9 Best Exercises for a Beach Workout

Beaches are typically thought of as a place to relax and unwind, but you'd be missing out if you skip the benefits of a beach workout. Science agrees: working out on the sand can recruit the activity of more muscle groups, reduce injury, decrease post-workout muscle soreness, and increase intensity.

Here are some tips for a successful and safe beach workout, plus the best exercises to try.

Benefits of Beach Workouts

Besides the stellar views and fresh air you can take advantage of on the beach, there are some real science-backed physical benefits to working out on the sand.

Research shows that training on an unstable surface like sand improves gait endurance since it recruits a wider variety of muscle groups and increases joint mobility.

Using sand for sports training can encourage greater physical adaptations and minimize the risk of injury due to lower impact forces on the sand. This can reduce muscle damage and soreness post-workout. 

One of the best exercise modalities to try on the sand is plyometric training. Since plyometric training is explosive and high impact, the sand may offer some protective benefits. Additionally, training on the unstable surface can improve strength, endurance, balance, and agility with less muscle soreness.

What's more, exercising and outdoor natural environments can provide several additional health benefits, including:

  • Increased physical activity levels
  • Lower levels of perceived effort
  • Stress reduction
  • Replenishing mental fatigue
  • Better mood
  • Increased self-esteem
  • Improved view of personal health

The 9 Best Exercises for a Great Beach Workout:

1

Sprints

man running on beach

Patrik Giardino / Getty Images

Sprints work primarily your lower body muscles, including the calves, glutes and hip flexors, hamstrings, and quadriceps. Sprints also engage your abdominals, chest, back, and triceps, making them a perfect whole-body cardiovascular activity.

Step-By-Step Instructions

  1. Begin with your body in a solid, engaged, slightly leaning forward position.
  2. Drive your back leg into the sand and take small, quick steps forward that gradually increase to larger, explosive strides.
  3. Pump your arms by your sides, using them to propel your body forward.
  4. With each stride, lift your front knee and then straighten your back leg fully for the most power.
  5. Reduce your speed slowly, and do not try to stop suddenly.
2

Skaters

Skaters, also known as lateral shuffles, primarily work your hamstrings and quadriceps, but your abs and calves will benefit as well. You may want to choose wet, more packed sand for this exercise, so you don't slip.

Step-By-Step Instructions

  1. Maintain an engaged core and flat back. Bend forward slightly at the hips.
  2. Jump to the right, bringing your left leg behind you and tapping your toes on the ground. Swing your left arm in front of you simultaneously.
  3. Next, jump to your left, swinging your right leg behind you and tapping it on the ground while swinging your right arm in front of you.
  4. Repeat, alternating back and forth for 10 reps on each side.
3

Squat Jumps

woman squatting on beach

Maridav / Getty Images

Squat jumps are a classic plyometric exercise that works your glutes, hip flexors, and quadriceps. Your abs, calves, and hamstrings will also be working hard here, especially on the unstable surface of the sand. 

Step-By-Step Instructions

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, and cross your arms in front of you or on your hips.
  2. Keeping your weight in your heels, bend your knees and lower your hips toward the ground while maintaining a straight back.
  3. Once you feel the stretch in your quadriceps, pause for a count and then jump explosively by driving through your heels and pushing yourself off the ground with your quads.
  4. Extend your arms above you as you jump.
  5. Land softly with your knees slightly bent.
  6. Repeat 10 times.
4

Tuck Jump

Tuck jumps are an explosive plyometric movement that can be too high impact for some people. Performing a tuck jump on the sand might reduce the impact and should be more safe and comfortable for your joints. Tuck jumps will work your hamstrings, quadriceps, abs, glutes, and hip flexors.

Step-By-Step Instructions

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and engage your core, keeping your chest high.
  2. Hinge your hips and bend your knees while lowering yourself a few inches toward the ground.
  3. Explosively push yourself into the air in a jump while bringing your knees up toward your chest.
  4. Land on both feet with a slight bend in your knees before beginning the next jump.
  5. Try 10 repetitions.
5

Shoulder Tap Planks

woman performing plank on sand

agrobacter / Getty Images

Shoulder tap planks will engage your entire core and challenge your shoulder muscles as they work to stabilize you, especially on the sand.

Step-By-Step Instructions

  1. Get into a plank push-up position with your body in a straight line from shoulders to heels.
  2. Maintain an engaged core and keep your hips level as you bring your left arm up to touch your right shoulder before placing it back on the ground.
  3. Repeat with your right arm. That's one repetition.
  4. Perform 10 reps.
6

Bear Crawls

Bear crawls are a functional full-body exercise that primarily engages your abs and shoulders but will also hit your calves, forearms, hamstrings, and quadriceps. This move will build functional strength, agility, and mobility.

Step-By-Step Instructions

  1. Get on the ground with your knees under your hips and your hands under your shoulders. Lift your hips and extend your legs and arms, keeping your neck in a neutral position. Maintain an engaged core throughout the entire movement.
  2. Reach out your right hand in front of you and place it on the ground while simultaneously moving your left foot forward.
  3. Next, move your left hand and right foot forward.
  4. Continue crawling in this back and forth pattern moving opposite hand and foot.
  5. Complete 20 paces.
7

Walking Lunge

woman performing lunge on the beach

Fly View Productions / Getty Images

Walking lunges are a fantastic lower body movement that works your quadriceps, calves, glutes, and hip flexors. When performed on the sand, you will also experience a core challenge as your body works harder to maintain balance.

Step-By-Step Instructions

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands on your hips.
  2. Step forward with a large stride keeping your alternate foot behind you.
  3. Bend your knee to lower your body toward the ground while keeping a straight back and engaged core.
  4. Continue lowering until your rear knee is almost touching the ground and your front leg is bent at 90-degrees.
  5. Push through your heel to extend your front leg while bringing your back leg in a large stride out in front of you and repeating the motion.
  6. Try 20 paces.
8

Crab Toe Touches

What would a beach workout be without a crab toe touch? This exercise will engage your entire body, primarily your hamstrings, lower back, quadriceps, shoulders, and upper back, abs, and obliques.

When performed on the sand, this can be an advanced exercise, so only try it if you have the necessary mobility in your shoulders and hips and it doesn't cause you any pain.

Step-By-Step Instructions

  1. Sit on the ground with your feet in front of you and your hands behind you, fingers pointing to the side or behind you.
  2. Press your feet into the sand and lift your hips, pausing when your body is parallel to the ground.
  3. Contract your core and bring your right hand and left leg up, simultaneously touching your right hand to your left toes.
  4. With control, slowly reverse the movement and switch sides. 
  5. Alternate back and forth for 5 to 10 reps on each side.
9

Crab Walk

This exercise is easier than the crab toe touches and primarily works your glutes, hip flexors, shoulders, and abs. 

Step-By-Step Instructions

  1. Sit on the ground with your knees bent, your feet flat in front of you, and your hands behind you with your fingers facing forward.
  2. Lift your hips and engage your abdominals. Keep your hips up the entire time.
  3. Move forward by walking your right foot and your left hand forward and then switching to your left foot and left hand.
  4. Keep alternating back and forth, keeping your hips up.
  5. Try 10 paces before lowering yourself to the ground.

Safety Considerations

Although working out on the sand can reduce the potential risk of injury and muscle soreness, there are still safety considerations to take into account.

Stay hydrated: Bring plenty of water with you as sweating, especially on hot days, can require even more fluid replenishment than usual. Try to consume approximately 17 to 20 ounces of water or sports drink two to three hours before exercise, and 7 to 10 ounces of water or sports drink 10 to 20 minutes before exercise.

Be mindful of the heat: Overheating during your workout can cause serious health issues. Make sure to dress appropriately in moisture-wicking clothing and stop exercising if you experience any symptoms of overheating.

Wear proper footwear: You can exercise with bare feet if the beach you are on is immaculate, but it is advisable to wear some sturdy footwear that can protect you from potential sharp stones or glass. 

Warm-up properly: Be sure to warm up before you begin with some light jogging and mobility work.

Exercise caution when working out in temperatures 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit or above. Fatigue is possible at these temperatures, and at 90 to 103 degrees Fahrenheit, heatstroke, heat cramps, or heat exhaustion are possible.

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Article Sources
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