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Top Exercises to Improve Surfing Skills

Surfing is a relationship between the waves, your board, and your body. When you take the time to dedicate yourself to pursuing the positive effects of physical fitness, you are catering to one of the most important aspects of this relationship, as fitness is one of the few methods by which you can improve surfing skills outside of the water.

Physical fitness is about strength, endurance, balance, flexibility, and sheer grit to push yourself into uncomfortable realms of growth, and we're going to showcase exactly how you can craft your lifestyle into one that maintains a focus on this keystone element to better surfing.

How to Improve Grit

Ask yourself, how much do you love surfing, and how badly do you wish to become a better surfer?

Surfers are passionate, taking their love for the sport to serious extremes, and this alone is often enough to instill a drive to become more fit.

So anytime you need a little motivation, just remember that every minute you spend working towards your greatness is going to make you more talented at what you love.

You must personalise the question of how to improve determination based on your unique personality, but take these few tips with you as means to begin solidifying fitness as part of your surfing lifestyle:

  1. Create a Schedule

A set-in-place routine will help to make fitness an integrated part of your schedule, making it easier to dedicate specific time blocks to.

  1. Make it Fun

Fitness doesn't have to be all about lifting weights. Engage your body in whole-body movements, and do exercise-based activities that you actually enjoy.

  1. Have a Gameplan

Go into your workout knowing exactly what you're going to target so that you can be in and done in no time.

  1. Feel it

Remember to take some time to acknowledge and appreciate the way fitness makes you feel after your workout and use this natural high as a drive to dedication.

  1. Longevity

Fitness doesn't just make you surf better, but it will make you surf longer. Both in single increment sessions, and also in the big picture, as I think we can all agree we would love to shred our way into our seventies.

How to Improve Strength for Surfing

When it comes to surfing, strength will help you to paddle with ease, duck dive cleanup sets, and maintain more power throughout your turns.

Surfers want a very specific type of muscle strength, however, and that type of strength is β€˜usable’ strength. Strong muscles, but also ones that have a high muscle endurance so that we can utilise their power through lengthy sessions.

Heavy lifting will promote the growth of type 1 muscle fibres, while endurance training will promote type 2 for exactly the kind of strength you seek.

Strength Training Workout for At Home or the Gym

For every workout that you lift heavy, the next should focus more on lightweight and high repetition, using some of the workouts below as some of the best strength training workouts for surfers.

Exercises for muscle strength:

  • Overhead rows
  • Dumbbell curls
  • Bench press
  • Squats
  • Barbell pullover
  • Deadlifts
  • Leg press
  • Shoulder press
  • Upright rows

Exercises for muscle endurance:

  • Kettlebell swings
  • All variations of pushups
  • Planks
  • Farmers carry
  • Pull-ups & chin-ups
  • Bodyweight inverted row
  • Jumping squats
  • Romanian deadlift

Strength Training Beach Exercises

A beach is an excellent place for proactive strength training, as the sand provides an element of resistance that helps amplify your workout. For strength training exercises at the beach, try:

  • Sand squats
  • Sand jumping squats
  • Sand lunges
  • Jumping jacks
  • Sand pushups
  • Sand burpees
  • Sand plank

How to Improve Endurance for Surfing

Your endurance is powered by your cardiovascular system. The more you focus on conditioning endurance, the longer you can surf, and the longer you can surf good, as your body won't tire out quickly.

Endurance is essential in keeping your movements and responses sharp and quick in the water, and will come in especially handy on those surf trips when you want to surf for hours on end every day.

Endurance Training Workouts for At Home or the Gym

The gym is more about weight training, but there's still plenty of available endurance workouts to utilise, and it's rather easy when at home (and by at home, this also means outside) to focus on your cardio to improve endurance.

For easy to implement endurance workouts, remember the following, and do them at intervals that feel comfortable to you with the understanding that the harder and longer you push yourself, the more it benefits your surfing.

  • Bicycle machine
  • Treadmill
  • Stairclimb
  • Farmers carry
  • Running
  • Biking
  • Hiking
  • Swimming

Endurance Training Beach Exercises

Training your endurance is the best when at the beach. Again, the sand really helps to improve the workout through resistance, and the ocean offers you exactly what you need for an outdoor endurance playground.

Try out these exercises the next time you're at the beach and the waves are flat, and for a great way to improve the fun of your workout:

  • Beach run
  • Free dive
  • Shore swimming
  • Sand sprints
  • Sand hops
  • Cross steps
  • Butt kicks

How to Improve Balance for Surfing

You can't surf without balance. And the better your balance, the better your surfing.

Balance often goes under the radar in terms of training, but those who focus on practising their balance know the benefits that come from mastering this bodily aspect, as this type of training is exactly how you will get better at throwing your body around on a wave and still being able to recover and continue down the line.

Balance Training for At Home or the Gym

Balance takes time, focus, and consistency to master, and this can be done in conjunction with your strength training at home or at the gym with some of the strategies below:

  • One leg shoulder press
  • Single leg deadlift to balance
  • Side plank with leg lifts
  • Lateral lunge to balance
  • Sumo squat with outer thigh pulse
  • Standing crunch with under leg clap
  • Plank with flying plane arms
  • T-stand with hinge and side bend
  • Balance based yoga
  • Surf balance board practise

Balance Training Beach Exercises

The beach gives us a soft landing spot and an uneven ground to rest our feet and body on, making standard balance exercises just that much more effective. Try the same exercise listed above while at the beach, and also think to give these yoga poses a go, as they are balance specific and perfect for a pre-surf balance check:

  • Mountain pose
  • Chair pose
  • Tree pose
  • Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana B
  • Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana A
  • Angled crescent lunge
  • Eagle pose
  • Warrior II pose
  • Twisting lunge
  • Half camel pose

How to Improve Flexibility for Surfing

The most flexible surfers are those who can perform the most impressive turns and the wildest of laybacks.

Flexibility has a massive impact on our surfing, but becoming flexible can be extremely difficult.

When the other forms of training often inhibit flexibility, making you sore and tight, this makes it even more essential to ensure that you are purposefully stretching your body to promote its flexibility, as this will make you more nimble and quick in the water while also lowering the chance of injury.

Flexibility Training for At Home or the Gym

Most flexibility training takes the form of stretching. There are 3 major types of stretches, and those include static stretching, dynamic stretching, and active isolated stretching, and you want to stretch before your workout or surf, after, and even on your days off.

Static stretching targets a specific muscle by holding the stretch for 15-60 seconds. Dynamic stretching includes moving through a joint's entire range of motion, and active isolated stretching is the same as dynamic with the addition of briefly holding the joint at its end range of motion. To improve flexibility, you want to incorporate all three kinds of stretching by using some of the below as inspiration:

  • Shoulder rolls
  • Extended angle side bend
  • Lower back mobiliser
  • Standing hamstring stretch
  • Chest mobiliser
  • Neck-and-shoulder release
  • Up-and-overs
  • Palm squeeze
  • Piriformis stretch
  • Lunge with spinal twist
  • Tricep stretch
  • Butterflies
  • Side bends

Flexibility Training at the Beach

Why not improve your flexibility with a little sunshine and saltwater nearby? And if you plan to surf, then you absolutely have to stretch anyways, so check out some of the best answers as to how to improve flexibility for surfing with these whole-body stretches and yoga poses perfect for the sand:

  • Reclined hand to big toe pose
  • Bound angle pose
  • Child's pose
  • Eye of the needle pose
  • Downward facing dog
  • Extended triangle pose
  • Head-to-knee forward bend
  • Seated forward bend
  • Standing forward bend
  • Crescent lunge
  • Pyramid pose
  • Half Moon pose
  • Garland pose

Takeaways of How to Improve Surfing Skills

By training your strength, endurance, balance, and flexibility, you are all but guaranteed to become a better surfer than you currently are.

Creating a dedicated routine of physical fitness is the single best way to improve surfing skills even when you aren't surfing, and you will find a plethora of other positive life effects that come with pursuing physical fitness with a passion.

Just balance your surfing and work out time accordingly, and make sure to focus equally on each of these body aspects, as they all directly influence one another. Strength cannot be used to its full extent without flexibility and vice versa, for example.

Give yourself a little bit of time as you get adjusted into a routine, as you will also have to remember that proper diet is also necessary, and soon enough you'll find that fitness might just become a passion that keeps you busy and occupied when it's flat so that when it's firing, your body is ready to absolutely kill it.