Onboard, crew will not have a gym or much space to keep fit – but there are still plenty of ways to exercise. You can still tone up, relieve tension, and strengthen your body all over, all the while improving your stress management, sleeping habits, relaxing joints, balance, and overall health and well-being. There are a few key exercises for yacht crew to insert into their workout routine onboard without any of that fancy machinery (although you can always bring some small equipment with you).

Next time you’re onboard and wanting to blow off some steam, incorporate the exercises below into your routine. Here is a list of the best bodyweight exercises to do onboard.

Photo sourced from: Bluewater Yachting

1. Plank

Planks are excellent for your body. They primarily target the core muscles, including the abdominals and lower back, which all helps to promote a strong and stable core, better posture, and spinal health.

What to do: Start in a push-up position with forearms on the ground, elbows under shoulders, and body forming a straight line from head to heels. Engage your core, squeeze your glutes, and maintain a neutral spine. Hold the position for as long as you can with proper form, aiming for at least 20-30 seconds initially. Remember to breathe normally and don’t let your lower back sag.

How to progress: Gradually increase the duration as you get stronger, and try different plank variations for an added challenge – such as the side plank, high plank, and planks with leg lifts or shoulder taps.

Image sourced from: Tom’s Guide

2. Push-Ups

Push-ups are beneficial for your body because they strengthen your upper body muscles, including the chest, shoulders, and triceps. As well as this, they engage the core, help maintain joint health, and improve posture.

What to do: Get into your starting position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and toes touching the ground. Next, lower your chest toward the ground by bending your elbows and maintaining a straight body. Push back up to the starting position by straightening your arms. Repeat.

How to progress: Gradually increase the amount of reps you perform, and try different variations which target slightly different muscles – such as the incline push-up, decline push-up, diamond push-up, and the wide-arm push-up.

Image sourced from: Real Simple

3. Squats

Squats are good for you because they strengthen your leg muscles, improve lower body mobility, enhance core stability, and promote overall functional strength and balance.

What to do: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your back straight, chest up, and gaze forward. Lower your body by bending your hips and knees, as if sitting into a chair. Go as low as your flexibility allows, aiming for a 90-degree knee angle. Keep knees aligned with your toes, and heels on the ground. When you stand up, push through your heels and squeeze your glutes. Repeat.

How to progress: You can increase your reps, and then try different squat variations like – the pistol squat, paused squat, and the sumo squat.

Image sourced from: Sunny Health and Fitness

4. Lunges

Lunges build leg strength, improve balance, target multiple muscle groups, and enhance lower body flexibility.

What to do:  Stand with feet hip-width apart. Step one foot forward and lower your body until both knees form 90-degree angles. Keep your front knee over your ankle, and your back knee just above the floor. Push through the front heel to return to the starting position. Repeat with the other leg.

How to progress: Try variations such as – the side lunge, jumping lunge, reverse lunge, and the curtsy lunge. As well as increasing reps, doing different variations will target different areas.

Image sourced from: Women’s Health

Read more SYC: Yacht Crew Yoga: Best Exercises To Do On Onboard

5. Wall Sit

Wall sits are ideal for strengthening leg muscles and improving endurance. Since there is no need for equipment, they are a convenient exercise for building lower body strength and stability.

What to do: Lean with your back against a wall, then slide down until your knees form a 90-degree angle. Hold this seated position for a set duration, keeping your back against the wall.

How to progress: Gradually increase the duration as you get stronger.

Image sourced from: Bustle

6. Tricep Dip

Tricep dips target and strengthen the triceps, enhance upper body pushing strength, and promote toned arms and improved upper body function.

What to do: Sit on the floor with knees bent and feet flat, hands behind you, fingers pointing forward. Lift your hips off the ground. Bend and straighten your elbows to lower and lift your body. Repeat.

How to progress: Increase your reps, then you can perform tricep dips using a chair or an elevated surface to really make those muscles work.

Image sourced from: Popsugar

7. Superman Pose

The superman pose is great for your back and helping to improve your posture.

What to do: Lie face down, then lift your arms, chest, and legs off the ground, squeezing your lower back and glutes. Hold this pose briefly and lower down. Remember to breathe in as you lift, out as you lower.

How to progress: You can hold this position for longer periods of time, and move your arms behind or in front.

Image sourced from: Hussle

Final Tips

All of these exercises are ideal for tight spaces onboard, and can be performed quickly. It’s also worth having a look at yoga workouts (all bodyweight movements), which are great for body and mind.

An exercise mat is a noteworthy companion to your workouts, too, since it will make all of those exercises easier on your joints. Also, it is crucial to maintain top form when you exercise – avoid any unnecessary injuries!

To progress even further:

  • Take resistance bands with you. You can use them to challenge yourself and enhance your strength
  • Bring weights. They don’t have to be kettlebells or dumbbells, either – you can pick up any object and use it as extra weight if you want a bit of extra resistance

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