I work out at the beach on a regular basis. It’s my happy place. Over the years I’ve added quite a few toys to my arsenal of workout equipment. I like to keep it a little rustic, so I’ve made a few of my own pieces of equipment just for the fun of it. Plus, the sand and the salt water can take a toll on stuff, so I don’t like to spend a lot of money on equipment that’s going to get used hard and put to bed wet (sometimes literally). I’m always experimenting with new ways to tax my system and have fun while doing it. I’ve got my system down, so it only takes me a few minutes to load my gear onto my golf cart and get down to the beach.
Besides the wonderful view, there are a few advantages to working out at the beach. First, beach sand is an unstable surface, so it is a fantastic venue for neuromuscular stability training. Your body has to pay attention to form in everything you do to stay balanced, which is the best thing you can do to maintain a solid core. It’s a relatively soft surface, so you won’t be jarring your joints too much when jumping or bounding or doing any other impact type work. You don’t have to worry about dropping equipment or getting anything dirty, and there’s no cleanup when you’re done. Best of all, when it’s hot outside, you can just run in the water to cool off.
People often stop and asking me what I’m training for, and my usual reply is “Life”. The type of workouts I do, especially my beach workouts, are geared to keep me in shape to perform the everyday tasks of life. I still go to the weight room and push some iron a few days a week, but two or three days a week I perform a high intensity interval training workout, focusing on functional body movements. I try to create exercises that mimic the five primary movement patterns of the activities of daily life. Those movement patterns are:
- Pulling movements
- Pushing movements
- Bend and Lift movements
- Single leg movements
- Rotational movements
Every workout I create for myself includes exercises that work all five movement patterns so that I can ensure my body is trained to keep all movement patterns at their peak. I also make sure that the exercises I create are symmetrical so as not to create an imbalance on one side or the other.
The biggest thing I have learned over the years of doing these types of workouts is to not trade form for speed. As fatigue sets in our body’s want to start compensating to make the movements easier. If we don’t stay focused our bodies will start to compensate in our movement patterns as we get tired, which is unfortunately exactly what you don’t want to do. Those compensations are what create create problems in the long term. If we don’t stay focused during a hard, high volume, high intensity workout we may cause more harm than good in the long run. I am probably over the top about this, but I emphasize form over speed with my clients while working out and during my boot camps. It’s what is best for you in the long run.
The reason I’m talking about my home beach gym and the type of workouts I do there is that after many requests from people to work out with me on the beach, I have finally started a weekly Saturday morning boot camp on the beach. I mix it up every week to keep it interesting. I conduct an hour workout, which includes warmup period, a few minutes to practice some of the movements you may not be familiar with, a 20-30 minute high intensity interval workout, and a warm down period. All in it’s about an hour workout, and it’s a great way to start your Saturday morning. If you’re looking to have a fun beach workout, come out and join me the next time you have a free Saturday morning.