Getting Your Workout in on the Beach

If you have a beach, you have a workout.  When vacationing to the beach, no excuse exists not to exercise, and with the warm sand beneath your feet and the ocean as a backdrop, beach workouts are almost enjoyable.


Enjoyable, that is, unless you’re up for the challenge of my #1 beach workout: sprint ladders.  This workout is simple, effective and killer.  Set up cones or sticks or spare articles of clothing or seashells or whatever you have 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 yards from a “starting line.”  Simply sprint from the starting line to the 50-yard marker and walk back to the starting line.  Perform that again.  After you’ve done two sprints to 50-yards, perform two to 40, two to 30 and so on until you are down to the 10-yard marker at which point you do four sprints if you’re still standing.

Complete two full “ladders.”

Important to remember here, a sprint is an all-out, unsustainable effort.  Few will be able to complete this due to the incredible conditioning demands.  Don’t feel bad about running (think 75%-80% max effort) or even jogging through the ladders – either will provide an exceptional workout.

You’ll feel this in your quads, calves, adductors, lungs and, surprisingly, abs.  Sprinting is a great abdominal workout.

WARNING:  If you are not accustomed to sprinting, don’t assume you can just because you think you’re in shape.  The dynamic stretching and stress this activity places on your muscles, ligaments, joints and tendons is unlike any other form of exercise and can be a recipe for pulled muscles and greater problems, particularly torn Achilles’ tendons.

This is one of, if not the best, lower body conditioning workouts I have ever done.  It makes you a bad ass.  If you can legitimately complete both ladders sprinting full-out, you are awesome.  Take this workout home with you and perform on a soccer field.


If you’re squeezed for time, try this: 100 up-downs.  The Crossfitters call them “burpies” and by any name they offer a good total body conditioning challenge.  Find your patch of beach and start by doing as many up-downs as you can without stopping.  I like to add a full pushup at the bottom and as much of a jump as I can muster at the top.

I typically knock out 25 or 30 to begin with.  From there, try to perform 10 every minute, resting during the extra time you have each minute after completing your reps.  If that’s too much, go for five reps each minute.  What’s important is that you keep going on whatever pace you can sustain.

You should be able to knock this out in 15 to 20 minutes, tops.


Swimming in the ocean with the waves and the tide is much different than swimming in a pool.  Swim 10 minutes down the beach in one direction and then swim back.  Between fighting the waves and current, this is a surprisingly challenging workout, particularly if you’re not an efficient swimmer, which makes it a better workout.  It goes without saying to avoid this if you’re not a confident swimmer.


Again, utilizing the current, wade into the water to knee level and simply walk down and back through the surf for whatever amount of time you have.  The resistance provided by the water and current offers enough of a challenge to make this worth your time.  You might be surprised at the effort required from your core to keep your balance.

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