This site is also available in: Deutsch

SUP Pilates

Cover Illustration for the article about Stand Up Paddling Pilates
Table of contents

What we like about Stand Up Paddling is the diversity that this sport offers. Therefore, this is also a point that we would like to celebrate and motivate other stand up paddlers to try something new from time to time. That’s why this article was created. The reasoning is simple. If you can practice yoga on a SUP board (for which we already wrote a post with 9 SUP yoga exercises to get you started) then Pilates shouldn’t be a problem either, right?

3 reasons why SUP Pilates is the perfect combination

While yoga will be familiar to most, Pilates is only known by its name to many. In addition, there may also be a few Pilates practitioners who are reading this post and for whom Stand Up Paddling is still new. For you all, we would like to list three reasons why the two are a match made in heaven.

  1. pilates are exercises aimed at strengthening the deep muscles, improving posture, while also having a benefit in stress management. Stand Up Paddling exercises the body naturally by balancing the unstable surface. Just like Pilates, it also works the deeper muscles that are somewhat neglected in traditional strength training.
  2. the increased difficulty of performing the exercises on a SUP board helps make the movements even more mindful. A key benefit that can be gained from this is that the focus is on the quality rather than the quantity of the movements.
  3. new stimuli keeps one physically as well as mentally flexible. We all know how quickly we fall into routines. However, if you change one aspect, the activity can appear to you in a completely new light. So changing the location and base of your Pilates workout can give you a new boost. The same is true for stand-up paddling, when you may not feel the same fire as when you started. If you feel like you’ve paddled the same trip a hundred times, there’s a good chance you’ll fall in love with the sport all over again when you try something new.

7 Pilates exercises you can try as a beginner

A few important points up front.

  • It is recommended that you know the basics of Stand Up Paddling. If you are a complete beginner, here are our instructions for SUP beginners.
  • The same safety precautions apply when practicing yoga or Pilates on the SUP board. The leash is an absolute must and wearing a life jacket or PFD is recommended.
  • The wider and more stable your board, the easier you will find Pilates on it. A wide all-around board suitable for beginners or a special yoga board will certainly make it easier for you to perform the movements.
  • If you have never done Pilates before, practice the movements first on land on solid ground. Then you will succeed much better on the SUP board.

1. Shoulder Bridge

Illustration of a woman, doing the pilates excercice shoulder bridge

Lie on your back and straighten your legs. Arms lie stretched out beside the body. Exhaling lift the buttocks so that the body touches the floor only with the shoulder blades and the feet. Tense body and hold position briefly. Back and thighs should form a straight line. Then slowly lower buttocks back down and bring back onto SUP board. Repeat 4-9 times.

2. Atlas

Illustration of a woman, doing the pilates excercice atlas

Turn from the supine position and come to the starting point of the quadruped stand. Place the hands directly under the shoulders and the knees under the hips. Do not let head hang down. Extend left arm and right leg on the floor and lift off. Come back to the starting position. Then switch sides. Repeat several times.

3. Cat’s Hump

Illustration of a woman, doing the pilates excercice cat hump

In quadruped stand, first push the back up like a cat hump and make it round, hold briefly, then go into the opposite movement and let the back sag. Pause here again briefly and repeat the movement several times.

4. Back Extension

Illustration of a woman, doing the pilates excercice back extension

Lie prone on the SUP board. The arms are parallel to the body at the sides. Tighten the abdomen, pull the shoulder blades together towards the back at the top. The area around the sternum opens, the upper torso lifts. Inhale as you do this. With the exhalation, lower the upper body back down. Slowly perform several repetitions.

5. Leg Lift

Illustration of a woman, doing the pilates excercice leg lift

Move again to the quadruped position as the starting position. With an exhalation, lift the right leg vertically upward until it forms a 90 degree angle. Now bend the knee and push the foot up as far as possible without falling into a hollow back. Tense the abdomen and hold the position briefly. Then slowly lower again. Repeat the movement 10-15 times. Switch sides.

6. Herkules

Illustration of a woman, doing the pilates excercice hercules

Return to lying on back with legs hip-width apart. Roll/lift the head and torso up to the tips of the shoulder blades, extending the arms horizontally at hip level. Pump up and down with arms. Do 15-20 repetitions.

7. The Hundret

Illustration of a woman, doing the pilates excercice the hundret

The Hundret is suitable for intensifying the Hercules exercise even further. The starting position remains the same, except that the legs are stretched. This additionally challenges the abdominal muscles.


Vor über 10 Jahren stand ich das erste Mal auf einem Surfboard und dieses Gefühl vom “auf dem Wasser stehen”, hat mich seit dem nie mehr losgelassen. Am Anfang war SUP „nur“ die Alternative für Tage ohne Wellen, um trotzdem auf einem Board stehen zu können. Allerdings ist diese „nur Alternative“ mit der Zeit zu einer eigenen Leidenschaft geworden. Deshalb freue ich mich für euch hier über spannende Themen rund um diesen wunderbaren Sport schreiben zu dürfen.

Table of contents

Join The Ride

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date when we post new articles.

More articles

Aldi SUP: Zray Fury Premium 10’6″ Review

Just like Lidl, Aldi has also jumped on the trend with a Stand Up Paddle Board. This is a modified version of the Fury Pro 10’6″ from the well-known brand Zray. In our test, we took a closer look at the SUP from Aldi, the Zray Fury Premium 10’6″.

Read More »
Aqua Marina Vapor SUP mit Zubehör

Aqua Marina Vapor 10’4” Review

The Aqua Marina Vapor 10’4″ is a classic family and beginner SUP board. As an all-round board, it has a rounded shape and wide footprint of 79 cm (31″). These two features make it ideal for beginners who want to make their first attempts at Stand Up Paddling.

Read More »