Just add sand.
While it may seem like your beach fun is drawing to a close with the end of summer, it truly isn’t. There’s still plenty of sandy action to be had for those who live near a body of water or have a tropical vacay planned for the months ahead. And, if you want to expand your activities beyond lounging and quick swim sessions, a fun beach workout could be something to consider. In fact, experts say year-round beachside exercise is actually a great way to ramp up your typical fitness routine as it adds an element of friction to anything from Pilates movements to shadowboxing.
“Beach workouts are great for core strength because of sand being an unstable surface, which makes you recruit more muscles to balance,” says Tanya Becker, co-founder of the popular Physique 57 fitness method, to TZR. “Sand also adds more resistance, which makes the workout more intense, hence greater calorie burn. It’s even great for building foot and ankle stability, as long as you are mindful in your steps.”
Between the sweat and the sand, “you get out of your own head,” says Dino Spencer, co-owner of boxing studio 5th St. Gym in Miami. “The same exact exercises that you do either in the park, on the street, or in the gym is probably 30% to 40% harder on the beach,” he explains to TZR. “You have to dig that much deeper, mentally, just to get through them. So, it forces you to ask more of yourself.”
There’s also an element of quiet and calm that a beach setting can offer, allowing you to really focus and connect with your body sans distractions. “When we’re in nature and have a beautiful view of the beach, with the sounds of the waves, we’re so much more connected to ourselves,” says Erika Bloom, founder and owner of Erika Bloom Pilates, a private studio with five locations in Manhattan, The Hamptons, Los Angeles, and Turks and Caicos, to TZR.
So, the next time you find yourself against a beachy backdrop, grab a towel big enough to kick around in the sand and a few water bottles to use for weights — along with extra SPF — for a sweat sesh that gives you the peace and tranquility of the great outdoors and delivers double the benefits. Ahead, the four workouts that will come in handy on your next beach outing, no matter the season.
Becker recommends substituting a ballet barre for a beach chair and trying a routine of “upright V, tricep dips, sandy abs, long-side lift and forearm fold over” movements while barefoot in the sand. This 10-minute sequence works your whole body, and all the moves are displayed for your reference on Physique 57’s subscription-only video on demand app as well its Facebook account. Becker suggests repeating each position or movement for 60 seconds and repeating the entire sequence twice, alternating between both right and left sides.
The fitness pro also suggests supplementing stretching in between movements for relief, ensuring supple, strong muscles. “By taking these recovery breaks, your body can work more efficiently during the high intensity intervals, which equals quicker results,” she says.
For a workout that takes away the mental block, Bloom recommends single-leg bridges. “Begin lying on your back with your knees bent, feet flat, and heels in line with your sitting bones [lower pelvis],” says Bloom. “Press into your feet to lift your hip up into a bridge and maintain a neutral spine. Extend your right leg straight and high and keep your pelvis and spine completely still. Lower the leg back down to hip height for one rep. Do this eight times, exhale, and roll back down in your starting position. Repeat with the left leg.”
If you have some extra time and a towel that can substitute as a mat (and relatively even terrain), add on these equipment-free Pilates moves from Bloom’s 20-minute routine to give yourself a full-body workout.
Box It Out
Got some pent-up energy to burn? Train like a world boxing champion. Trainer and owner of U.M.A. Brooklyn, Anthony Fontana suggests a sequence of “jumping jacks, hip twists, jump squats, curtsy lunges, high knees, butt kicks, burpees, crawl-outs, side lunges, and surfer burpees” to develop the apex in coordination, balance, and endurance. Surfer burpees, the most challenging in the drill, will also increase mobility and flexibility, while working the upper and lower body simultaneously. Here’s a breakdown of the move, for those who might not be familiar.
- Begin standing with feet shoulder-width apart. Squat and stretch your arms in front of you. Then, drop down quickly into a plank position. Do one push-up before springing back up in a side standing position, with feet spread, landing as if you were on a surfboard. Jump back into a plank position and repeat on the opposite side.
“Perform each exercise for 45 seconds with 15 seconds rest and repeat this circuit three to four times, depending on your fitness level,” says Fontana, who notes that no equipment is needed as long as you’re working your boxing form and technique.
Tone Those Arms
For a cardio blast that builds stability and is made for the heat, Antonietta Vicario, vice president of talent and training at P.volve recommends trying the “hinge and pull.” A workout that’s designed for strength training on the sand, this short drill begins with both arms out long in front you, with the right arm slightly lower than the left.
“Extend your right leg back with your heel up,” said Vicario, who recommends using a resistance band like the studio’s p.band for this movement or hand weights as a substitute. “While keeping tension in the band, pull your right hand down towards your right hip. Return slowly upwards and continue for eight reps.” Switch to the left arm and repeat for eight reps. For more arm-toning action, follow this sequence that incorporates more band work.