The best surfing exercises are those that improve your strength, endurance, balance, and flexibility, all of which are key components to better surfing. Not only will fitness help you to catch more waves and throw bigger hacks, but it will also help to prevent injury and promote your overall well-being with endless positive effects.
To best address surfing fitness, you of course want to implement the surfing exercises that cater to the needs of becoming lean and strong, promoting your power to weight ratio to the optimal extent possible. A balance of proper nutrition, the right surfing warm-ups, and of course exercises that are meant for surfing fitness is required, so let's get right into a definitive surfing fitness regime for you to follow.
We won't spend much time here, and you can instead read up on our other surfing nutrition guides, but it's important to at least mention that nutrition is as much of an integrated aspect to surf training as the exercises are themselves.
The cleaner, greener, and more organic foods that you can eat the better, all whilst ensuring that you are consuming enough protein (1 gram for every pound of body weight) for muscle growth, carbohydrates for immediate energy, fats for stored energy, and vitamins and minerals for general health while drinking ample water throughout the day.
10 Surfing Exercises to Warm Up
A warm-up before surfing is essential. You have to get your muscles and bones ready for the strain to come, as they are going to soon begin working hard, and warming up prevents injury and allows your body to ready up for the strenuous activity.
If you need go-to surfing exercises for a warm-up, this routine should have you totally covered as these movements stretch you out while also using your muscles to prepare them for the session.
- Breathing Squat With Knees To Elbows - Start with your feet planted firm and shoulder-width apart and hands behind your head. Inhale a deep breath as you dip your thighs down until your knees reach a 90-degree angle, exhaling slowly and strongly as you come back up. Once standing, lift your left knee up to touch your right elbow, then your right knee to your left elbow, and repeat!
- Classic Jumping Jacks - Jumping jacks are excellent at pumping your blood and getting that heart rate going before a surf, and the sand acts as a slight resistance to further work your muscles. Simply stand tall and extend your legs to the side as you clap your hands together high over your head for a couple of sets of high repetition.
- Lunge To Leg Lift - Perform a standard lunge by holding your weight on your front leg (which should reach 90 degrees) as your back leg extends outwards, lifting your weight back onto both feet into a standing position. Once standing, lift one foot high up into the air and touch it to your hand. Repeat both with the other leg.
- T-Rotation Push-Up - Begin in a standard push-up position. Twist your body to the left side by placing the weight on your left arm as you lift your right arm into the sky, looking upwards with your head. Hold in this twisted position for a few seconds, bring your arm back down to the centre, and repeat on the other side.
- Walking Knee Hugs - Choose two points in the sand about 10-20 feet apart. As you walk from point to point, lift your knees aggressively in front of you one by one, hugging them with your arms as you do and holding this position for as long as possible before losing balance.
- Sand Bicycles - Lay in the sand on your back as you bring one knee up and towards the opposite elbow in this classic ab workout.
- Shoulder and Arm Circles - Stand with legs shoulder-width apart and arms extended outward. Circle your arms in both small and large circles, transitioning from clockwise to counterclockwise.
- Butt Kicks - Stand in place as you repetitively lift your legs as your heels hit your buttocks, making sure to engage the arms as if you are running.
- Side Shuffles - Stand with feet hip-width apart and knees slightly bent. Shuffle your feet by bringing them together and then extending them back apart as you move in one direction. Lean into the side you are moving, touch the toe of this leg, and then do the other direction/leg.
- Warm-up Jog - Go on a small 5-minute jog to get the heart going and to alert the body of the physical strain to come so that it can prepare.
20 Surfing Exercises for Surfing Fitness
These exercises are for the days you don't surf. Although surfing itself is the best way to train, this doesn't mean you can't improve your surfing outside of the water with the right training for surfers. Were going to outline some of the most effective surfing exercises that target the muscles most required for surfing, especially your core.
Some of them can be done at home, while others might require a gym and equipment, but by taking from this list you can create a surfing fitness program that works best for you and your lifestyle.
- Turkish Get-Ups - Lay on your back with one leg extended to the side and bent at a 90-degree angle. Hold a kettlebell over your head by extending the arm on the same side as the bent leg. Use your leg, your free arm, and mostly your core to bring yourself into a standing position with the kettlebell still held high above your head.
- Surfers Paddle - Lay on your stomach with your legs and arms extended out. Lift your legs up in a small arch and into a plank as your arms mimic a breaststroke.
- Surfers Burpee - Start in a squat. Bring your hands inside your feet to ready them for a weight transition. With your weight on your hands, kick your legs fiercely outwards and bring yourself into a push-up position and perform a push-up. When done with the push-up, do a frog jump to lift your body back into a squatted position and then do a jumping squat into a sideways surfer stance.
- Deadlifts - We suggest performing in-depth research on how to deadlift, but once you learn the correct technique, deadlifts act as one of the best whole-body strength training surfing exercises.
- Single-Leg Kettlebell Deadlifts - Place a kettlebell on the ground and stand with your arms and toes pointed straight. Keep a flat back as you stay on one leg and lift the other leg parallel to the floor. Once parallel, pick the kettlebell up with the opposite hand and lift your body back to standing, repeating on the other side.
- Pull-Ups - Perform reps with your wrist facing both inwards and outwards for optimal muscle growth to enhance your paddling, making sure to complete the full range of motion. You can also hold a pullup for as long as possible.
- Alternating Dumbbell Press - This form of bench press helps to negate any muscle weakness between your arms and chest, as our surfing stance often focuses on one side of our body. Lay on a bench press bar, preferably at a slight incline, in the correct bench press position and with two dumbbells. Hold one dumbbell to your side as you press the other one upwards to isolate the muscles of each arm and chest for equal workouts.
- Dumbbell Bent Rows - Place one leg on a bench at a 90-degree angle and the other firm on the ground, with one hand on the bench and the other holding a dumbbell. Pull the dumbbell upwards with your arm while staying stable in this position and then transitioning arms.
- Dumbbell Curls - Standard biceps curls with high reps and low weights are an excellent way to get your arm muscles used to extended periods of strain. Stand with a dumbbell in each hand and palms facing outwards as you perform slow and steady dumbbell curls.
- Low Weight Squat - Perform a weighted squat with a bar, but instead of going for a heavyweight, instead try and perform high amounts of repetition with low weights as this will improve muscle endurance in conjunction with strength for better training for surfers.
- Balance Board Squat - Balance boards and surfing go hand-in-hand, and they also act as an incredible means to improve your exercises while also targeting balance. Once you are stable while standing on your balance board, place your hands in front of your chest and slowly and steadily dip yourself into a squat. The longer you hold in this balanced position the better, and try to lift your legs back up without falling.
- Balance Board Push-up - Place both hands evenly apart on the balance board and use your arms to stabilise the board in position. Once stabilised, bend down into a standard push-up. You will immediately feel how this push-up requires more strength in keeping the board balanced versus standard ones.
- Kettlebell Balance Board Press - While balanced on your board, hold a kettlebell in one hand. Twist your arm as you lift it to your chest so your palm faces up, and then extend your arm above your head.
- Medicine Ball Sit-Up - Lay flat on your back and hold a medicine ball close to your chest while performing standard sit-up motions.
- Medicine Ball Squat Toss - If you have a partner, one of you begins in a squatting position with the medicine ball held close to the chest. As you stand up, throw the medicine ball to your partner who will then catch it as they simultaneously enter a squat.
- Bodyblade Exercises - If you haven't heard of a bodyblade, it is a piece of exercise equipment that trains muscular strength, endurance, and coordination, a perfect tool for surfing exercises. There are simply too many incredible body blade exercises to list, but the important thing to note is that these devices target surfing-specific fitness.
- Exercise Ball Jackknife - Using an exercise ball, place your feet/calves on top of it while entering an angled push-up position. Perform a push-up with arms shoulder-width apart while your calves remain angled on the ball.
- Exercise Ball Torso Rotations - Begin seated on an exercise ball with a light dumbbell held in both of your hands. Slowly walk yourself forward until the ball meets your shoulder blades, keeping the dumbbell held in front. Once here, twist both arms to one side, hold, and then straighten yourself to walk back into the seated position to repeat on the other side.
- Exercise Ball Dumbbell Curl and Raise - While seated on an exercise ball with your back straight, perform a standard dumbbell curl. Once curled, twist your wrist to the side and use your shoulders to press the dumbbell above your head. Hold, steadily bring back down, and repeat.
- Strength Training Yoga - To target core strength, balance, flexibility, and overall health, there's nothing better for your surfing fitness routine than strength-based yoga. Take some time to learn the correct positions and reap the multiple benefits that are derived from this special type of surfing exercise.
When it comes to fitness for surfers, dedication and consistency is your best friend. Stay consistent in your pursuit and with time you will see definitive results when in the water. Make sure to balance the right nutrition with exercises that aim to promote lean muscle and endurance by using the list above, and you'll find your body ready to handle all the conditions that our ocean decides to throw your way.