Beach nipper workout

Not just for kids, Nipper style training is an excellent workout. Exercise Physiologist Neil Russell shows you the moves.
Published 5 February 2017

Train like a nipper

Have you ever seen nippers going through their weekend session at the beach and thought to yourself, “Wow! That looks like a fun way to exercise”? Well, not only is it fun, it’s also an extremely effective way to improve overall fitness and optimise weight loss. Exercising in water and on soft sand can mix up your routine and intensify your workout. Here are some exercises that you can incorporate into an awesome workout and train like a nipper. If you want to do this as a complete workout, make sure you pace yourself because it’s enjoyable but challenging. Repeat the circuit up to three times. Give it a go!

1. Shoulder taps

Works: Core & shoulders

How-to: Start in a high push-up position on your hands and knees. Your hands should be under your shoulders, core engaged, your body in a straight line, bottom tucked in slightly. Lift your right hand to touch your left shoulder, place it back down and repeat on the other side. Repeat for 30 seconds to one minute.

Challenge: Complete the taps on your toes (as pictured).

Shoulder taps

2. Plank shuffle

Works: Core

How-to: Start in a plank position with your forearms under your shoulders and knees hip-width apart. Engaging your core, slowly step your right knee to the side and bring your left forearm next to your right. Then step your left leg across to your right at the same time as you move your right forearm out to the side. Slowly shuffle five steps to the right, pause, then five steps to the left. Complete three reps.

Challenge: Complete the shuffle on your hands and toes.

Plank shuffle

3. Bear crawl

Works: Arms, legs & glutes

How-to: Start on your hands and toes with your knees bent and your core engaged. Step your right foot forward, right knee next to your right elbow. At the same time move your left hand forward. Repeat with your left foot and right hand. Crawl for about 10 metres, have a 30-second rest, then walk back to your starting point and do another 10 metres. Complete three reps.

Challenge: Aim for 20 metres.

Bear crawl

4. Sand crab walks

Works: Core, legs & shoulder

How-to: Start sitting down with your feet flat on the ground and your knees bent, your hands palms down on the ground behind you. Engage your core and lift your hips off the ground, pressing through your hands and feet. Now you’re in a sand crab position. Holding this position, keeping your neck relaxed, walk 10 metres forwards, then 10 metres backwards as fast as you can. Complete three reps.

Sand crab walks

5. In & outs

Works: Cardio, legs & glutes

How-to: Start on the sand about 30m from the water’s edge, then run or walk really fast down to the water and swim out to just beyond the break. Turn around then swim and body surf your way back in and run back up the beach. Repeat three times with two minute's rest between if you’re a beginner, one minute’s rest if you’re fit, and non-stop if you think you’re an ironwoman/man!

Dry alternative: If you aren’t keen on getting wet, you can do ‘Up & Downs’. Draw two lines in the sand about 30m apart. Lie on your stomach with your toes on the line, your hands palms down under your face, then get up as quickly as you can, turn around 180 degrees and fast walk, jog, run or sprint for 30m to the other line. Lie back down on your stomach and assume the start position. Rest for about 30 seconds between reps.

In and outs

6. Board paddling

Works: Full body

Board paddling provides an amazing workout! If you’re a beginner you can just paddle lying on your stomach. This requires less balance, while still giving you an excellent cardio and upper-body workout. If you’re just starting out in this position you can also kick your legs for extra rhythm and speed. If you’re a little more advanced you can try paddling on your knees. This intensifies the cardiovascular and stability demand, but you can go faster. It also engages your legs, lower back and abs, as well as your chest, shoulders and upper back: a great full-body workout!