Best Exercises To Do at the Beach
Ah, summer! Just saying the word makes me happy. Especially when the best thing that goes with summer is the beach! Yes, summer and the beach go together like peanut butter and jelly. Not only is the beach a great place to get away and relax, but it is one of the best places to have an amazing workout. Exercising in the sand makes everything a little bit more challenging. Whether you’re a novice or a pro, young or old; one of nature’s greatest gifts has something for you.
Don’t get pigeon-holed into thinking that your beach workout has to consist of only squats and sand runs. Today I am going to make it really simple to get a total body workout with just a beach ball and towel. Come take a walk on the sandy side with me; No matter your age or level of fitness, these beach exercises are sure to please.
What you will need:
- A towel
- A beach ball (if you don’t have one your towel will work)
- A pair of running shoes/sneakers
- A BIG BOTTLE OF WATER!
1. Warm-Up by Running the Stairs, Boat Ramp, or Boardwalk
- Use the stairs/boat ramp as your warm up.
- Depending on your fitness level you can choose to walk or run.
- For a big set of stairs do at least 3 to 5 rounds. 1 round is up and down.
- For a small set of stairs do 6 to 8 rounds.
Tip: Even though you are working your legs remember to engage your core by tightening your abdominals and thinking of moving from your core. This will help lighten the load on your lower body. Especially while going down the stairs. (Also make sure to clear any sand so that you don’t slip.)
2. Around the World Planks (towel needed)
- Fold the towel in a rectangle shape. Make a small hole in the sand and place your folded towel in the center.
- Place your hands on the towel and extend your legs out behind you so that you are in a plank position. You can modify the plank by using your knees.
- Start walking your legs clockwise by opening your left leg then bringing your right leg in to match. Do this until you have completed a circle or around the world, then reverse.
- Try doing 3 times each way.
Tip: Focus on a slight pelvic tuck, pulling your lower abdominals in and up to protect your lower back and prevent sway back. A strong upper body is critical during your plank since it‘s where you are moving from.
3. Pass the Ball (or Towel)
- Place your towel on the sand for you to lie on face up.
- Extend your legs towards the sky with the ball between your feet.
- Extend your arms over your head.
- Come halfway up reaching for the ball as your legs pass the ball to your hands in a movement that’s similar to a crunch.
- Bring your legs together as you lay down, stretching your feet away from your hands.
- Now curl back up passing the ball back to your feet.
- Try doing 2 sets of 8 reps each.
Tip: As you extend your body, engage your abdominals, glutes, inner thighs and arms. Always modify for your level. It’s ok if you don’t go all the way down and you bend your knees.
4. Lateral Walking Squat with Heel Drag
- Begin by squatting with your legs wide and facing out.
- Drag your left leg in towards the right leg, digging your heel in the sand.
- Open back up by dragging your right heel laterally.
- Try doing 2 sets of 5 drags each leg.
Tip: Try making a straight line in the sand with each heel drag and then follow that same line when you reverse.
5. Single Leg Plank/Warrior 3
- Begin in a plank position and then raise your right arm to your ears, reaching for the sky.
- Standing on your right leg, bring your left leg an inch off the ground. If this is difficult modify by bending your standing leg.
- Hold the plank for 5 long breaths, lower and switch legs.
Tip: Remember this is a plank, no matter how low your upper body goes or how high your leg goes, there should be one straight line from your finger tips to your toe tips. Pull your abdominals in and up as you draw your shoulders down. Reach your hands and feet away from each other.
Extra: If you are feeling up for it, add the ball or towel by placing it in your hands; lower and lift your arms with each breath.
6. Sand Squats
- Dig your feet deep in the sand until they are stable and pack the loose sand back on top of your feet.
- Bend your knees to a 90° squat and stand back up with your arms straight out.
- Do 2 sets of 10.
Tip: When doing squats it’s important to keep your knees over your feet, if they go beyond your feet you are risking knee injury. Try sitting back a little since your feet are secured by the sand
Extra: Try holding the ball or towel and move your arms up as you squat.
7. Down Dog/Up Dog
- Stand with feet hip-width apart.
- Bring your hands to the ground (bend knees if needed).
- Walk your hands out until you look like an upside down V.
Tip: Lengthen your arms drawing your shoulders away from your ears, press your hamstrings back as your chest reaches for the ground, fingers spread.
- Tuck your tail bone as you roll through your spine one vertebra at a time.
- Think “Tailbone, belly-button, rib cage, chest, head”.
- Arch up, hips down.
- With your arms straight, press the ground away from you.
- Reverse (Head, chest, rib cage, belly-button, tailbone).
- Try doing 3 rounds with long deep breaths, taking your time to really roll through your spine.
Tip: Open your chest and imagine pulling your hips through your arms, dragging your legs as the crown of your head reaches for the sky.
Resistance and Balance Are Key to Beach Workouts
Definition: “Resistance Training is an exercise that causes the muscles to contract against an external resistance with the expectation of increases in strength, tone, mass and/or endurance”. The two forms of resistance training one uses while at the beach are the sand and water. There is not one sport out there that isn’t amplified when done in the sand. Take Beach Volleyball, for instance. When done on a hard court it is yes, a good work out. When done on the beach it is a whole other level, due to the sand adding resistance, but effective resistance training requires balance.
The sand is an uneven unpredictable surface and it will wake up all your stabilizer muscles forcing you to be in the moment or fall. The definition of a stabilizer muscle is: “A muscle that contracts with no significant movement to maintain a posture or fixate a joint.” Imagine your body stretching and growing apart when you are doing any balancing exercise. Even though you are standing still in most balance moves, you should never be stagnant. Every muscle should be engaged and reaching away from your core, that is the best way to be successful at balancing.
Don’t Give Up!
When your brain and every muscle in your body is telling you to “GIVE UP, STOP, THIS IS TO HARD, or IT’S TOO HOT,” keep going! You only have yourself to compete with, only yourself to live with when you give up. You deserve it, you can do it, you will succeed!!!
Always remember to laugh and smile!