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Best beach exercises

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8 Bodyweight-Only Exercises for a Killer Beach Workout

October 27, 2019

It really doesn’t get any better than working out on the beach. The waves are crashing, the sun is shining, and all you need is a little motivation—no equipment necessary! Bodyweight exercises are perfect for the beach because the sand and water add just enough extra resistance to take your workout to the next level.

Beach bodyweight workouts challenge nearly every single muscle in your body as well as test your cardiovascular fitness. It’s a win-win! The uneven and unstable surface of the sand forces your body to work harder when you run or jump and it also targets stabilizer muscles that wouldn’t normally be activated on solid ground. Not to mention, you’ll reap all the inherent benefits to being outside—lower stress levels, reduced risk of depression, improved focus, and boosting immunity. What’s not to love?

We’ve compiled 8 of the best bodyweight-only exercises for you to incorporate into your next beach workout. And the best part? You can soothe your burning muscles with a dip in the ocean afterward.



Running might sound like an obvious beach exercise but it really is a great one. A study found that people who run on the sand tend to burn around 1.2 to 1.8 more calories per mile than those who ran on concrete or a solid surface. Another great perk is that running on the sand is easier on your joints but more challenging for your muscles. This means you can run faster and more intensely on the beach than you would on stable ground. Be sure you keep your core engaged and your body perpendicular to the ground, your neck and head should be naturally in line. You can also try running with the water up to your knees for extra resistance.

Beach sprints
Photo credit: Alex Wong/Unsplash

Bear Crawls

Bear crawls are great because they activate nearly all muscles in your body, especially your core, and even more so when you’re in the sand. Start in a near-crawl position in the sand while keeping your knees elevated off the ground—engage your core. Step the left hand and right foot forward simultaneously. Repeat with your right hand and left leg making sure the knees stay only slightly hovered above the sand. Continue to crawl forward while trying your best to keep your hips parallel to the ground. Try it up the beach access stairs for an extra challenge.

Beach bear crawls
Photo credit: Adobe Stock

Walking Lunge with Twist and Crunch

Challenge your stability and balance with this deceivingly-difficult exercise. When performing single-leg exercises in the sand, the variability of the ground will help improve your ankle and knee stability by adding a bit of extra complexity to the movements. Stand with your hands behind your head then step forward with one leg, lunging to 90-degrees. Push through your front heel to bring the back leg forward and your knee into your chest, crunching your opposite elbow to the knee. Next, step the raised knee forward and repeat the process on the other side.

Beach lunges
Photo credit: Adobe Stock

Broad Jumps

Set your legs on fire and get your lungs pumping with broad jumps on the beach. Not only will your muscles need to work harder to lift your body up and forward, but the sandy landing will force your core and stabilizer muscles to stop your momentum and balance you. First, stand and get into a squatting position. Explode up and out of the squat, propelling yourself forward and landing on both feet at the same time. Stand up and repeat for the reps/distance you’ve allotted for your workout.

Sand Shuffle

Tighten and firm your thighs and outer hips with this lateral move. It will also get your heart pumping and your lungs working hard. Sand shuffling is essentially side shuffling with a bit of extra resistance. Stand with your legs wider than your hips then sit in a squatted athletic stance. Move to one side by shuffling one foot toward the other, then stepping out again. Laterally shuffle to one side for a designated distance then repeat on the other side.

Beach sand shuffle
Photo credit: Adobe Stock

Crab Walk

It only seems fitting to incorporate the crab walk into your beach routine. Not only because of the cheesy word association but also because it’s a killer move for targeting shoulders, triceps, hamstrings, and glutes. The position will open up your chest, stretch your abs, and expand your hip flexors. Begin seated in the sand with your feet in front of you and your hands by your hips with your fingers pointed away from you. Press your weight evenly into your hands and feet, lifting your hips and abdomen off the sand. “Crawl” forward by moving your right foot forward with your left hand simultaneously. Repeat on the other side.


Push-ups are another exercise that is an oldie but a goodie. That’s because they work multiple muscle groups while strengthening your core—and when you do them in the sand—your body works double-time. See how many push-ups you can do before failure. For ‘easier’ push-ups, you can start on the harder sand near the water and work your way up into the softer, unstable sand.

Beach pushups
Photo credit: Adobe Stock


Basically, backpedaling is running backward. Performing this exercise in the sand improves your upper- and lower-body coordination and helps increase your agility. Doing “abnormal” movements such as this helps your proprioception which is the awareness of the position and movement of your body. It also enhances your kinetic awareness which is the ability to move your body in harmony, such as your limbs. Just be sure to take small strides and look over your shoulder every once in a while to maintain your bearings.

Beach backpedaling
Photo credit: Adobe Stock
Enjoy your beach workout! 

Written by Ashley Brewer for Knockaround.

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