Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.

Which muscles work when paddling?

Did you know that paddling is a great way to strengthen your body? Not only does it give you a great escape on the water, but it also works many of the muscles in your body. To maximise the results of your paddle session and sculpt your figure, it is essential to know which muscle groups are involved. In this article, we will guide you through the muscles involved in paddle boarding and the benefits to your body.

Upper body muscles

Paddleboarding is an excellent physical activity to work in depth the muscles of the upper part of the body, toning and strengthening them, without risk of injury.

  • The back is certainly the most solicited part of the paddle. Indeed, the paddling movements to move forward require a pulling action that calls upon the muscles of the large dorsal, the trapezius and the rhomboids.


  • When paddling, balance is achieved by the contraction and release of the abdominal muscles. These muscles allow your body to find its balance point on the board. Also, when you paddle, your upper body needs to stiffen up, and that’s when your abdominal muscles come into play, contracting.
Quels muscles travaillent quand on fait du paddle
  • The shoulders are also very much in demand during paddling and form the link between your abdominal and back muscles. Paddling movements transfer the effort from your abdominal muscles to your back muscles and involve the deltoid and pectoralis major muscles, which work in synergy to allow for the rotation of the shoulder and the pushing of the paddle. You will quickly notice that the paddle tends to come out of the water when you pull it back towards you. In this case, your shoulders should exert a slight pressure on the shaft to keep the paddle blade submerged.


  • Finally, the arm muscles, especially the biceps and triceps, are also involved in the paddling motion, while the forearms are used to maintain a good grip on the paddle.

Lower body muscles

Paddling involves not only the muscles of the upper body, but also the muscles of the lower body, due to the instability of the board. To maintain balance on the board, you must constantly adjust your position on the board using your leg muscles, especially your hamstrings, and your glutes. By bending your knees slightly, you strengthen your ankle, hip and thigh muscles.

The benefits of paddling for the body

Paddleboarding offers a multitude of benefits for the body, particularly in terms of muscle strengthening. This water sport involves many muscle groups, from the head to the feet, and allows for a global and effective strengthening of the whole body, without the risk of muscular or articular trauma. By working the muscles of the back, shoulders and arms, you can improve your stability, power and endurance.

In addition to strengthening muscles, paddleboarding also helps to improve and maintain an upright and balanced posture, which can help prevent lower back pain.

Finally, regular paddle boarding can have beneficial effects on heart and lung health. This discipline, so popular with sportsmen, increases cardiorespiratory endurance and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Tips for optimising the muscles involved in paddling

  • To optimize the muscles involved, it is important to position your body properly on the board. Make sure your feet are slightly apart to increase your stability and bend your knees to reduce the impact on your joints. Also, keep your back straight and your shoulders relaxed to avoid muscle strain.
  • Like any discipline, a warm-up is essential! Dynamic stretching of the lower and upper limbs will help prepare your body for the coming effort, improve your flexibility and reduce the risk of injury.
  • One last tip: take your time. Paddling is a demanding physical activity, so it is important not to overestimate yourself by going too fast, and to give your body time to adapt to the effort.

Good technique and sustained effort are the keys to good paddling. According to Frédéric Loubeau, sports coach, paddling is a more than complete activity that can be combined with various disciplines, including pilates, cardio-training and muscle strengthening. With good physical condition and regular practice, you can improve your stamina, your figure and your technique, which will make your paddling sessions longer and more fun!

If you have any questions about this or any other request, please do not hesitate to contact us!

Article that might interest you

La souplesse est l’un des points qui différencie le wing foil des pratiques telles que la planche à voile. Là où en windsurf, nous étions …

Imaginez glisser au-dessus des vagues, presque comme si vous voliez au-dessus de l’océan ! Issu du downwind qui se pratique en SUP depuis une dizaine …

Le paddle est une activité qui a fortement gagné en popularité au cours des dernières années. Étant facile d’accès, tout le monde peut s’éclater à …

Lors d’une inondation avec une forte grue, il est impossible d’utiliser sa voiture pour se ravitailler ou aller voir ces voisins si besoin. Idéalement il …