Beach Workouts Can Be Torture—But This One Is Worth It

It doesn’t get much better than working out on the beach, right? The sun on your glistening bod, the ocean breeze, the hot lifeguards cruising by… Yeah, until you try to do a burpee on the sand, and realize: Exercising on the beach is stupid hard.

“Working out on sand requires greater stability due to the uneven and sinking surface,” says Adam Rosante, C.P.T., author of The 30-Second Body. “The unstable surface requires your body to recruit more muscle fibers to maintain balance and stability.”

That translates to you getting in a harder workout in the same amount of time. And, since sand is gentler on your joints than pavement or grass, you’re at a lower risk of injury—so long as you sweat smart.

If you’ve never done a beach workout before, the best place to start is close to the water, where the sand is packed down and more stable. “Working out in sand fatigues you a lot faster than hard surfaces,” says Rosante. “Fatigued people who are pushing themselves hard, especially on unstable surfaces, have a higher chance of hurting themselves.”

This 25-minute, five-move circuit workout will skyrocket your heart rate and and strengthen your butt, legs, chest, arms, shoulder and abs, he says. Plus, while the moves may seem basic, Rosante adds that each is made more challenging by the sand.

Think it’s too easy? Do more rounds, or inch your way over to looser ground.

5-Move Beach Workout

Total time: 25 Minutes

Perform each exercise for 45 seconds. Rest for 15 seconds between moves. Once you’ve finished move five, you’ve completed one round—go for 5 rounds for a 25-minute workout, or cut/add rounds to adjust the time.


FitGif V Up

Jen Pena / Alyssa Zolna

How to: Lie faceup on the floor with your legs and arms straight. In one movement, lift your torso and legs as if you’re trying to touch your toes. Lower your body back down. That’s one rep.


fitgif squat

Jenn Pena

How to: Stand as tall as you can with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lower your body as far as you can by pushing your hips back and bending your knees. Push yourself back to the starting position. That’s one rep.


pushup fitgif

alyssa Zolna/ Jennifer Pena

How to: Get into plank position, hands under shoulders. Lower your body until your chest nearly touches the floor. As you lower, tuck your elbows, pulling them close to your body so that your upper arms form a 45-degree angle when your torso is in the bottom position of the move. Pause, then push back to the starting position. Keep your core braced the entire time. That’s one rep.

Plyo Lunges

split squat

Emily Tiberio

How to: Stand with feet together and arms loose at sides. Jump into a split squat position. Immediately jump straight up and switch legs. Each time, land quietly and with control, maintaining proper knee alignment over front ankle (should be 90 degrees).

If the jumping is too much, just lower down into a split squat, pause, and come back up to starting position. Then repeat on the other side.

Mountain Climbers


Jenn Pena; Alyssa Zolna

How to: Start in pushup position, hands directly under your shoulders. Keeping your core tight and back flat, bend your right knee and drive toward your chest. Return to start, then repeat with your left leg. Quick continue alternating.

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