When people think of surfers, they often think of laid-back, messy-haired people who spend all of their time at the beach, riding the waves and hanging out on the beach.
However, for the most part, this couldn’t be further from the truth. If you enjoy surfing, you’ve likely dreamt of this lifestyle.
Whether you live quite far from the closest beach or struggle to surf regularly because of work and other commitments, the ability to surf regularly can feel like an incredible privilege.
Though it often doesn’t seem like it, surfing is an intense sport, which requires a lot of dedication to foster the necessary physical and mental fitness.
As such, it can be tricky to become a better surfer if you don’t have the ease of access and necessary time to surf regularly.
It can become frustrating when you feel as if you can’t progress in a sport that you love dearly.
However, there are ways to improve away from the water and surfboard!
We’ve put together a list of the best exercises to do if you’re a surfer away from the sea.
Surfing has a long, spiritual history.
Although, as the sport has been popularised, surfing has become an activity for competitive, physically and mentally strong individuals, as well as more laid-back stereotypical surfers.
In fact, surfing is one of the most physically demanding sports in the world.
In addition to working nearly all of the muscle groups, it requires:
- good balance
- constant involvement
- and a thorough understanding of the ocean
Therefore, most on-land exercises will be beneficial for surfers.
However, to really target the necessary skills and muscle groups, a workout which imitates the movements you engage in whilst in the water is likely to be more beneficial.
If you have any pre-existing health conditions, you should always check with a doctor before beginning a new exercise routine.
Also ensure you stay very hydrated, and warm up correctly to prevent risk of injury.
Best Surfing Workout
Below, we’ll take you through a number of great exercises, each of which will target a specific type of movement or skill which is necessary for surfing.
Exercises for Balance
As you’re probably aware, surfing requires a lot of balance.
Check out these exercises to help with your balance below!
1. Exercise using an Indo Board
An Indo Board is a versatile balance board, created by a surfer to step up indoor surf training.
Doing exercises whilst standing on an Indo Board will really help with your balance.
Be sure to try these exercises:
- Indo Board push-ups: Get into a push up position but place our hands on the Indo Board. Proceed to do regular push ups.
- Indo Board squats: Get into a regular squat position but place your feet on the Indo Board. Proceed to do as many squats as possible.
2. One-legged Exercises
If you don’t have an Indo Board, not to worry.
You can see great results by simply doing one-legged exercises, such as those below.
- Single-leg balance: Balance on one leg for a set period, and then swap.
- Single-leg balance with medicine ball: If simply balancing is too easy, repeat the same activity as above, but lightly toss a medicine ball in the air whilst you do so.
Exercises For Shoulders, Back and Arms
50% of an average surf session is paddling, and this can be an exhausting exercise.
In order to elongate your time in the water, and thus your ability to ride as many waves as possible, it might be necessary to give some attention to the muscles in your shoulders, back and arms.
Check out the exercises below if you think this is the case!
1. Pool workouts
Swimming in a pool is a great way to increase strength and power in your upper body. It can also be a great endurance exercise.
- Long distance: Swim longer distances at a comfortable pace to increase endurance.
- Short distance: Swim shorter distances at a much faster pace, and include more repetitions, to increase power.
Push-ups are a great exercise for the upper body and will really help with your ability to pop up on the surfboard.
- Ring push-ups: Ring push-ups are difficult and are potentially an exercise to be worked towards. However, they are especially good for surfers, due to the shoulder and core control required. To do a ring push-up, you need to hold the gym rings, and walk forward with your arms straight. Proceed to do a push-up.
- Burpee push-ups: These are ideal if you’re looking to better your pop-up ability. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Squat deeply and place your hands down on the floor. Jump (or step) backward into a push-up position. Do a regular push-up. Jump (or step) forward again into a squat position. Jump back up to the original standing position.
Exercises For Hip And Leg Strength
It’s easy to forget about the legs when you’re thinking about surf exercises.
However, surfing can be very tiring for the legs, and requires unrestricted movements of the hip.
Therefore, it is super important to work in these areas, to help your surf ability reach the next level!
In addition to being great for the legs, lunges are also a good exercise to do if you want to work on your balance and your hip movements.
Give these two types of lunges a try!
- Dynamic lunge: The dynamic lunge is great for opening your hips, glutes, and hamstrings. To do one, take a long step forward with your right leg, and touch your right foot with your hands. Bring the right elbow to the inside of your ankle and hold that position for a few seconds. Following, bring both hands forward and place them either side of your right foot. Straighten your right knee, press your left heel backwards, and hold this position for a few seconds. Return to standing slowly and repeat with the left leg.
- Medicine ball lunge: These are great to increase leg strength. Stand tall and hold a medicine ball in front of your chest. Lunge forward with the right leg. With your upper body, twist over your right leg, and throw the ball to the ground and catch it. Return to the original standing position, and repeat on the left side.
Squats are great for building strength in the ankles, knees, hips and spine as well as legs, which are all necessary aspects of surfing.
Try out these different squats below.
- Jump-squats: These are a great step up from a basic squat. Simply go down into a squat, and rather than standing back up right, you jump as high as you can.
- Single-leg squats: These are awesome exercises to increase your balance as well as leg strength. Simply stand on one leg and squat. If you struggle initially, it’s fine to hold onto something.
Exercises for Core Strength
A strong core will significantly increase balance and control whilst surfing.
Check out these core exercises below!
Planks are arguably one of the best core exercises, and there are so many variations to choose from!
- Regular plank: A normal plank is a great place to start with core exercises. Simply support your weight by your forearms and toes in a ‘plank’ position on the floor. Your back should be as straight as possible. Hold this position.
- Side plank: If you have mastered the regular plank, try the side plank to strengthen other areas of your core. This time, start on your side, so that you have one forearm on the floor below your shoulder, and your feet are together. Make sure your hips are in line with your body. Hold this position.
Rowing, or using a rowing machine, is a great exercise to end on.
Not only does it work the core, but it works most of the muscles in your body. It’s also great for raising your heart rate, and your overall health.
Be sure to give it a go!
Surfing is a great sport but is very demanding.
Try out these on-land exercises to really bring your surfing ability to the next level, without having to compromise on other commitments to travel to the beach daily.