SUP Technique: Better Hip Engagement for a Better Paddle Stroke

Hello again TotalSUP readers! It’s SUPerman¬†back with¬†a¬†new¬†paddle tip. This¬†is¬†another simple tip that will help you maximize your body to¬†paddle better. Many of these paddle tips are going to be on better muscle engagement and postural cues to help athletes. Let’s talk about hip engagement and how crucial it is to¬†SUP¬†success.

Now, I’ve talked to a lot of older SUP enthusiasts who are always very hesitant on trying to bend really far. And I agree with them, you don’t really need to bend down. If you can bend and touch your knees without issue, you can unlock a powerful paddle stroke.

Let’s talk about why you have to bend at all. Your hips connect the largest muscles in the body together. And¬†moving¬†your hips¬†is the easiest way to generate the most amount of energy.¬†Think about¬†how many squats you can manage versus how many handstand pushups and you’ll see what I mean¬†in¬†strength differences. Utilizing this power is what makes SUP racers go so fast.¬†

A common error I see is people not using their hips enough. They need to go through flexion and extension, which is backward and forward hip movement. Many people will get into a low position and never move their hips out of flexion. They stay low and just pump with their arms. In a long distance scenario, this is not ideal. 

Another common¬†error¬†is staying too high during the stroke, or in other words,¬†too extended at the top. You gotta throw those hips back to use those muscles. Like I said if you can bend enough to touch your knees, that’s all you need here. Hips go back, then they come forward. Find¬†a¬†rhythmic motion that’s comfortable for you but still engaging that lower body and you’re on the way to success.


Thanks for reading! Through TotalSUP I am offering online coaching that includes a video analysis of your stroke and a workout plan for $25. If you are interested, please contact me at

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About the Author

Mathieu Astier

Mathieu is the hyper-active founder of TotalSUP and a multilingual online marketing veteran with more than 20 years of experience working for top international internet companies. His love-at-first-sight for Stand Up Paddling in 2013 led him to build one of the leading online media dedicated to SUP in English and French and to turn his family lifestyle towards the ocean.

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