Skateboarding is a great exercise and helps you train several parts of your body. Skateboarding improves your flexibility, agility, and is great for improving your balance. Like any sport, the effectiveness of losing weight and building up muscle depends on how much and how aggressive you skate.
You can lose weight by skateboarding as you burn around 400 calories an hour, 800 calories if you skate aggressively. It depends on your weight, age, and the intensity. Skateboarding contributes to weight loss, but heavy skaters are more prone to injuries.
It may not be as effective as mountain biking or hitting the gym but it is a fun way of losing weight. If you start transition skateboarding you’ll most likely burn over 800 cal an hour. On top of that, you get to exercise outside.
Not only will you lose weight, you’ll also gain muscle strength. Skateboarding is a great exercise to increase your core strength and to train your legs.
- Why Skateboarding Is a Good Workout
- Does Skateboarding Help You Lose Belly Fat?
- Here’s How Many Calories You Burn Skateboarding
- Is Skateboarding Good Cardio?
- What’s the Weight Limit for a Skateboard?
- I’m Really Obese, What Are the Risks?
- Which Muscles Do You Use While Skateboarding?
- Skateboarding VS other sports
- Exercises to Make You Stronger
- Final Words
Why Skateboarding Is a Good Workout
Skateboarding is a great exercise both mentally and physically. It makes you feel good about yourself and brings a positive state of mind. Nothing else exists other than you and your board. To me personally, it’s the only sport that really takes my mind off of everything.
When I’m out there I don’t think about work, my family (sorry guys) or problems I have to deal with. I do consider risk and reward, injuries sometimes happen but I try to avoid this as much as possible. I don’t experience that when I’m out in the woods running.
So mentally it’s a great sport, what about physically? Most importantly skateboarding is great for your core strength and flexibility! But skateboarding is also a good exercise because of:
- Offers a full body work out, arms not so much unless you do hand plants.
- Improves your coordination and precision.
- Easy to pick up other board sports such as snowboarding and surfing
- Falling techniques. Learning to fall may help you from slipping and tumbling in real life.
- Patience, it takes a lot of practice before you learn a trick.
Does Skateboarding Help You Lose Belly Fat?
Yes, of course! Like every exercise, you’ll burn calories. How many you burn depends on your skill level and how much time you spend skateboarding each day.
Don’t expect any spectacular results though. Just riding a skateboard and pushing off is less intense than riding a mini ramp or performing tricks on the street. Also depending on your wheels and bearings, you might burn more or fewer calories.
Hard wheels and bad bearings will force you to push more often while soft wheels and smooth bearings will cost you less energy, depending on the surface you ride. Riding a longboard is also less of an exercise than a classic freestyle board. Longboards have large soft wheels where a normal skateboard has smaller and harder wheels.
Skateboarding is comparable interval training. When you hit the streets of skatepark you’ll have an intense skate session and take a break.
When you skate a mini ramp or a bowl, this becomes more obvious. You can’t do this for 15 minutes straight, at least not me. Soon you start to feel your legs burn and your heart pounding. Even if you can last that long, you probably mess up a trick anyway.
Here’s How Many Calories You Burn Skateboarding
According to research by Harvard Medical school, People who weigh 125, 155 and 185 pounds will burn 300, 372 and 444 calories, during a 1-hour skateboarding session. Now, this may be less effective than running or cycling, it sure is a fun way of burning calories.
|Weight (pounds)||Weight (KG)||Time||Cal||Joules|
|125||56.7||1 hour||300||1 255.2|
|155||70.3||1 hour||372||1 556.4|
|185||83.9||1 hour||444||1 857.6|
If you skateboard 5 hours a week, depending on your weight you can burn between 1500 and 2220 calories each week.
Combine this with a healthy diet and another sport and you’ll start burning lots of fat. In the end, it’s more about what you eat and drink, sports come second.
Eating fast food and exercise is worse than consuming healthy food and no exercise. You just can’t beat unhealthy food doing sports unless you can work out 5 hours a day.
I suspect this data is about moderate skateboarding, meaning just pushing your deck. The article doesn’t mention the research paper so I can assume this is not about intense skateboarding. I mean, there’s a huge difference if you have wheels with a small diameter vs large diameters.
I’m not even taking the quality of your bearings into consideration. I’m more of a transition skateboarder and am exhausted if I keep going for 30 minutes straight (I’m not in my 20’s anymore).
Here’s My Personal Data
There’s no way you only burn 400 calories in 1 hour of skateboarding, I suspect it’s way more. Transition skateboarding probably doubles the amount of burned calories compared to the research provided.
Ballpark estimate here, but if you skate 1 or 2 hours a day aggressively and cut down on food and sugar you can probably lose 2.2 lbs/1kg a week.
I’ve measured the calories I burn myself and only skated a mini ramp doing really basic stuff so here’s my data using a heart rate monitor:
As I expected, skateboarding is intense. I burned about 200 calories in just 15 minutes. I kept going and only took a couple of seconds to breathe as you can see in the heart rate graph.
I just skated mini ramp doing basic tricks, jumping off my board and running back up again. Nowadays I skate a bowls often which is even more intense. If you’re looking for a fun workout, learn to skate bowls!
In order to lose weight, you really need to push it to the max. Push yourself and keep at it for at least one hour. You might feel terrible at first, but this will pass in a week or so.
Take a day off every now and then, to let your sore muscles heal and get back at it. If you look at my data, skateboarding is close to running so I decided to skateboard more and run less.
Is Skateboarding Good Cardio?
Your heart starts pumping your blood around but moderate skateboarding is not a cardiovascular workout. It’s hard to get your heart rate in a zone and keep it there. You may achieve this longboarding, but it’s way less effective as cardio training like cycling.
I recently went on a MTB ride with a friend who mainly skateboards. He had a hard time keeping up because he’s just not used to riding a mountain bike for a few hours. It’s completely different.
Since a couple of months I started skating bowl and this is quite a workout. It may look like you don’t have to work hard, but man my legs are burning after a session. You need to maintain balance at all time and push hard to maintain speed. After two hours I’m usually exhausted.
What’s the Weight Limit for a Skateboard?
If you’re worried about being too heavy for skateboarding you might try a different sport first. Though if you wear proper protective gear and just take it easy skateboarding shouldn’t be a problem. The weight limit for a skateboard depends on the brand/manufacturer. Also, longboards have different standards than regular skateboards.
If you just want to ride, I would advise a longboard or a beefy cruiser like the Landyachtz Tugboat or the Arbor Oso. These board can handle heavy riders well and offer a very smooth ride. The Tugboat is a bit more aggressive and the Arbor Oso provies a calm and relaxing ride.
So what’s the weight limit for a skateboard? There isn’t really any weight limit other than your own ability to move. Skateboards can take a lot of pressure as long as they are made out of maple wood. Buy a skateboard from a reliable brand and weight won’t be an issue.
There are many heavy skaters out there so don’t let your weight stop you from picking up skateboarding. If you skate on a regular basis, you will lose weight anyway. If you’re afraid of breaking your deck, get one that doesn’t break. Check out my recommended skateboards for heavier riders.
The limit really depends on your ability to move and your agility. If you can hardly walk you should lose some weight first before you pick up skateboarding. The more you weigh, the harder you fall. It should be fun and not another frustrating experience!
I’m Really Obese, What Are the Risks?
If you’re over 300lb I wouldn’t recommend skateboarding, but I’m also not stopping you! You’ll have a hard time learning tricks and gravity will not be your friend.
The risk of injury increases so you should really take it easy and wear quality protective gear, at least get a helmet! I use one that is pretty comfortable and it might save your life. Here’s what I like about my helmet.
Keep in mind that your knees will suffer extra from impacts, and impacts from falling are more severe. You can, however, start by just riding a skateboard and take it real slow. Perhaps that’s even better. Learning to ride a skateboard takes time and if you take it slow and learn the basics you’ll benefit in the long run.
Make sure you have a plan. Like start with 20 minutes every other day and gradually build up to 60 minutes. Push like a madman and sweat like a pig.
If you used to skateboard in the past, it’s fine even if you’re over 300lb. You still have some of the muscle memory but remember that you will impact the ground harder. Don’t get overconfident and slowly build up again.
I was a little bit on the heavy side some time ago and in a way, worse shape before and bruised my ribs because I got overly confident. My wife had to help me get in and out of bed. I sort of French fried when I should have pizza’d.
Which Muscles Do You Use While Skateboarding?
There’s a ton of muscles you use when skateboarding. Most important are your core and the upper and lower legs. I’m not going into the specifics. Wikipedia has all the answers. Here’s a list of muscles used when skateboarding:
- Core muscles for stabilization.
- Quadriceps, muscle group of four that form the front of the thighs.
- Quadriceps and hamstring muscles.
- Gluteus Maximus, the main extensor muscle of the hip.
- Upper and lower legs.
Probably the most important part is the core. A strong core is vital for balancing a skateboard.
Core Muscles and Core Strength
Skateboarding is excellent for your core muscles and a great way of training your core strength instead of boring gym exercises. The core is essential for skateboarding as it stabilizes your body and supports your balance.
Balance is one of the most important aspects of skateboarding as you will often come across unstable surfaces. Your abs are also part of your core so there’s a bonus. Skateboarding will help you train and shape your abs!
These muscles extend your knee and flex the joints of your hip. they consist of a muscle group that shapes the front of your thighs.
Tricks like ollies require hip flexion and knee extension. You’ll need to be able to move your knee towards your torso when you ollie for example. You should also be able to bend your torso towards your hip so some flexibility and strength in your quadriceps.
Not called maximus for no reason, this is one of the strongest muscles in your body located at the buttocks. The muscle allows for the movement of your hip and thigh which is essential to keep your balance when you skateboard.
When you ollie you’ll go from a lower or crouched position to a higher upright position. Your gluteus maximus gets activated when you extend like in the example, also called hyperextending.
Hamstrings allow you to flex your knee and bring your calves to the back of your thigh. You’ll really heavily on your hamstrings while skateboarding as they help you to flex your knees.
Like the other muscles mentioned, your hamstrings also help you to maintain a lower center of gravity as you move yourself to a lower position.
Skateboarding VS other sports
Skateboarding is a good exercise, while not as effective as cardio sports the fun part makes it easier. Many people have a hard time going to the gym on a regular basis and keep on going.
Skateboarding just requires you to go outside, grab your board and ride. It might be harder to learn, the rewards are worth it. Adrenaline and fun should help you maintain discipline and keep you motivated.
Exercises to Make You Stronger
A while ago I started working out in the gym and ever since I started doing squats my skateboarding improved.
I don’t just train my legs but also my core, arms, back, etc and it’s doing wonders. I can ride for longer and no longer feel sore after a 2-3 hour session. I also m able to deal with impacts much better, a stronger body makes a difference.
You could consider getting stronger doing exercises before you decide to start skateboarding. Like mentioned before your core strength and legs are most frequently used when skateboarding.
You don’t have to go to the gym as most exercises can be done at home or improvise. There are many videos out there on how to train your muscles but focus on the following.
- Train your calf muscles
- Train your quads
- Strengthen your hamstrings and glutes
- Focus on your core and balance
The most important thing is to just skateboard regularly. If you’ve never done any sports and are new to skateboarding you should just go for 10 minutes every day (if it’s not raining). Just slowly build up and go for 20 minutes in week 3 and see how you’re holding up.
Build up slowly and make sure to listen to your body. Don’t ignore pain, slight discomforts are normal like fatigue in your feet, but don’t burn yourself out.
Take a break to let your body recover. Breaks are awesome, next time you’ll do the thing you wanted to last session and you’ll nail it. Just make sure that you actually go out there after your recovery break. Make sure you enjoy yourself and enjoy the endorphins, even if you’re an overweight skateboarder, you can skate.
When I haven’t skated for a while and go out there to enjoy myself and get back home, I just have the biggest smile and nobody can do anything to ruin my day.
Ideal weight for a skateboard? There’s no such thing. Skaters come in all sizes and ages and weighing more or less doesn’t mean you aren’t able to skateboard. If you’re heavy just take it easy there isn’t a weight limit as long as you can walk. It may be harder for you to ollie, though.
Do I need different bushings? You might consider different bushings when you get wheel bite. Try to tighten your trucks first before you buy harder bushings. You might also consider getting a wider deck between 8.25″ and 8.5″. Check out my extensive bushings guide, check the weight/hardness charts to see what you need.
I’m an aged skateboarder and I still shred responsibly. I started skateboarding 25 years ago but also love surfing, snowboarding, or anything that involves a board.