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9 Surfing Workouts to Do at the Beach

You might want to hammer out a quick surfer workout at the beach as a little pre-game warm up to your sesh, a way to get those joints loosened up and some blood flowing through the muscles before powering through some whitewash.

Or perhaps mother nature didn't quite allow for the surfing you expected by sending out the sharks, blowing out the conditions or casting a flat spell, but you still want to spend some time at the beach doing something other than sunbathing.

Outside of surfing itself, a focus on your fitness will directly promote your abilities in the water. So when you simply cannot surf yet, you still want to put in some work to progress your surfing, or if of course you want to warm up with some solid body movements before jumping in, then why not dig into a solid beach workout routine on the sand?

Beach Workout Ideas for a Surfer

Working out at the beach is unique. You don't have weights or equipment and must rely on what is provided on the beach, which is an excellent thing as this allows you to focus on cardio, light strength training, balance, and flexibility.

The sand provides a wonderful additional resistance to your surfer workout to further promote muscle growth and intensity, and of course, on the chance that the waves improve you can always snag your board from the car and hop in!

If you need some surfer workout inspiration, we have got you covered with some of the best and most effective beach workout ideas specific to surfing. It is important that you stay hydrated during these routines, as hydration directly affects your body’s ability to recover.

1. The Stretch Routine

As with anything, you have to start with stretching to promote muscle growth, increase flexibility, and prevent injury.

Any good surfer workout will start with stretching, as this is an integral part of working out in general. Surfers benefit even more by stretching as flexibility plays a key role in how your body can manoeuvre itself through turns and extended laybacks.

Sure, you could go for the standard stretches we learned in grade school like toe touches, but I think we can do better than that and really focus on promoting flexibility.

Instead of stretching, start your workout routine with flexibility-centered yoga.

  • Begin in a mountain pose with your hands by your side.
  • Reach your hands up over your head, pause, and bring them down to your ankles for a forward bend.
  • Wrap your hands together behind your back while bent, and stretch them up into the sky to open up your shoulders.
  • Bring your hands back into a forward bend and hold for slightly longer.
  • Stand back up while stretching your arms again over your head, and bring them to your side to come back to standing mountain pose.
  • Reach one arm up to the sky and the other down your leg for a standing side bend, rotating twice between arms.
  • Place your knees on the sand shoulder-width apart and bend your back down into a child's pose. Reach your arms out in front for an extended child's pose.
  • Then stretch your body out and into a downward dog, repeating this cycle twice.
  • Now bring yourself to lay on your back, pulling one knee up and resting the calf of the opposite leg on your thigh. To increase the stretch, pull your knee closer to your chest and switch legs when done.
  • While laying down, lift one leg vertical and into the sky to try and touch your toes with your fingers while keeping the back firm against the sand for a reclining hand-to-toe big pose.
  • Lay in corpse mode, breathe for a moment, and enjoy the sun before progressing into your workout.

Bodyweight Surfer Workout Routine

Once you're all stretched out, it's time to get the muscles moving. You can do an entire surfer workout with only the weight of your body, so check it out.

2. Sand Pushups

Work through a variety of different pushups in the sand, as the resistance of the sand will sink your arms further down and will require more strength, and pushups are an excellent surfer workout because they mimic your pop up.

  • Start with standard push-ups, and then widen your shoulders to further promote core and chest strength.
  • Try doing clapping push-ups, as you don't have to worry about missing a clap and smacking your face onto the ground.
  • For high intensity, transition from a few push-up reps directly into a plank. Hold yourself for a set amount of time, and repeat.

3. The Paddle Plank

Surfing, and specifically paddling, takes a lot of shoulder strength. To work your shoulders, try out this awesome surfing exercise.

  • Start out by laying flat on your stomach, as the sand should make this comfortable.
  • Arch your legs and your chest to create a slight “U” shape of the body. This in itself will require extreme levels of core and ab strength, but to further intensify the workout, try performing paddling motions while locked in this position.
  • Use big and round sweeping arm motions that extend to your side (versus a standard paddle where your arms drop down and into the water) and perform as many as you can before collapsing.

4. The Pop Up Surfer Exercise

This surfer workout doubles as out-of-the-water training by helping you master your pop-up, even if you're already a 'master'.

  • Start on the ground in a plank with your stomach on the sand.
  • Push yourself up in a push-up, and in one smooth motion force yourself into a sideways standing position similar to a burpee, but that takes on a surfing stance.
  • When in this stance, perform a bodyweight squat.
  • From the standing position, transition back into a plank on your forearms.
  • Hold the plank.
  • Bring your stomach back down to repeat on the other side, this time entering into a switch stance on the pop up for heightened balance.

5. The Surfer Lunge

The sand makes lunges even that much more effective at building leg and core strength than they already are as your weight will sink into the softness.

For a solid surfing-specific lunge routine, try this out during your next beach workout.

  • Start standing with your legs shoulder-width apart.
  • Place one foot firm into the sand, and use this leg as the focus of your weight by bending it 90 degrees.
  • Extend the opposite leg far out into the right side and hold.
  • Bring the extended leg back to shoulder width before next stretching it behind your body to hold again.
  • For the last time, once more come back to a shoulder-width stance before extending the leg behind you and to the left for the last variation.
  • Switch legs and perform again.

You will quickly notice how this improves your leg strength for big turns, and how this stance also requires balance from your core to keep you stable, similar to the varying body positions we must take when crouching into a tight barrel.

I also like choosing a small patch of sand that is about 25 metres. When moving to one end, start by getting there with side lunges. On the way back, try performing walking lunges. Then do jumping lunges the next time and lunge twists on the way back, switching the type of lunge up every back-and-forth.

This provides a nice sense of cardio-based movement on top of increasing your leg strength, and your balance and flexibility will also benefit.

Other Surfer Workout Ideas

On top of actual workouts, there are a few other ways in which you can get some solid exercise while at the beach.

For less conventional beach workout ideas that still promote your surfing, always keep these in mind!

6. Beach Runs

A nice jog on the sand is much more beneficial than on the roads. The sand is soft, which will help save your knees, and because it is soft it will require more work from your calves to combine light strength training with cardio, something that usually can't happen in a standard run.

You absolutely need to make sure your lungs and heart are healthy to surf for long periods, and running on the beach is the best way to knock out some cardio that does exactly that with some seriously alluring scenery.

And I don't think that any surfer would complain about a nice splash of ocean water on the face while they cruise along the shoreline compared to car horns and exhaust.

7. Swimming

Of course swimming is a go-to beach workout!

But I have to say it, because I know personally as a surfer I do not swim enough.

To be honest, swimming alone could act as an entire full-body surfer workout, and as surfers, it's never a bad idea to hone in on our swimming abilities just in case the leash snaps when the conditions are big.

Surfers often spend so much time paddling on boards that swimming is forgotten, so the next time it's flat and you're looking to get a little beach workout in, try just going for a simple swim along the shore.

8. Paddling

I know it might be kooky, but if you're cool with it then take that board out and paddle around a kilometre or two . It makes sense that to become a stronger paddler you have to paddle, so why not toss the board in and do some free paddling?

9. Breath Hold

As well as surfing exercise, you should also make sure to practice your breath-hold, and the beach is the perfect place to do it.

Go freediving in shallow waters and look for shells. Swim under as many sets as you can before taking a breather. Intentionally hold your breath for as long as possible.

The cardio of the situation will promote your breath-hold in general, and forcing yourself to hold your breath while your oxygen pumps is the single best way to gain a few seconds of hold ability.

Closing Thoughts on a Surfer Beach Workout

The key to creating a solid workout routine is to tie all of these surfer workouts together.

High intensity with lots of repetition is your best friend for surfing-related fitness.

Start with stretching, and then practice these basic workouts. Once you get good at them, work on creating a consistent routine that you follow that methodically flows through the exercises. Remember, the beach workout ideas we provided are simply a nice starting point, and there is always further learning to be done about surfing exercises you can add to this.

Set a basic amount of reps for each beach workout and a set amount of rest time in between, working to increase repetition and decrease rest through fitness consistency.

Tack on some additional swim and run time on top of your HIT (high intensity) workout, stay dedicated, and soon enough your body will become built to throw buckets out the back.