VIDEO: Getting fit while overcoming ‘sand legs’

Training in the sand with Olympian Martin Reader

By Andrew Russell

With an imposing 6’7 frame and engaging personality, beach volleyball Olympian Martin Reader makes his presence known. 

We’re meeting up with Reader to work on sand-based endurance training and to learn how to overcome “sand legs.” 

What are "sand legs" you ask? This is the phenomenon Reader refers to as the challenges associated with start and stop endurance required to be competitive in a game of beach volleyball. For those who don’t spend much time in the sand, it can be incredibly difficult to maintain explosivity, strength and control if left untrained.


Reader teamed up with Josh Binstock at the 2012 Olympics in London and finished tied for 17th place overall. Since formally retiring from the sport after the London Games, he has remained active in fitness and sport, and is a lead trainer and co-founder of Strive Life (a boutique fitness studio in downtown Toronto).

One of Reader’s interests is encouraging volleyball athletes to get into better shape. In addition to his work in volleyball, he also actively explores more general opportunities for people to embrace a higher level of fitness and sense of challenge. In both cases, Reader sees training in the sand as a golden opportunity for improvement and worthwhile fitness challenge for everyone.


Martin Reader’s Beach Running Workout



If you can do this workout in bare feet, Reader suggests this is what you do. Get in the loose sand in bare feet, and embrace the challenge of having to work through the loose footing.


Get your heart rate up with a dynamic warmup that gets the blood flowing and body ready to move.

The Workout:

The workout is three sets of six minutes with four minutes break in between sets.

Each set alternates between 30 seconds of work and 30 seconds of rest.  

VIDEO: Legs and Lungs with Olympian Martin Reader.


This workout is for all levels.

If you are just getting back into shape or at a beginner level, make sure you start out slower and really pace yourself.

You never want to burn out in the first few minutes of work, so actively consider your intensity and limits.

If you are training at a higher level of fitness, really work to challenge yourself through the entire 30 seconds of work, and focus on finishing strong through the final five seconds of each piece. Actively move during the 30 seconds of rest by walking or incorporating a very light jog.

Between sets ensure you have fluids available, and take some time to stretch.

Equipment Needed:

  1. Stopwatch.

  2. Water Bottle.

  3. Clothing systems and protection based on conditions.

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