The Next Port of Call Workout

If you’ve seen our other articles in this series, you’ll be well aware we’ve been looking at how to keep fit on your yacht, in any and all situations.

Think for a second though, if you didn’t have to take the conditions into consideration for a change. If you found yourself in a perfectly calm, still scenario, where the rocking of the waves played no part in what workout you could do.

That’s where today’s article takes us. No matter how much you enjoy the open seas, every sailor has to come into port at some point, and that is one location where you’ll find the exact conditions I mentioned above.

Now, when given the freedom to do whatever workout you want, the smart option is to do exercises you’re unable to do at other times. We’ve covered resistance training and static strength training, which are both really good options for building and defining muscle. However, we’ve so far covered very little cardiovascular training or aerobic exercises. That is until now, as today we will be looking at some explosive exercises to really get your heart racing.

Like all of our workouts, this will be a full body, 5 exercise, workout. However, this one will be markedly different as it incorporates two new types of training, H.I.I.T and circuit training.

H.I.I.T stands for high intensity interval training. What that means is that you will exercise flat out, or at high intensity, for periods, interspersed with short breaks that are just long enough to keep you going. This has been proven to be an incredibly good aerobic workout and the number one way to get rid of stubborn body fat.

The other type of training I mentioned was circuit training. How this differs from normal exercise is that as opposed to doing multiple sets of an exercise before moving on, you do a single set before you move to the next exercise. Only when you have performed one set of every exercise on your list, a complete circuit, do you move back to the beginning. This is effective as it keeps your whole body working throughout, while not overly fatiguing any one part.

As you don’t have much time in between exercises to stop, we’ll lay out the ground rules ahead of time:

  • It should take 30 minutes to complete
  • You will perform 5 complete circuits
  • Perform each exercise for 30 seconds and then rest for 30 seconds before starting the next.
  • As your cardiovascular ability improves, increase the length of time you do each exercise for and decrease the rest time by an equal amount.
  • Rest for 1 minute after each complete circuit
  • While not specified on each exercises “targetted” section, everything in this workout will be training your cardiovascular system.
  • Anywhere that specifies putting your hands or body on the floor, use your yoga mat, if you have one.


Similarly to our previous workouts, we are going to be using very little equipment, in order to save our valuable storage space on board. There are two pieces of kit I will mention for today’s session, however both are optional, based on either personal preference or what is already available on board.

The first item is a yoga mat. While not essential, it will make doing floor based exercises, like we will be doing today, much more comfortable. As they are incredibly cheap and easy to store I would recommend getting one.

The second item is an aerobic step. While it can have different uses in exercise, it is essentially just a raised platform. They also take up more room to store than the other equipment we’ve been using. I would therefore say if you have a suitable step, or sturdy surface a few inches off the ground, elsewhere on your boat then use that instead. If you don’t, then it will definitely be a good piece of kit to have.

You will also need a timer or stopwatch of some sort, but as most modern smart phones, tablets, laptops etc have these there shouldn’t be any need to buy anything additional.

#1. Burpees

Muscles Targetted: Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Gluteals, Calves, Pectorals, Triceps, Deltoids, Abdominals

We start with burpees, the most rounded exercise of the session, substantially targetting almost every muscle in your body.

  • Place your hands flat on the floor and support your lower body on your toes.
  • Don’t fully extend your body, leave a slight bend.
  • Keeping your hands still, jump with both feet and bring your knees to your chest.
  • In one fluid motion, as soon as your feet land from the last step, explode upwards with a vertical jump.
  • As soon as you land, put your hands back on the ground and jump back into the starting position.

#2. Mountain Climbers

Muscles Targetted: Abdominals, Quadriceps, Triceps

Next is mountain climbers, a cardio exercise that puts heavy emphasis on abdominal work.

  • Begin in the same position as burpees.
  • Bring one knee into your chest.
  • As you take the first leg back to the starting position, bring your second knee to your chest.
  • Do it at such a speed that you will often have no feet on the floor, but your momentum will keep you going.
  • Your knees should both be at the halfway point, going in opposite directions, at the same time.

#3. Jumping Jacks

Muscles Targetted: Calves, Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Gluteals, Deltoids

Next is jumping jacks. A pure cardio exercise, they are very similar to star jumps many people did as children.

  • Stand with your hands by your sides
  • Jump in the air while opening your legs and sweeping your arms outwards and upwards, like the hands on a clock.
  • Land with your feet about a metre apart, and your hands together above your head.
  • Repeat the movement in reverse order to return to starting position.

#4. Ab Bikes

Muscles Targetted- Abdominals, Quadriceps, Gluteals

Our penultimate exercise is ab bikes. A heavy abdominal workout that hits your cardiovascular system as a secondary benefit.

  • Lay on your back with your hands by your ears.
  • Raise both your feet and your head and shoulders
  • Bring your left elbow and your right knee together over your abs and squeeze
  • Now twist so your other knee and elbow come together
  • Alternate back and forth.
  • Your lower back and buttocks should be the only thing on the floor at any point throughout the exercise.

#5. Step Ups

Muscles Targetted- Quadriceps, Calves, Abdominals

Finally, we finish with step ups. While they may seem overly straightforward, when you push yourself, this is the most intense, pure cardio, exercise of the session.

  • Position yourself by either your aerobic step, or whatever alternative you have chosen.
  • Put one foot on the step and then immediately bring the other next to it.
  • Step off again, with your feet in the exact same order they went up in.
  • Do this flat out at, the fastest pace you are safely capable of.

Final Thoughts

Combining this cardio heavy workout with our previous sessions will give you a nice, well rounded training routine. Strong, toned and now with endurance to boot, you’ll be the envy of all men, on land or at sea.

Let us know in the comments, on social media, or by email how it goes for you.

Feel free to share any of your own suggestions for great exercises and workouts to do at sea, in port, or even ashore.

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