Working out on a Boat

  Reading Time:


So much is happening in the world right now, and hundreds of millions of people are under lockdown in their homes. We hope to inspire some ways to stay healthy while living in confined spaces. Welcome to our first-ever guest post by personal trainer Ling Quek. On the boat, we spent a lot of time on the water - sleeping at anchor or on passage travelling between ports. Ling was an early crew member on S/V Kaya and unwittingly signed up for a 36-hour passage between Menorca and Sardinia. She then designed a full-body fitness program for working out on our boat. Use or adapt it for your boat (or home!), and leave questions about the program in the comments.

Note: due to the global pandemic, we are on land (in Singapore). Kaya is on the hard in Italy. Stay healthy, everyone! - Tobi & Sha-Mayn

Planking in Mallorca. Sha-Mayn’s form could be better ;)

Planking in Mallorca. Sha-Mayn’s form could be better ;)

Twiggy attempting to distract Ling from her exercise planning.

Twiggy attempting to distract Ling from her exercise planning.

I was fortunate to join my friends, Tobi and Sha-Mayn, on a 20 day sailing adventure onboard their boat, S/V Kaya, in June 2019. We travelled 250 nautical miles from Mallorca to Sardinia and finally Corsica where I left for home as they continued on their way. During this time, as someone that loves fitness (burn muscles burn) and works as a personal trainer, I wanted to incorporate my love for exercise with the journey and leave them with tips on how to keep this up for years to come.

Taking a walk in Menorca.

Taking a walk in Menorca.

Here’s a HIIT program I designed for the boat (12 metre catamaran). All workouts can be done on passage, however I’ve included some alternatives for extra precaution particularly on days when the ride can get bumpy.

General Observations & Tips

Needless to say, a boat is never going to be as stable as anything on land. There are always waves even when docked and a whole lot more on passage. That the program isn’t going to have any dumbbell deadlifts anytime soon ;) However, looking at the bright side, all that instability makes for a more challenging core workout!

For resistance, using weights in the form of plates (see image below) are great as they lie flat and don’t move when placed around the boat. Buy multiple weights to challenge yourself on different exercises. We used dumbbells that allowed you to add on weights for progression/regression. Note that dumbbells can slide around if you are on passage so ensure they are placed in a safe position during the exercises. 

Being on a boat for hours or days at a time can make your legs wobbly so this program uses the length of the boat for walking lunges and even incorporates a warm-up run around the vessel to get them moving. 

The front of the boat (whilst not as stable as the back) gets the most wind so its my preferred spot for warm-ups, cool downs and rigorous exercises when appropriate. Also, who doesn’t love a panoramic view of the sunset after a hard core workout!

Thanks for reading this post and I hope this is useful for anyone else that’s on their own sailing adventure whenever that may be :)

Planking on the front of the boat in Sardinia. Sha-Mayn’s form has improved.

Planking on the front of the boat in Sardinia. Sha-Mayn’s form has improved.

HIIT Workout by your friendly on-board Personal Trainer, Amazing Ling

Equipment

  • Dumbbell kit with plates
  • TRX Suspension Trainer (optional, used for 1 exercise)
  • Gym or yoga mat

Duration: 40 mins

Warm Up / Cool Down - 3 mins+ each

Exercise - 45 sec work, 20 sec rest

Explanation - 3 pods with 5 stations per pod. You will do 2 sets at each station before moving onto the next one. After you complete each pod, take a 60 second water break.

Warm Up (8 times each exercise)

  • Run round the Boat (on passage do stationary Fast Feet Close to Wide)
  • Windmills Forwards and Backwards
  • Leg Shuffle & Hip Abduction 
  • Hammy & Groin Stretch
  • Quad Stretch
  • Lumbar Twist
  • Squat with Rotation Each Side (squat till knees are bent to 90 degrees, twist torso from left to right)

Pod 1

  • TRX Pull Ups using neutral grip (palms facing each other) or Push-ups without TRX
  • Tricep Dips
  • Plates 3-way
  • front shoulder raise where you lift plates (or weights) in front of you
  • lateral shoulder raise lifting plates to the side
  • “Good Morning” raise where your hands move up in a circular motion to meet each other overhead
  • Front Plank
  • Side Plank

<Water Break 60 seconds>

Tricep Dips

Tricep Dips

TRX Pull Up

TRX Pull Up

"Good Morning" Raise with Plates

"Good Morning" Raise with Plates

Pod 2

  • Goblet Squats (progressively using more weights)
  • Aerobic Steps with elbows touching knees (on passage, do step-ups on stairs, holding on to the side)
  • Bent Over Row using Dumbbell
  • Bulgarian Squat using stairs to prop up your back leg
  • Mountain Climbers

<Water Break 60 sec>

Bent Over Row

Bent Over Row

Bulgarian Squat

Bulgarian Squat

Pod 3

  • Russian Twists (hold weights for progression)
  • V-Ups (lie on back, feet/shoulders off ground, palms touch shins, go down slowly)
  • Glute Bridge
  • Zottman Curl (holding weights, curl up biceps, then twist palms facing downwards to go down)
  • Squat Pulses

<Cool Down: 3 mins +>

Cool Down 

  • Deep inhalation with hands in the air, feeling full body stretch from head to toe
  • Table Top (stretching shoulders)
  • Pectoral muscle stretch (using a wall or vertical pole)
  • Quad Stretch
  • Hammy Stretch (try to touch toes, relax and go deeper in to stretch when exhaling)
  • Lumbar Twist
  • Cat & Cow Pose
  • Cobra Pose
Post workout stretching.

Post workout stretching.

Somewhere between Menorca and Sardinia. Thank you Ling!

Somewhere between Menorca and Sardinia. Thank you Ling!


Like this post

  Never miss a story, get updates in your inbox.