Sailing is physically demanding, and although you can learn to sail without being exceptionally fit, having some functional strength will make on deck activities far less gruelling. If you're left feeling achy and worn out after your last sail this is probably a sign that you need to start making steps to condition your body - keeping you agile, preventing tiredness and even injury.

Mylor Chandlery will take you through some of our top tips, advice and exercises for improving your physical performance and endurance on your boat.

Create A Training Plan

If you are fairly inactive in those long months out of season, getting back on your boat and into physical exercise could open you up to injury. Having a solid routine you stick by will not only improve your fitness as a sailor, it will also enhance your whole life, making you feel younger, more energetic and even more passionate for sailing.

Perform The Right Sailing Exercises

A lot of sailing requires very taxing pulling movements and actions - which activate the biceps and back primarily. However, training only these muscles in complete isolation to other exercises is not a good idea and you'll likely experience muscle imbalances and other problems that arise from from undeveloped muscle areas. We recommend having a good foundation of cardiovascular fitness and overall muscle strength from the outset.


A good mix of regular and high intensity cardio will build your endurance levels while you're nipping around on your boat. Regular cardio is fairly straightforward to define (a 30 minute jog a few times a week/daily walking and hiking) whereas high intensity cardio involves performing similar exercises at a much higher rate of intensity.

A beginner HITT (high intensity interval training) routine may involve 3 rounds of these exercises, 45 seconds on each with 15 seconds rest:

  • Push-ups
  • Squats
  • Butt kicks
  • Tricep dips
  • Side Lunges

You can view a complete list of hit workouts here to get you started:

Muscle Strength

As previously mentioned, exercising all your muscle groups is going to be much more beneficial to the overall health of your body as well as your physical strength while sailing. Although training your "pulling muscles" should be an important part of your routine, your complete body strength will be improved by performing the essential sailing lifts, which include:

#1. Barbell deadlift

Squat down, placing your hands shoulder width apart on the barbell, driving your legs up into a standing position with your chest out, returning the bar to the floor in a controlled manner.

#2. Clean and jerk

A melding of two different weightlifting movements, lifting the barbell in a static position and lowering the barbell to the floor position before repeating.

#3. Barbell squat

Stand with the barbell supported on the top of your shoulders, keeping your feet shoulder width apart, bending your legs, keeping your torso as straight as possible. Bring the weight down just below a seated seated squat position before powering the weight upwards in a controlled motion.

#4. Burpees

Start by standing with your legs shoulder width apart. Put your hands on the floor, kick your legs back into a push up position, and as you press up, kick your feet up, completing the movement by jumping with your hands raised in the air.

Post By Ed Mason