Credit: Courtesy Gabrielle Reece

You won’t find a better place to get your heart rate up and strengthen your entire body than the beach. Compared with the pounding that exercising on blacktop, trails, or even grass delivers to your joints, the beach goes easy, and causes less muscle inflammation and fewer post-workout aches, too. It’s also particularly good for explosive movements, like jumping and sprinting, because you get higher resistance from the sand’s softer, uneven surface — that helps you burn more fat than doing the same thing at the gym. Try my three favorite moves below for a total-body workout, or cherry-pick one to work up a sweat whenever you’re bored with your beach chair.

Plank-Pike Drags
Besides its forgiving surface, the beach also adds resistance when you drag your feet over it. And that is exactly what you’ll do for this ab-challenging move: Get in pushup position, abs tight and back flat. Slowly drag feet inward, piking hips in the air as high as you can. When you can’t go any farther, jump feet back to start. Keep it up for a minute.

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Sand Burpees
This is your cardio finisher, and it’s supposed to feel tough. It’s straightforward: 25 burpees, as fast as you can knock ’em out. Jump down to a pushup, lower your chest to the sand, jump back up, and repeat. At this point, you will be dirty. By the time you finish, you’ll be covered in sweat and sand — which makes a plunge in the ocean that much more refreshing.

Power Pushups
The soft surface of the sand lets you more easily do pushups with hands in fists—a tactic that engages more muscles in your forearms to boost arm size and strength. Begin the pushup on your fists, lowering the chest to the sand, then explosively push up your body an inch or so in the air, and land with your hands planted flat. Go for three sets of 10.