09/06/2012 08:07 am ET Updated Nov 06, 2012

Stand Up Paddle Boarding: A Perfect Combination of Exercise and Fun

In the northeast summer is coming to a close, but I refuse to accept it. So, I'm officially deeming September national SUP (stand up paddle board) month... BOOM! That just happened. I'll probably need your help to get this info out. Find me on Facebook here so we can get a group going to make this happen!

More importantly however, is why I'm so passionate about stand up paddle boarding. If you're anything like me, you want to work out while having fun. I'm not going to lie, I enjoy lifting weights, but nothing beats hanging with friends, being outside on a beautiful day, and getting in a great workout.

Stand up paddle boarding is in my top three of favorite outdoor workouts. It's such a versatile and functional tool for fat burning and body sculpting, depending on the type of workout you're looking for; you can manipulate your time on the board to focus on core work, strength, or even endurance. It's as simple as changing your paddling tempo, paddling technique, intensity, or direction (into the wind or downwind). Not to completely geek out on you here, but you can hit every energy system your body offers in one workout on a paddle board.

That being said, you should definitely focus on these three simple exercises to get a great workout. Once you're comfortable on the board in the water, you can do almost anything you can do in a gym. I do, however, recommend working on the basics first and building up to more intense exercises. "SUPing" effectively, like anything else, requires proper technique.

Three Simple SUP Exercises:

1. The Overhead Squat: This is a great exercise because it involves your entire body. It will help with joint mobility intern, making you a better paddler. It's also great for your core and butt, especially because you're fighting the instability of the board on the water.

a. Stand in the middle or toward the back of the board with your feet as far apart as the board will allow.
b. Hold the paddle in both hands with a wide grip above your head with your arms fully extended.
c. Squat down keeping your butt back, heals down, and the paddle above you in line with your shoulders while your arms are still fully extended.
d. Return to standing position and repeat.

2. The Shallow Squat Paddle: This exercise also involves your entire body, but it will also help you start to understand paddle technique and get your heart rate up.

a. Stand in the middle or toward the back of the board with your feet an inch or two from the edge of the board. Your stance will vary according to your height and the width of the board.
b. Hold the paddle with one hand at the top and one hand just a bit higher than the middle of the paddle.
c. Place the paddle in the water in front of you and as you paddle back through the water use the middle grip hand to pull and your top grip hand to push squat 1/3 the way down.
d. Return to standing position with the paddle in the water in front of you and repeat.

3. The Stagger Stance Row: This exercise will help you to feel comfortable moving your feet around the board while challenging you core and legs.

a. Stand in the middle or toward the back of the board with your feet an inch or two from the edge of the board and then take a half step forward with one foot and a half step backward with the other foot. If you look down you should have about 4-6 inches between the toes of one foot and the heel of the other.
b. Bend your knees slightly and keep them bent.
c. Paddle using the same technique as above.
d. Try to switch your footing every four paddles.

After you've mastered these basic exercises, you can try getting fancier with it. Remember to always think about form and work with the water, not against it. It may seem difficult at first, but I've seen people of all ages pick up this sport very quickly. Try it! You'll be glad you did. To learn more about functional exercises and SUP visit:

For more on fitness and exercise, click here.

For more by Matthew Basso, click here.