5 Perfect Beach Exercises
Before you hit the tiki bar, burn off your piña colada with these made-for-sand moves
Want to look better in your bikini—without leaving the beach to hit the gym? Throw on some sneakers and get moving! You burn almost twice as many calories working out on the sand as you would doing the same routine on a firmer surface, according to a study recently published in the Journal of Strength Conditioning and Resistance. Challenge yourself with these super-simple exercises from Chris Clark, certified beach boot camp trainer and co-founder of Tiger Athletics, a fitness studio based in Plymouth, Minnesota.
The Beach Crawl
How to do it: On soft, dry sand, lower into a plank position. Then crawl forward on your hands and feet for 30 to 60 seconds. Why it works: The slippery sand destabilizes your hands and feet, activating your hamstrings and glutes. Try it sideways or backward for an extra challenge.
How to do it: On a stretch of soft, dry sand near the water, take 10 quick running steps, followed by 20 slower running steps. Then jog back to the starting point on the hard, wet portion of the sand right along the water. Repeat two to three times. Why it works: This simple-sounding drill activates your inner abdominal wall and works your feet, ankles, hamstrings, and glutes to steady each step and keep your body upright on soft sand. Go farther away from the water, where the sand is harder to walk on, to challenge yourself even more.
Run, Run, Skip
How to do it: On a stretch of soft, dry sand near the water, take two running steps then one skipping step. Repeat for 30 to 60 seconds, then beach crawl (see above) or jog back to the starting point on the hard, wet sand along the water. Repeat two to four times. Why it works: Because your feet sink into the sand, it’s harder to leap up off it. And since your legs follow your arms, you’ll naturally exaggerate the movements of your arms to get your feet off the ground on every skip. The result? Your shoulders and arms get a workout while you strengthen the front and back of your legs. Raise your knees even higher or lengthen your strides to make it even harder.
Beach Chair Pull
How to do it: Stand at the foot of a lounge chair with your back toward it and a partner standing about 25 yards away, facing you. Grab the bottom of the chair with both palms up, making sure your elbows are slightly bent. Then, run toward your partner as you drag the chair behind you. Beach crawl on soft sand (see above) or jog back on hard sand while your partner takes her turn. Why it works: As you stumble through the sand, your shoulder muscles shift into high gear to stabilize the chair.
How to do them: Step forward with one foot. Keeping your front knee above your ankle, lower to the ground so that your back knee brushes the sand. Then push up through the front foot, lift your back foot off the ground and use it to step forward into a second lunge. Do six to 12 on each side. Why they work: Because the sand isn’t perfectly level, you’ll inevitably land on the inside or outside of your front foot. To keep yourself from keeling over, you’ll activate the muscles in your entire lower body. “You’ll be surprised how much you feel it,” says Clark.