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Is paddleboarding good for your back?

by Max Richardson
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Paddleboarding (also called stand-up paddling) is great for strengthening the core and back. Paddleboarding, also known as stand-up paddling or SUP, is a great way to strengthen your back and core. Paddleboarding may have both positive and negative consequences, depending on the state of your back.

SUPing can be a great tool for strengthening the back and preventing lower back pain. This can also prove to be beneficial for people suffering from minor back problems. The poor form could result in a re-injury to your back, especially if you are still recovering from a serious accident.

A medical professional should be consulted if you have a debilitating condition such as a ruptured disc or severe bone loss. If the paddleboard isn’t performed correctly, the further injury could result.

SUPing with regular stretches and muscle tightness can help relieve back pains.

Do you think paddleboarding can help your back strengthen?

Paddleboarding is well-known for its ability to strengthen your core.

By strengthening your core muscles, including your abdominals, quads, and glutes you can strengthen the muscles which support and protect your lower spine and spine from injury.


A passive exercise that is not to be missed is using your legs and core strength while standing on top of the board.

For those who want to slowly improve their back strength, you can spend an hour each morning paddling in flat waters, paying particular attention to your form and technique.

After a few days, you should start to notice an improvement in your balance.

Can paddleboarding cause back pain?

Although paddleboarding is a great sport for core strength and building your muscles to support your lower back, it can also cause pain in the back if not done correctly.

The key to avoiding back problems while SUPing is good form and proper posture. If you allow your lower spine to torque when you pull your paddle in a stroke of SUPing, your lower back will be at the center of the exercise, and it can cause pain.

Recovering from back surgery or degenerative disc slipped discs fractures will likely have to weaken muscles or inflamed neurons surrounding the lower spine.

You might feel these nerves flare up when you try to protect the weak areas of your back by engaging in a core workout that involves twisting and turning your mid-body.

People who paddleboard can have lower back pain even if there are no predisposing medical conditions.

If you experience pain or fatigue in your SI joints or lower back, it is an easy way to find out if you are doing more damage than good to your back.

You might be interested in reading similar articles about What Should You Do When Approaching a Low-Head Dam in a Canoe or Kayak and How To Kayak With A Dog.

SI pain and lower spine

Lower back pain may be a sign that you aren’t using the right muscles. You might not engage your glutes or hamstrings properly, which could leave your lower back to support the weight of the body.

SI pain and lower spine

These are the most common problems with paddleboarding.

Poor form can lead to lower back pain for anyone, but it can be much more serious for those who are more susceptible to SI joint issues and back problems.

Piriformis issues

If you have pain in your hips during paddling, you might be overworking your piriformis (located within your glute, near sciatica nervous).

The piriformis muscles connect your lower spine to your hip bones. Core exercises can cause hip discomfort.

This can often be relieved with the proper stretches and physiotherapy.

Upper back pain

Many paddleboarders have concerns about their upper back. It’s often due to rhomboid tissues taking up the slack of other weak muscle groups such as the Trapezius and Serratus Anterior.

Upper back pain

Bad paddling habits can also lead to these painful sensations. Paddleboarders will often paddle from their shoulders or arms, putting extreme pressure on the muscles.

To avoid this problem, your strokes should start at your core, glutes, or hips. After that, engage your lats. Finally, use your arms to propel the movement through the paddle.

Upper back pain can be crippling and can take time to correct, but it can be managed with the right stretching.

Can paddling help lower back problems?

People suffering from chronic back problems like degenerative disk diseases, mild arthritis, or spinal cord stenosis may be able to benefit from the muscle strengthening action that paddleboarding offers.

SUPing strengthens your core muscles, which support your spine. In certain instances, higher back strength can relieve lower back pain by relieving nerve infringement.

A few paddleboarders have reported that SUPing has helped to improve their back health and reduce their pain levels after back surgery.

Can paddleboarding be beneficial to people suffering from sciatica? Good form and paddling can help you improve your core strength, without straining the sciatic nerves.

There are many benefits to being active in the water, not only for your core health but also for your mental well-being.

Is standing-up paddle paddling IN THE SURF good for your back

The likelihood of injuring and causing further irritation to your spine increases when you leave calm waters for surfing. These can occur from sudden and/or excessive movements during takeoff/wipe-outs or muscle overuse when surfing long distances.

How to prevent back pain while paddleboarding

Stand-up paddling, in comparison to surfing, is better for your lower spine than paddling down on a surfboard. The constant hyperextension of the spine and neck means that you are constantly putting your neck forward.

Your core should shoulder most of your strokes as long as it is correctly positioned and executed.

SUPs can be more challenging to maneuver because they are larger, heavier, and more flexible than other surfboards.

SUP riding involves much lower back rotation, with a lot more pressure from the upper body, and a lot more torque from the paddle.

Additionally to the additional weight of the board, the use of a paddle for directing the angle of the board increases torque movement. This puts more pressure on your lower back and hips.

SUP surfing is not recommended for those suffering from severe lower back pain or those who have recently been injured.

Tips to avoid back pain during paddleboarding

The best form for paddling is to use the right form. Hinging at your hips is the most important part of paddleboarding. Many paddleboarders place too much stress on their lower back muscles during their paddle strokes.

The hip must be hinged at the hip and not the lower. This engages the core of your body – hips glutes, and hamstrings, and stabilizes your pelvis. Bending at hips is like sticking your butt out.

A good hip hinge helps secure your strokes, and can significantly lower the risk of lower back problems. You can inflict serious injury to your lower spine and SI joints if your strokes are initiated by hip twisting, with your spine flexed.

Keep your hips straight and draw the paddle with your hips. To reduce stress on your back, bend forward toward the hips and not the waist.

To transfer the torque to your legs, bend your knees at the beginning of each stroke.

Stretch before and following a session

Doing a decent warm-up before jumping in the pool is an excellent way to avoid injury and keep your lower back strong.

It’s important to make it a habit of stretching and warming your muscles, even if your back isn’t hurting.

Before a session, it is a good idea to raise your heart rate.

Use the right paddle

Your height should be taken into consideration when choosing a paddle length. A paddle too long could strain your shoulders and cause you pain in the back.

A stiff paddle (e.g. A paddle with a carbon core can cause you to over-torque your body while trying to penetrate the water at a right angle.

If this is true, you might consider a paddle made with a flexible fiberglass material. It will provide a more natural feel while paddling through the water.

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