Let’s be honest – the gym can get old. Same equipment, same routine, same workout. This summer, shake things up with a surf-and-sea workout guaranteed to get your heart pumping. Cross-training is the key to constantly challenging yourself, and this beach workout is no joke. And bonus – between the gorgeous views and the salty sea air, you’ll get an instant mood boost even before the endorphins kick in.
Here’s the thing about beach workouts – all that sand forces your muscles to work harder for stability on the uneven shoreline, and it also adds resistance to every movement even as it reduces impact on the body. Go barefoot to challenge your feet and ankles (unless you have a history of bad ankles). Your toes will work like talons, grabbing at the sand with every stride you take. Keep it safe, though – before you begin, scan your training area for sharp objects.
For this sandy circuit workout, complete one set of each exercise without stopping. That’s one circuit. Complete three circuits with one-minute rests between each round – that’s your entire workout. Be sure to bring plenty of water and a towel to mop that sweaty brow, and don’t forget the sunscreen.
Warm it Up
Begin with a warm up to loosen your joints and let your muscles know you’re about to get busy. Jog in the firmer sand closer to the water for a minute or so. Alternate between a regular jog and side shuffles, first facing the water and then the land. Complete a set of deep, easy squats on looser sand. If you like to stretch after warming up, you can do so now.
Start the Circuit
Begin in loose sand. Stand with your feet a little wider than shoulder width apart. Squat down, pushing your backside out while keeping your chest up and shoulders back, hands clasped behind your head. Squeeze your glutes and your core. Return to starting position. That’s one rep. You’re shooting for twelve to fifteen.
Make it easier: Keep your arms tucked in as you begin. When you lower into the squat, straighten your arms out in front of you.
Make it harder: Reach your hands down to the sand on the squat, then explode straight up with your arms overhead and turn 180 degrees clockwise. On the next jump, turn 180 degrees counter-clockwise. Be sure to land softly.
Photographed by Stella Berkofsky for refinery29
Begin in loose sand, feet together. With hands on hips, take one big step forward and drop straight down, bringing your front knee over your ankle. Push off your back foot and leg to come forward to the starting position. Alternate legs as you begin again. Go for twelve to fifteen reps, counting on one side only.
Make it easier: Instead of walking forward on each lunge, try a stationary reverse lunge. Stand with feet together and step backward, lowering down until your forward thigh is nearly parallel to the ground. Then push off your back foot, squeezing your glutes, to come back to the starting position. Complete ten reps on one side, then switch legs.
Make it harder: Step diagonally to the right, keeping the left leg straight. As you stand, drag your leg in, using the sand as resistance. Repeat, stepping diagonally to the left and dragging your right leg in. Remember to keep your core tight.
Begin with feet together. Squat low and using your arms for momentum, jump as high as you can. Lift your arms behind you into a V position and your legs behind you into an inverted V position—forming a star. When you land, drop into a sprawl, a quick drop onto your belly. Then pop back up to the starting position. Complete ten to twelve reps.
Make it easier – skip the sprawl.
Make it harder – switch the sprawl to a burpee. After you land from the jump, kick your feet out into a plank position with your wrists, elbows and shoulders aligned and your body in a straight line down to your toes. Complete a push up, then jump your feet in together to your hands and jump straight up.
Beginning in plank position, lift your hips and squeeze your core to drag your toes towards your hands. Then walk your hands out again to plank position and repeat. Draw a line in the sand or drop a towel as a place marker – you’re going the entire distance.
Make it easier – instead of dragging your feet in, lock your legs together and walk your feet in by taking tiny steps.
Beginning in plank position, step your left hand and left leg to the side at the same time. Keep your core tight and maintain the plank position the entire time. Complete ten reps to the left, then ten reps moving to the right.
Make it easier – move your foot before you move your hand. Remember to engage your core throughout the exercise.
Beginning in the loose sand, sprint straight into the water up to waist level. Then run parallel to shore before sprinting back up onto the beach. Repeat, running in the opposite direction once you’re back in the water. Complete four to six reps, depending on how far you’re running.
Begin on your belly and elbows in loose sand. Crawl forward, using your elbows and knees while keeping your backside and upper body as low as possible.
Finish your workout with sand sprint intervals. With a timer, sprint on the hard sand closest to the water for thirty seconds. Move to the loose sand and jog for two minutes. Repeat the sprint/jog circuit for six rounds. Then collapse in the water and cool off.
Not a fan of the sand? You can slim down in a splash this summer with pool exercises.