Updated: Jan 24, 2021
So you think you can't balance on a board! I'm betting that you can. If you need to work on your core muscles to assist your balance (i.e. you are someone who has a 9-5 desk job and sits all day) this blog is for you.
Wanting to improve my core strength was one of the motivating factors that led me to get a SUP. For quite some time, I had been seeing physical therapists to deal with weak, unstable SI joints. In the process, I learned a lot about how important your core muscles are and what exercises you can perform to strengthen them.
One of my favorite tools is a BOSU ball. You can jog on it, balance on one foot, rock it side to side. You can do lunges by pushing off of it, or some good old fashioned push ups. The list of exercises is quite extensive. One of my favorites is an alternation between rocking, balancing while pushing a medicine ball out from the center of your chest, and lifting the ball up over your head. On the BOSU website or YouTube you can find many examples and demonstrations to follow.
If you want to try an Indo board you will not be disappointed. This is about as close as you can get to surfing on land.
If an Indo board is too expensive for you, or just not enough board, try out an Urban Fit Wooden Balance Board Trainer.
Maybe that still isn't your thing. Don't worry, I'm not out of suggestions yet! Get yourself an Airex Balance Pad. You can practice standing on this with one foot. If you have a rebounder try to balance while tossing a small medicine ball at the rebounder and catching it while standing on one foot on the balance pad. Then switch feet. This is actually quite fun and one of my favorite exercises because it will also challenge your hand - eye coordination.
Have you ever stood upon a wobble board? This too can help you improve your balance!
Another simple set of exercises you can easily do in the comfort of your own home is use a large exercise ball to sit on, do push ups off of, bridges, hip thrusts and more! You can also do push ups with the wobble board.
A guaranteed way to make your abs sore for days is to use an ab roller. Do four sets of 20 roll outs with this and you are going to know you did something! Remember if your core is weak you are risking injury. Regretting that comfy desk chair yet?
If you are doing all of these exercises and still struggling to balance on a SUP then my advice is just continue trying. The best exercise to hone your body to perform on a board is being on a board. Don't be afraid to fall and don't be afraid to get wet. In fact some instructors might have their students get wet on purpose just to take away the mental apprehension of not wanting to get wet by falling into the water. Learning to pull yourself back up onto the board after a fall and re-balancing will take a significant amount of strength, focus and energy. You will be thanking yourself for all of those push ups and other exercises you did on land to prepare. And after you have been working up a sweat, falling in feels amazing - even if the goal is to take the ride standing.
I hope this helps you get started if you are having difficulty. Don't give up and remember that falling in is part of the experience. You got this!