Introduction to the Waterman’s Workout

Mahalo for joining me. This video is about a workout that I’ve been doing and perfecting since the mid 90’s. I’ve always tuned the exercises to help me be a better waterman. The waterman’s workout has a simple but very important basis: A workout that you stop doing won’t help you. So I designed and perfected it to be a workout I would never stop. I’ve done lots of gym work in my life, lots of freeweights, machines, extreme efforts to increase my strength and conditioning. Eventually every program like that runs out of gas. Why do people stop doing a workout? Generally because it’s too much time or trouble, requires expensive gym memberships or a lot of equipment. People stop because they get too busy, or they get an injury, or the workout is just too hard. This is a workout you can do anywhere, with little or no equipment, at any level from absolute gut-busting training for serious challenges to a gentle maintenance workout to help you recover from injuries.

Why It’s Right For You.
The Waterman Workout is not about doing these exercises hard or fast. In fact, don’t think of it as a workout, it’s part of a lifestyle. Something you can be doing ten or twenty years from now, still progressing, still adding to your enjoyment of the waterman life.  Whatever your level of fitness is today, you can start this and keep going. Make it yours, do it anywhere you want, make it fun.

You’ll see that for many of the exercises I mention a specific water sport that the exercise relates to. That’s because whenever I find a weakness or a challenge in something I’m doing in the water, I add exercises and tune them up to help me be better at what I’m doing. Over the years that meant big wave surfing, foilboarding, tow-in, bodysurfing,  shortboard and longboard surfing, stand up paddling, downwinding, SUP racing, and outrigger canoe paddling in one man, six man, and two man for racing, downwinding, and extreme distance. In other words, anything a waterman might do. Over the years this workout has become highly focused.

To do the Waterman Workout you need a rope. That’s it. It doesn’t even have to be a Kalama Kord, it can just be a rope (though be careful about how you wrap it on your hands, you can get a nasty pinch or friction burn without handles). And you can do two thirds of the workout without the rope, so if you forget it, like I do sometimes, you’re still good to go.

Most of the workout is low impact, so even if you have an injury you can do parts of it, in fact I use it as therapy when I’ve injured myself–I just tone it all down. That’s the beauty of it, you can crank it up to the point it will leave anyone huffing and hurting, or turn it down to a level that almost anyone can do successfully.

The Importance of Sand


The most flexible aspect, though, is time and place. You can do an abbreviated Waterman’s Workout in fifteen minutes in a hotel room. You can do a two hour version in your backyard. The very BEST place is on the beach. Working out in sand is so beneficial, that if I didn’t live ten minutes from a great workout beach I’d probably get a few truckloads of sand dumped in my backyard.  I’m sure that would make my wife really happy. 

But if you don’t have a sandy beach nearby, just use what you’ve got. I’ve done the Waterman Workout downtown in major cities.  Nice thing about cities is they are used to nutty folks–no one even blinked. I’m absolutely certain that if you adopt the waterman workout as part of your lifestyle that you will see the results not only in general your fitness level but in your abilities to do Waterman sports. It works for me, it will work for you.

What the Waterman Workout Won’t Do
If you’re looking to pump up your guns, have a massive and highly visible set of muscles, or gain a beach body in 90 days, you’re going to have to add something else to the workout.  The Waterman Workout is focused on being fit and having endurance. You will substitute muscle for fat, and you’ll look better, but short term, intense programs are much better for pumping those guns. The Waterman Workout is for people who are in it for the long haul.

How To Use This Video And Workbook
You don’t need a TV  or computer and space to jump around–the workout videos are not intended to be followed directly like many exercise videos and it doesn’t include a full set of reps for any of the exercises, we kept the video sections very short. They are included so you can see how each exercise is done and see correct form. Correct form is very important, it’s how you make sure you’re hitting the right muscles and it can help prevent injuries or overwork.  Some exercises, like crunches, can be done with what LOOKS like perfect form but if you don’t engage the right muscles the exercise is nearly useless. Both the narration of the video and the accompanying workbook will point out how to engage the right muscles and optimize the workout.

We chose not to do a complete set of reps because we can’t tell you how many reps you should do of each exercise. You are the only person who can do that. Do the number of reps you’re comfortable with, make sure you save enough energy to do multiple versions of each exercise type–for example, you should do at least four of the crunch variations.

You can watch the videos on your iPhone, IPad or Android phone, so you CAN take the whole waterman workout with you anywhere,  but the workbook has what you need to know at the beach. It contains every exercise, in the order I generally do them. But I don’t necessarily do every exercise, every time. So the workbook also has some suggested exercise sets, including high intensity sets, low intensity sets, backyard sets, park sets and even a city set so you can keep up your workouts where ever you are. Chose the sets you want to do and write down how many you did in the workbook, and bump that number up a little next time. It’s very important that you write down what you’re doing in the beginning. That will help you gauge progress and will keep you on track.

Again, Mahalo for joining me, I hope this workout helps you as much as it does me.