Short on Time? Introducing the 1-Minute SUP Workout

Don’t you hate it when you don’t have enough time to complete a quality training session?

Good news!

You may only need 1 minute of training to get the benefits of a 45 minute session.

Sounds to good to be true huh?

Researchers at McMaster University have found that 1 minute of very intense exercise produces similar health benefits as much longer, traditional endurance training sessions.

We all enjoy spending time on the water to workout or simply relax and clear our mind. Unfortunately, kids, work and life in general can limit our ability to complete quality workouts as we prepare for an upcoming SUP race or fitness goal.

The McMaster study might put the old lack-of-time excuse to rest.

“This is a very time-efficient workout strategy,” says Martin Gibala, a professor of kinesiology at McMaster and lead author on the study. “Brief bursts of intense exercise are remarkably effective.”

1-Minute Miracle? Scientifically Backed Proof

Scientists set out to determine how sprint interval training compared to moderate-intensity continuous training, as recommended in Canadian public health guidelines.

After the workout protocols were completed, researchers examined key health indicators including cardiorespiratory fitness and insulin sensitivity, a measure of how the body regulates blood sugar.

A total of 27 sedentary men were recruited and assigned to perform three weekly sessions of either intense or moderate training for 12 weeks. There was also a third control group who did no exercise at all.

The high intensity interval protocol involved three 20-second ‘all-out’ cycle sprints (1-minute workout). The workout totalled just 10 minutes, including a 2-minute warm-up and 3-minute cool down, and two minutes of easy cycling for recovery between the hard sprints.

The study compared this high intensity cycling protocol with a group who performed 45 minutes of continuous cycling at a moderate pace, plus the same warm-up and cool down.

After 12 weeks of training, the results were remarkably similar, even though the moderate training protocol involved five times as much exercise and a five-fold greater time commitment.

Gibala, who has studied has been studying interval training for more than a decade, was the first researcher to show that a few minutes per week of intense exercise produced benefits similar to longer, continuous workouts.

“The basic principles apply to many forms of exercise,” he says. “Climbing a few flights of stairs on your lunch hour can provide a quick and effective workout. The health benefits are significant.”

So what does this mean for SUP training and racing?

It’s not quite one total minute of training, but it is just one minute of high intensity paddling, and the “1-Minute Workout” made for a catchy headline!

If you have 10 minutes, plus whatever time it takes you to get to the water, you may benefit from a short, focused, high intensity interval paddle session.

Despite the fact that researchers used only a spin bike for the physical exercise, Gibala believes these results can translate across disciplines.

The findings are interesting but let me be clear, this is not a workout plan you should start to follow.

The predominant way you should be training is not with a “1-minute workout”.

It’s a catchy headline but it’s one study done with a bike, not a SUP. Not too mention that the group of men chosen were ‘sedentary’.

I’d like to see this same study with two groups of similar SUP athletes performing the two different protocols. Then we’ll be getting somewhere!

However, if you’re pressed for time, I’d say this is good scientific news to keep you motivated knowing even a short workout can have a positive physiological impact.

It’s likely to be better than doing nothing!

You Still Need A Training Plan

Remember that there are many factors to consider when implementing high intensity interval SUP training. Don’t just go out and mindlessly attempt 20-second all out paddle sprints.

Be sure to perform any training as a part of a larger periodized SUP training program with proper volume aerobic base building, maintenance and tapering before an event.

If you’re pressed for time you can try the workout below as prescribed by Gibala and his research findings.

Be sure to always use good SUP technique and do not attempt if you are not an experienced paddler or have been off of the water for an extended period of time.

Don’t hurt yourself. You should have at least a month of volume building before going into all out sprint efforts.

Exciting New Paddle Training Resource

As I mentioned above, make sure you don’t simply go out and train, or do the workout below without a plan.

It can be hard to know what exactly to do for your SUP training, or the stroke technique you should be using.

I know I ran into training questions plenty of times when I first got into SUP racing 8 years ago.

That’s why I’m excited to let you know about a new SUP training resource launching March 28th.

I’m not going to tell you all of the details now, but I can tell you it’s going to be an awesome SUP training resource for athletes around the world.

Visit now to sign up for more details, updates and exclusive offers leading up to the March 28th launch.

SUPAA will still be dedicated to improving the SUP athlete experience.

Paddle Society is simply the progression of a mission to bring you amazing SUP training content and resources.

The (almost) 10-minute SUP Workout

As per the McMaster University Workout Study:

  • Warm up with at least 10 minutes of paddling.
  • Perform a 20-second all out sprint.
  • Rest for 40 seconds.
  • Repeat 2x
  • Finish with a 3-minute cool down.