An EJ Johnson workout

As seen in

With his long hair and tattoo-covered body, Ernie “EJ” Johnson is an easily recognizable competitor that’s been a fixture on the elite SUP circuit. But it’s not just his appearance that sets him apart— the 48-year-old Californian is a beast on the water in both sprints and distance events. When he’s not rowing or lifting weights, EJ paddles off the Southern California coast, runs on the beach and swims. In this installment of Paddle Healthy, EJ shares three of his favorite workouts that hit every major muscle group, get the heart rate up and don’t keep you in the gym for hours on end. —Phil White

- 100 Pull-ups
- 100 Body Weight Squats
- 100 Pushups
Tip: Use as many sets and as much rest as it takes to perform each rep with proper form to avoid injury.

A 30-minute piece on the ergometer (stationary rowing machine) with a stroke-rate of 20 strokes per minute or below.
Tip: This a power endurance session that taxes your cardiovascular system and should only be performed once a week at most.

Dumbbell RowDumbbell Row

Perform each of the following exercises consecutively and without rest, as many times as possible. To challenge yourself, try changing up the order of exercises.


Bent Over Dumbbell Row
Place your right knee on a weight bench and plant your left foot on the floor. Keeping your back flat, use your left arm to pull the dumbbell up with an overhand grip until it touches your rib cage. Perform 8 to 12 reps and repeat on other side.
Reps/sets: 3 sets of 10-12 reps.
Tip: Try varying the direction of your grip to challenge your back, shoulders and arms. A good start is to try a neutral grip with the dumbbell, parallel to the bench.
Step It Up: To make the exercise more difficult, stand on your left leg and lean your right hand onto the bench. Extend your right leg fully behind you, parallel to the floor. Perform the dumbbell row reps with your left hand/arm, and then switch sides.

Core Pullups
Hang from a pullup bar with an overhand grip. Using your abs, contract your core until your knees are level with or above your elbows. Slowly lower yourself back down, with control.
Sets/reps: Work up to 3 sets of 10 reps

Core PullupCore Pullup

Vary the width of your hands, making sure your core remains taut as you raise and lower your body. If done correctly, the pushup works dozens of small muscle groups.
Sets/reps: Work up to 3 sets of 25 reps, then change things up by holding the pushup for a few seconds at the bottom of the movement, or pushing your hands and feet explosively off the floor with each rep.


Crunch Variations
Instead of doing a standard crunch, mix it up by putting your left ankle on your right knee, and vice versa. In addition to strengthening your core, this variation stretches out your glutes, which typically get tight after long paddling sessions.

High Pull
Attach a wide bar to the lat pulldown machine and stand 2 feet away from the pulley. Keeping your arms straight, use your abs and lats to pull the bar back and down.
Sets/reps: 3 sets of 10-12 reps.
Tip: Make sure you keep your lower back straight during the movement to avoid straining it.
Step It Up: You can go heavier and drop the number of reps while increasing sets.