to work with it and not against the sensation to reach the full potential of the workout.
Now that you’ve got the exercise session chosen, you’re going to need some beachy products to suit. Here are a few options to get you geared up for your first Super SUP Fit session:
And there you have it! Yoga and Pilates on a paddle board is most definitely a thing. It’s also a great way to have fun with your workout and to hit the outdoors now that the weather has cooled down. It’s always great to try new workouts and keep your exercise routine varied, so you don’t fall into a workout rut. It’s also a good idea to incorporate exercise into your daily routine by making small changes to how you go about your day.
Find Super SUP Fit on Instagram and Facebook @supersupfit
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