Photo: Will Taylor

Photo: Will Taylor

Paddle Healthy: Circuit Training Exercises

Cranking up the intensity is the best way to make the most of your time training on land. And, one of the best ways to pack an intense workout into a short amount of time is to perform a circuit that incorporates compound exercises that hit all your major muscle groups and will help your on-water performance. While it can be tempting to shake things up with all kinds of weird and wonderful tools and variations, a lot of the classic exercises—such as squats, lunges and pull-ups—have stood the test of time for a simple reason: they work!

A word of warning, make sure that you can perform each of the exercises in the following three videos with outstanding form. One of the worst things we see with high intensity training is that form suffers with the onset of fatigue, and this is when injuries are more likely to happen. So, be accurate with your exercises until you become comfortable with the correct technique, and then turn up the speed and intensity. An easy way to ensure this is to have a buddy workout with you, or at least watch your form on each rep and point out any movement faults. —Phil White

Set Up

If you're outside at the beach or a park, pick three different locations or stations that are far enough apart for you to run or jog between. You should have a station for Push, Pull and Lower Body exercises. Make sure that you jog or run in-between each station and it takes you at least 30 seconds to add the cardiovascular element to the workout. If exercising indoors, use a jump rope, treadmill or ergometer (rowing machine) in-between each station and perform at least 30 seconds of jumping rope, running or rowing between exercises.


It's very important that you get your blood flowing with a proper warm-up that prepares your body for the demands of this circuit—and we don't mean static stretching (we'll tackle the problems with static stretching before a workout in a forthcoming article). Instead, stick to movement-based warm-ups, such as this Paddle Healthy warm-up. You can also jog, row or perform any other cardio exercise with some old school calisthenics like jumping jacks, leg swings and high knees, thrown in for 5 to 10 minutes to get your heart rate up before you start.

Brody Welte from PaddleFit will guide you through this workout in three videos. Choose one exercise from each video, or, if you have time, do both:

Push Exercises


Standard Intensity: 15 push-ups

Advanced Intensity: 1 minute of advanced push-ups


Standard Intensity: 10 reps of chest pass

Advanced Intensity: 1 minute of lay down chest pass

Pull Exercises


Standard Intensity: 10 reps of modified pull-Ups/TRX rows

Advanced Intensity: 10 reps of full pull-ups
*Challenge: slow your descent or hold the pull-up at various points.

*Movement tip: remember to reach full extension each time, even as you pick up the pace.

Standard Intensity: 10 reps of reach and grab on both sides

Advanced Intensity: 1 minute faster pace of reach and grab on both sides

Lower Body Exercises

*Movement tip: don’t let your knee come past your toes in either variation.

Standard Intensity: 20 reps of alternating lunges

Advanced Intensity: 1 minute of walking lunges or jump lunges
*Challenge: try holding a medicine ball or weight plate above your head with arms fully extended during walking lunges.

*Movement tip: squeeze your glutes and force your knees out to ensure rotation through the hips and to protect your knees.

Standard Intensity: 20 reps of squats

Advanced Intensity: 1 minute of jump squats

ADVANCED INTENSITY WORKOUT: Repeat circuit four times

Cool Down

To help your body flush out lactic acid and other by-products after your circuit you need to cool down. Here's a great Paddle Healthy cool down routine. If you don't follow our cool down then make sure you walk at a slow pace for 2 to 5 minutes to let your heart rate slowly come back down toward your normal resting rate. Now is a good time to introduce mobility techniques such as tacking and flossing with a lacrosse ball, or distractions with a stretching band.

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