Time on the beach is as synonymous with summer as watermelon and barbecues. If you’re lucky enough to vacation (or even live) near a beach, the sand is a perfect spot for a fun, functional, and intense beach workout.
The benefits of beach workouts are plentiful, but the real magic lies in the sand. The constant shifting of grains creates an unstable environment, recruiting more muscles in your legs, ankles, hips, and core to keep you stable. Embrace the soft landing surface, which reduces wear and tear on your joints during higher-impact activities. What’s more, the forgiving grainy surface absorbs more energy, leading to a calorie burn that can surpass hard-surface counterparts by up to 50%.
The best part? Once the workout is finished, you can run right into the water to splash around and cool off.
Begin with these warm-up exercises to get your body ready to move and accustomed to the instability of the sand.
Kickstart your beach workout with this core-engaging functional move inspired by Navy Seals.
The Move: Start on your hands and knees, elevating your knees about 2 inches off the sand. Crawl forward by moving your right hand and left foot simultaneously, then alternate with your left hand and right foot. Keep your hips lower than your shoulders and perform the sequence in a slow and controlled manner.
SINGLE-LEG HIP HINGE
Feel the activation of your stabilizing muscles as you balance and move at the hip.
The Move: Stand on your right foot and raise your left foot slightly off the ground behind you. Hinge forward while maintaining a neutral spine and a slight bend in your right leg. Keep your hips square with the ground and try to touch the sand with your left hand (or go as low as you can). Reverse the movement back to the starting position. After 30 seconds, switch legs and repeat on the other side.
Elevate your heart rate with this sand-enhanced exercise that challenges your speed.
The Move: Lift your knees toward your chest alternately, maintaining upright posture. Increase the difficulty by switching legs quickly. If stability is a concern or the impact feels too high, opt for a high-knee march instead.
RUNNER’S STRETCH WITH ROTATION
Stretch your body while engaging your core with this all-inclusive exercise.
The Move: Start in a strong high plank and step your right foot to the outside of your right hand. Raise your right arm straight up to the ceiling as you rotate your upper body and shoulders to the right. Let your head and neck follow the rotation of your spine. Hold this pose for a few moments. Step back to the plank and repeat on the other side.
Strengthen your ankle joints and calf muscles while enjoying the benefits of the sandy terrain.
The Move: Stand on your toes and elevate your heels off the ground. Keep your legs straight and walk forward for 30 seconds.
BACKWARD HEEL WALKS
Boost your ankle stability and prevent shin splints with this effective exercise.
The Move: Maintain a tall and upright posture while walking backward on your heels. Lift the front of both feet off the ground and move with control for 30 seconds.
The main workout follows an AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible) format to challenge your endurance and willpower.
Plant your feet in the sand, sink your hips low, and let the sand absorb your landings.
The Move: Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Drive your arms back and lower your hips down and back into a squat position. Press your feet through the ground, drive your arms up, and jump off the ground. Bend your knees, hips, and ankles upon landing to absorb the impact, returning to the squat position. Repeat for 10 reps.
Experience enhanced shoulder and core strength and stability with pushups in the sand, incorporating rotation.
The Move: Begin in a high-plank position and bend your elbows to lower your chest until it’s 3–5 inches off the sand. Push back up to a high-plank position, and during the next rep, rotate your right hand toward the sky to hold a brief side plank. Return the right hand to the ground and repeat the move, raising the left hand on the subsequent rep.
Master balance while performing lunges on the sand, ensuring each step lands softly.
The Move: Stand with your hands on your hips or hanging loosely at your sides. Take a step forward, landing in a 90/90 lunge position with your front knee at a 90-degree angle. Lower your back knee to about 2 inches off the sand and then push through your rear foot to return to the starting position. Repeat with the other foot, switching feet as you walk. Maintain an upright chest and avoid leaning or wobbling.
Elevate your heart rate with this quick-paced exercise that targets multiple muscle groups.
The Move: Start in a high-plank position, aligning your head, hips, knees, and heels. While maintaining the plank, bring one knee into your chest and return it to the starting position. Quickly alternate between knees. For an additional challenge, drag your toes through the sand as you pull your knees in.
Engage your glutes and hips as you press off the sand and leap from side to side.
The Move: Stand on your left leg and leap laterally to the right, bending your knee and hip to absorb the landing. Simultaneously, reach your left leg slightly behind you and tap the sand for stability. Repeat by pressing off your right leg and landing on your left. Increase the difficulty by performing the moves quickly.
Unleash your full potential with this invigorating beach workout that combines the elements of fun, intensity, and the unique challenges offered by the sandy terrain. Embrace the benefits of a full-body workout that requires no equipment and take advantage of the serene beach setting to make your fitness journey memorable.
Remember to listen to your body, stay hydrated, and modify any exercises as necessary. Achieve your fitness goals while enjoying the beauty of the beach and let the sand be your ultimate fitness companion.