Get in shape to make the most of the surf this summer!
1. SURFING WARM-UP
Your warm-up should consist of movements and mobility drills which replicate some of the movements in surfing.
Slow, long hold stretches have actually been shown to “shut-off” muscles and decrease their contraction times.
The key to a quality surf training warm-up is using movements to increase the heart rate, release tight tissues, lubricate joints and excite the nervous system.
Benefits of a Warm-Up:
> Increased mobility and flexibility of the body and joints.
> Reduced muscle stiffness.
> Increased heart rate, improved blood circulation and oxygen delivery to muscles.
> Nervous system activation and excitation of joint stabilizing muscles.
> Stimulation the respiratory systems.
> Increased speed of muscle contraction, allowing for faster reactive movements.
Surf Training Warm-up Movements
Breathing Squat: perform a squat movement, exhaling as the body moves down, and inhaling as the body comes back up, extending the arms towards the sky;
Single Leg Upper Body Rotation: stand on one leg with the knee slightly bent, and your hip pushed backwards. With your arms placed in front of the body, rotate from side to side slowly. Control the movement and remain balanced on one single leg.
T-Rotation Pushups: begin in pushup position, and then rotate one arm towards the sky, while simultaneously rotating the body onto one side. You are now balanced on one hand, with the other hand/arm extended towards the sky. Rotate back into pushup position and repeat on the other side.
Warrior Lunge: begin in a basic standing position and lunge forward into a lunge position, extend your arms to the sky, push up off front foot and back into starting position. To advance the movement, you can repeat the prior movement and then add a side bend in either or both directions.
Butt Drops: reach towards the sky and then bend forward to touch your toes. Drop your butt towards your heels as you lift the chest to face forwards. The elbows are inside of the knees, pushing them outwards. Lower your butt as lower as possible and keep your chest as tall as possible. Hold this position for one inhale/exhale and then lift your butt back towards the sky, as your head and chest move back towards ground. Stretch the hamstrings and repeat the movement.
Bent Shoulder Circles: keeping a straight back, with slightly bent knees, bend the torso forward. Get to an angle where you begin to feel a light stretch in your hamstrings and bring the arms out to the sides into a T-position. Perform small arm circles for 30 repetitions in each direction.
Standing Knee Hugs: stand with your spine tall and erect and bring one knee towards your chest. Place your hands around the knee and pull it towards your stomach/chest. Bring the knee as high as possible without rounding the back.
Now that you are warmed up, joints are mobile and you are ready to hop into that paddle-out, or to get into some good surf training workouts.
2. SURF TRAINING WORKOUTS
While nothing can truly replicate what our bodies are required to do in the water during a surf session, you can strengthen the basic required movements and physical demands of surfing.
Even just a few days a month of quality exercises can have a tremendous benefit on your strength, speed and endurance in the surf, and will help to keep you injury-free.
Full Body Movements
Surfing is a highly dynamic sport which demands body movement in three dimensional space, so you need to train your body to become strong and efficient in motion, not in isolation.
Dumbbell curls and calf raises are not going to benefit your surfing.
For quality surf training, you want to use full body movements that require integration of muscles and develop full body strength:
Back Squats or Front Squats
Single Leg Dead Lifts
Lunges and Multi-directional Lunges
Single Arm Cable Pushes and Pulls
Overhead Presses and Single Arm Overhead Presses
Medicine Ball Chops
Balance and Single Leg Surf Training
Balance is exceptionally important for anyone looking to improve their surfing. A quality training program will challenge your balance demands, so that you not only have quicker reaction times, but also are able to dynamically stabilize your joints.
Another aspect of training that will not only improve your balance but also help to keep your lower body injury free, is single leg movements.
Single Leg Balance Drills such as hopping, closed eye balance while standing on a pillow, or upper body rotations;
Single Leg Balance with upper body medicine ball tosses
Single Leg Cable Push or Pulls
Exercises on top of a Balance Board or Indo Board
Single Leg Exercises
Bulgarian Split Squats
Single Leg Dead Lifts
Ice Skater Squats
Single Leg Box Squats
3. SURF CORE TRAINING
Core training has received loads of hype in the last few years, and there are, unfortunately, a lot of misconceptions. What is true is that a strong core is necessary for not only staying pain-free, but being also to be able to surf with speed and power.
It is necessary to understand that the “core” is much more than your abs. Core is comprised of many muscles throughout your trunk that help to stabilize and transmit movement and power throughout your body.
It is important to train the core in integration, not isolated movements such as a crunch that has zero carryover to surfing. Medicine balls, cables, exercise bands, and stability balls are excellent tools for high quality core surf training.
Supine Lateral Ball Rolls
Stability Ball Jack-Knife
Medicine Ball Chops
Horse Stance or Bird Dogs
Stability Ball Rollouts
4. SHOULDERS AND UPPER BACK
Paddling can be one of the most exhausting aspects of surfing. Strong shoulders, a durable upper back, and a powerful core are key to strong paddling.
Some extra training for the shoulder and upper back complex can help you build a stronger, durable, and pain-free upper body.
Aditional work focus on the shoulder girdle and the often injured rotator cuff is also a good idea for surfers. Try these regular exercises:
Dumbbell Bent Rows
Cable Face Pulls
Straight Arm Cable Pull Downs
Suspension Training Tricep Pushes
Rotator Cuff External Rotations
Body Blade Exercises
Surfing for extended periods of time, sessions in heavier breaks and point break currents require full body endurance. Surf training should also include some kind of endurance training that will prepare your body for extended periods of energy production.
One of the best methods is interval training. Since surfing requires bouts of explosive energy output, combined with long duration lower energy output such as casual paddling, it’s important to work both attributes.
Intervals combine high energy explosive output with longer, slower duration energy output. A running interval example would be as follows: warm-up, light jog for five minutes, 30-second to 60-second sprints, return to light jog for five minutes, repeat sprint and continue that cycle.
Intervals can be incorporated into nearly any exercise format. Try these regular endurance exercises:
Row Machine Intervals
With a combination of these exercises you can truly prepare your body for what surfing demands.
Quality surf training will keep your body ready for that next big round of swell and make you able to withstand injury and stay fit, so you can remain active and continue to surf for plenty of years.