Words Chloe Pattison
If you’re feeling like your surf fitness has gone down a level, the best way to improve your surfing is to actually surf more. Paddle hard and catch more waves. However, if you can’t get in the water as often as you’d like to especially during the long winter months, then there are some exercises you can do to keep you in surf shape. The best part is, you can do these from the comfort of your own living room- there’s no gym needed. Here are just a few examples of a few things you can do to improve your surf fitness at home:
Push ups /ball ups
These really help to build your chest muscles, which is useful in paddling and pop ups. Balance yourself on a ball if you think just a normal push up is too easy for you.
Front squats/single leg squats
These are key for any surfer because the quad muscles are the basis of you being able to keep a low centre of gravity, giving you more stability when you’re on your feet on the waves. Holding onto some sort of weight (or adding ten to the number of squats you think you can manage) and doing squats with proper form will build your leg muscles and help you stay up on the board.
Much like squats, these will help build your leg muscles and help you stay balanced, however these will add an extra focus to your glutes as well.
Side lunges not only build your leg muscles, but also aid in your hip flexibility and is part of mobility training (which we will get to in a minute). These will also help you shift your weigh on the waves and stay balanced for longer. Think of this exercise as a wipe out prevention.
We have done a lot of workout on the upper legs, but the lower legs need to be just as strong to support you. Your calm strength also has a lot to do with your ankle flexibility, which is also a key thing when you’re on the waves.
A basic core movement. Having a strong core helps you with balance and keeping the right posture while surfing. Make sure you are doing these right and really curling from the core and not straining your neck to get up.
Bicycle twists/Russian twists
Being able to do a lot of these works the oblique muscles and this will help you nail those turns. Keep your back straight and your head neutral to get the most from it.
This strengthens the middle and lower back muscles and depending on how much you squeeze your shoulders together, can work the upper back too. Having a strong back balances out your abdominal muscles and improves balance, posture and stability in the water.
Cardio will come in handy to build endurance. If you have an intense day on the waves, you’ll be glad you did cardio. You’ll be able to paddle for longer and when getting out into the lineup will be much easier- it won’t feel so tiring. Plus, it keeps your fat levels down, making you more nimble and able to surf for longer without feeling fatigued. The best cardio exercises to do are: running/walking (nice, simple and gentle), dancing (fun and burns those calories) and pop up burpees (hell on earth but really useful- instead of landing face forward in a burpee, land in surfing stance).
Plank/ side plank with reach through
Plank is honestly the best core workout you could possibly do. Especially because as long as you keep the right form, you don’t just work your core, you work pretty much the rest of your body too. The right form is keeping your elbows/wrists directly above your shoulders, keeping your head relaxed, back straight and feet on the toes hip width apart. Apart from keeping your head in a neutral position, don’t let a single part of you slack. The longer you hold it, the better and it can also count as cardio, since it makes you sweat so much! Side planks focus more on the obliques and the reach through will help you with turns, cutbacks and a variety of other tricks.
Stretching is incredibly important, though most simply forget to do so. Stretching ties in with mobility but is more muscle based. So, make sure you stretch out all those muscles. You can even roll the out if they feel particularly sore with a roller or even a tennis ball.
Mobility is any way of working your joints and ligaments in order to have a full range of motion in your joints. Hips, shoulders and ankles are the most important joints to keep limber in surfing as these are the joints you rely most heavily on to stay up on the waves and keeping paddling strong.
Indo/balance board– in the name, it helps you with balance and staying up on your board.
Resistance band – helps you to get deeper stretches, making you more limber and less likely to get injured.
Roller/tennis ball– help you roll out sore muscles, it breaks down the muscle tissues and aids with recovery
There are just a few ways to help you improve your surf skills. What else do you do to stay surf ready all year round?
For more surf fitness tips get your copy of the
Surf Girl Guide to Surf Fitness here