Yes, skateboarding is good exercise. In fact, I think it is an EXCELLENT cardio workout that incinerates calories, tones muscles & even works your core when you use proper skating posture. I might be a tad biased but I think it is the MOST fun and exciting way to lose weight, burn fat and stay in peak physical shape.
Not only is skateboarding good exercise it works practically every muscle from your lower back and abs right down to your feet. You will tone your core, glutes, hamstrings, quads & calves. The pushing motion (or “kicking” as it is actually termed in skateboarding) resembles (and feels like) your doing a lunge…over and over again.
Skateboarding also helps you increase coordination, flexibility & balance train which according to Harvard Medical School “has been shown to prevent ankle and knee re-injury and reduce the risk of ligament problems in athletes. It’s also under study for wider use to improve mobility and prevent falls and injury”.
Most importantly, skateboarding is a totally rad way to get your daily calorie burn. Even the learning phase is awesome because you’re learning something new and building on your skills every time you go out for a ride.
When you start out skateboarding you’ll be focusing on the basics like balance & pushing (without falling off of course). As you progress you’ll start cruising & turning. Then you might work your way up to small tricks like an ollie or a kick flip. Before long you’ll probably be tempted hit the local skatepark to drop into your first bowl…
My point being…you build skills and there is a next level and a next level….and another level after that. It’s really exciting to keep building and progressing your skills. Skateboarding holds your interest, it’s FUN and exciting! Check out my article on how to start skateboarding today before you head out if any of this sounds awesome to you!
What Parts of the body does skateboarding exercise?
Skateboarding engages a large range of muscles including arms, glutes, hamstrings, quads, calves, abs & lower back muscles when the proper skating posture is used. There is strong evidence that skateboarding also improves coordination, balance & increased flexibility within ligaments and tendons. Let’s talk about how all these muscles get worked while skateboarding…
Proper skating posture will position you body in a lunge/squatting position with your core acting as a pivot point for pushing, turning and balancing. This works your abdominal muscles and lower back.
Can you get abs from skateboarding?
Yes you can, but I think you’d need to skate more than just a couple hours a week to really see that kind of progress with skateboarding alone. Don’t get me wrong, you will strengthen your core and work those abs when using proper skating posture & form… BUT I just don’t think it’s something that will give you totally ripped abs in short order.
I skate many, many hours every week and I wouldn’t say that I have ripped abs (maybe it’s that layer of fat holding me back but I digress). Skateboarding is definitely more of a lower body workout but you will most likely see definition improvement in those core muscle areas. It’s just not magazine cover worthy ab definition in my opinion.
Glutes | Hamstrings | Calves
As you kick/push your forward leg will be bent and balancing on the board in a lunge-like position. This lunge-like pushing/kicking position works the glutes/hamstrings & calves of your forward leg (which is planted & balancing on the board). Let me tell you, this is a serious workout for whichever leg is balancing on the board! It like doing gym lunges over and over again!
Arms | Shoulders
It might be surprising but if you’re using proper skating form to push and kick you will indeed work those arms and shoulders. The arms and shoulders probably get the least amount of work overall while skateboarding but if you’re doing it right they will be engaged much like a runner engages the arms and shoulders to run.
It’s SUPER important to become proficient with both legs on your skateboard and don’t let one leg become too dominate. Everyone will have a leg that they feel more comfortable with (especially when you’re staring out) but if all you do is work that dominant leg then you might develop a really muscular leg and a bit of a wimpy, less muscular leg over time.
When you’ve moved past the initial learning phase, as soon as you’re comfortable, switch legs and work each side of your body equally. This will allow you to skate longer because you can switch legs to give your dominant leg a rest.
Can I lose weight skateboarding?
Yes, you can! Skateboarding is just like any other workout that burns calories & fat except it’s a workout you won’t mind doing because it’s so rad! If you’re sick of FML gym workouts then this may be a great new workout for you.
If weight loss through skateboarding is important to you then you’ll have to take your diet into account. Skateboarding doesn’t give you a blank check to eat whatever you want as long as you’re skateboarding.
You’ll need to monitor calories in (what you eat) vs. how many calories you’ll burn (calories out) while skateboarding. I highly recommend using our FREE 30 day skate challenge to help keep track of your skating time, calories burned and even log your meals.
According to the Mayo clinic you might have to burn 3500 calories to lose one pound of weight. So how many calories does skateboarding burn? Let’s find out…
HOW MANY CALORIES DOES SKATEBOARDING BURN?
Skateboarding for 1 hour can burn 400-600 calories on average. The actual number depends on factors like how hard you are kicking/pushing on your board, your weight & metabolism.
To use myself as an example, when I cruise on my skateboard for an hour (according to my Apple Watch- see screenshot below) I burn about 550 total calories (keep in mind that I’m a petite, 40 year old female so your calorie burn may vary). My heart rate is in the 160 zone so I’m pushing myself pretty hard for a solid workout. When I workout I definitely get a sweat going!
I want to point out that my skateboarding workout is a cruise on a paved trail. I’m not at the skatepark practicing tricks. It can be a little harder to burn calories & keep your heart rate up if that’s the workout you’re aiming for. Some people prefer a longboard for these types of long cruises. I like both…I’m just really committed to my skateboard so I usually ride it everywhere I go.
You can use THIS CALCULATOR to estimate what you might burn while skateboarding. In my opinion this calculator is overly conservative. I put in my weight & 60 minutes and it was super low (310 calories) relative to what I actually burn in an hour (550 calories according to my Apple watch).
As a rule of thumb, the more weight you are pushing the more calories you will burn. That’s actually a lot of calories when you make comparisons with boring, FML, hamster wheel workouts at the gym…all in the name of “getting exercise” and “staying in shape”.
When you first start skateboarding you are going to be a bit shaky and you’re gonna suck at it but that’s okay…everyone does when they start. Adopting this new style of exercise will most likely leave you with sore glutes, hamstrings, quads & calves. It’s all a part of the process & eventually you’ll develop the necessary muscle memory & balance to take it to the next level.
To get the most out of your new exercise routine you’ll want to make sure that you are using the correct riding posture and pushing/kicking motion. Tactics put together an excellent beginner video to illustrate how to do it all correctly. Definitely check it out below (it will start at the 2:00 minute mark automagically for you):
Just like any other exercise routine…with skateboarding you get out of it what you put into it. If you’re just going through the motions and not pushing yourself to get your heart rate up…then this workout won’t amount to much in terms of calorie burn & muscle toning. Get your heart rate up and really push yourself to get the most of your workout.
I hope after reading our article you’ve concluded that skateboarding is good exercise and you’re excited to try it for yourself. If you’re ready to take the next steps, check out our article on How to Start Skateboarding at Any Age or Skill Level.