Surfing is an extreme sport, and those who are genuinely passionate about it know well that the willingness to become a better surfer sees no end. Because of this, improving your surfing abilities doesn't just stop when you are out of the water.
Implementing a dedicated fitness regime is something that will inevitably work to enhance your paddling, turning power, your balance, and your flexibility. As well as this, a healthy body leads to a healthy mind.
All key components of progressing your surfing as a whole.
There's never a bad time to begin focusing on your fitness, and the honest truth is that the most beneficial forms of surfing exercises can be tackled with easy to implement workouts right from your own home. It really doesn't take much, so to create your own surfer workout at home, we're going to get into some of the most beneficial and easy at-home workouts to take surfing to the next level; even when on the land!
Before getting into the definitive exercises for you to try, let's first go over some strategies regarding how to create a fitness regime best suited for surfing.
The best surfing workouts at home should focus on a balance of cardio and light strength training. We can leave the big muscle bodies to keep pumping iron on Venice beach, as although strength training is important, massive bulk and muscle gains aren't the goals here.
To create a surfing workout at home, you can do so entirely with your own bodyweight. We'll provide you some solid bodyweight-only workouts, but we're also going to hit a few exercises that will require just a few small investments of equipment.
(We can link the more in-depth article on how to build an at-home gym for surfing here when completed)
If you have the funds and aren't dying for a new board, then I suggest investing in a kettlebell around 20-25lbs, a dumbbell set around 25-30lbs, and a 20lb medicine ball.
The last few things worth mentioning are that to best promote your muscle growth and avoid injury, you should always give your body 48 hours rest in between workouts.
Keep up with your nutrition, especially getting enough protein in (0.5-0.8 grams per pound of body weight), and of course more important than anything, stretch for at least 15 minutes before your workout and before you surf!
Now for the good stuff. A collection of different types of exercises for you to begin crafting your own surfer workout at home. We will showcase how to perform each one with only your body weight, and how to also enhance the surfing home workout with equipment.The Simple Pushup
Pushups are one of the most well-rounded forms of exercise perfect for surfing, as pushups work your arms and chest for paddling and they strengthen the core for balance and power.
When starting out, a standard push up is always a nice place to start. But doing a pushup the proper way is an entirely different workout than when it is done wrong.
Make sure your back is nice and straight, and if your hips dip down then you need to further engage your core to bring them back up. You can also engage your hips too much, making your pushup look more like a downward dog, so just focus on keeping your back straight and parallel to the floor.
Don't let your shoulders spread too far wide, and place your hands so that your thumb is in line with your shoulder. Keep yourself slow and steady as you bring your body down, stopping to push back up when your elbows are at a 90-degree angle.
After your pushup, use your core strength to immediately force your body into a squatted, standing position. This form of jumping squat will also target your legs, and to make it specific for surfing, all you have to do is jump into your stance as if popping up on a wave.
The more weight you put on the front of your body, the more difficult and hence effective a pushup. To increase your weight, try angling your body by placing your feet on something higher than your arms, such as a small box, or by using push up straps.
If you have a set of dumbbells, you can add them into your pushup routine for an even more effective surfing home workout. Use your dumbbells as a base for your hands during a pushup, and lift one with each arm after you extend back up, pulling the dumbbell up to a height around your torso.
Squats should be an integrated part of a surfing home workout. They strengthen your lower body to help you throw buckets in the water, and they also target your core, the basis of your strength when surfing.
If you don't have weights, then to really get the most out of a squat you should perform a lot of repetition.
Simply bring your feet shoulder-width apart, and angle them slightly outward to open up your hip joint. You can place your hands behind your head, but to better mimic surfing you can also keep them center in front of your chest.
Squat your body down until your knees are bent at a 90 degree angle and your thighs are parallel to the ground. You don't want to dip your butt to the floor, but you also don't want to wimp out and keep your squat too high, so 90 degrees is the goal. Ensure that your body is square and balanced as you squat, and keep going until your legs are tired. Rest, and then more reps!
If you are feeling like some extra intensity, then think of trying a jumping squat, doing the same thing but jumping and raising your hands above your head as you lift yourself out of the squatting position.
You can still perform a weighted squat as a part of your surfer workout at home even if you don't have a full-on weight bar. Instead, you can use your dumbbell or your medicine ball in place to add a little weight to your squat and promote strength training.
Hold the dumbbell perpendicular to the ground in your hands by gripping both palms under one of the sides, and perform the same motion as a body weight squat. For a medicine ball squat, simply hold it steady in your hands close to your chest to further engage your core.
If you have a medicine ball, this is one of the best surfing exercises at home that you can do.
Place the medicine ball on the ground in front of you. Dip down into a body weight squat and grab it in your hands, pulling it close to your chest before coming back up.
Once you stand out of your squat, lift the ball over your head.
Pull the ball back to your chest and dip down into a second squat. As you stand out of the second squat, use the momentum to throw the ball forward as far as possible.
For another variation, do the same thing, but on the second squat back up with the medicine ball in place, instead, take one of your arms and slam the ball on the ground (versus using both hands to propel it forward) as hard as you can to further target arm strength.
Abs, thighs, ankles, and more importantly, your hips. Lunges not only strengthen these muscles but also allow for a better range of motion in your joints. If you watch someone on a surfboard, their movements oftentimes resemble that of a lunge. So then to make your surfing better, it makes sense to get comfortable with lunging!
No weights are necessary. Just dip one leg down into a 90-degree angle as your other leg extends back, and bring yourself back into a standing position, repeating with the other leg.
To spice up this workout, get more engaged with it. Move your legs back and forth quickly while in a standing position, jumping with intensity to each side. Do a few push-ups in between lunges for added variety, bring your leg up into a standing bicycle to hit the abs while lunging. Just have fun with it!
If available, hold the dumbbells or kettlebells in your hands as you lunge to add more strength training to this exercise. You can also lift them above your head during a squat for another version of a surfing home workout.
A medicine ball is a great way to make a lunge even more effective. As you lunge, keep the medicine ball close to your chest, and twist your body to the outside of the bent leg. You will feel the burn in your legs, and with the medicine ball involved, even more so in your core. Bring the ball back to the middle position, and keep it steady as you stand back up to repeat with the other leg.
The core is probably the most used and necessary aspect of your body's muscle groups when surfing. To strengthen the core for optimal surfing balance, an ab routine is essential.
Start with standard ab exercises like sit-ups and bicycles, but also keep a few things in mind regarding the spine.
Proper ab routines can help to strengthen your lower back muscles as well, which reduce back pain and increase flexibility. To hit this essential muscle group for surfing, leg lifts are your best friend.
They aren't fun or easy, but a couple of 60-second reps of holding each leg up as high as you will have your abs rolling in like a set.
Also, turn yourself around and hold your body parallel in a plank for as long as possible for an ab and lower back workout. If you need some motivation, just pretend like you are getting ready to duck dive a set at Jaws. The more strength, the better chance you have at making it out the back.
I am a big fan of full-body kettlebell routines. These types of high-intensity workouts are the epitome of cardio meeting strength training and act as a go-to surfer workout at home once you learn the flowy movements of these exercises.
There's no one single kettlebell routine, and they can be a little complicated, so just take some time in learning them and it will pay off. A quick YouTube search of “Endurance Kettlebell Routines” should give you plenty, and you might soon realize that these exercises are actually kind of fun to do. Here's an example of one that's quick, thirty minutes, and to the point:
If you have dumbbells or kettlebells, a farmer's carry is a simple and straightforward surfing home workout. All you have to do is carry the dumbbells or kettlebells in your hands as you walk, and this will greatly improve your core strength and balance for surfing.
Carry both at one time, and also switch to holding only one weight in one arm for timed increments to enhance the core aspect of this workout.
If you find yourself out of breath when paddling, then it might be time to tie on the running shoes. We all know running is the best form of cardio you can do, and this is endlessly beneficial for your surfing.
Cardio promotes your lung and heart strength, which allows you to surf for longer increments. Cardio will help you with your breath hold, it will help you to fight through those clean up sets with ease, and it will simply make you a healthier person (cheers to surfing in your eighties!).
You need to be on the top of your fitness game when surfing, especially when conditions get big, and if you don't know where to start then running should probably be the first place!
A few miles here and there is really all you need, so don't go thinking you have to run marathons, but an easy surfer workout at home can be had by simply opening up your front door and hitting the sidewalks or the woods for a nice jog.
It doesn't take much to create an at home workout specific to surfing, but it does take dedication. You have to commit yourself to the routine in order to reap the benefits, and this can be tricky.
Start simply and by setting realistic goals. Shoot for just two to three solid workouts per week and adjust based on how your body feels. Eventually, you will learn to crave the movements of fitness just as you crave good waves (okay, maybe not that much, but still!).
Make sure to rest each muscle group for around 48 hours before working out again, eat the right foods for proper nutrition, and always stay hydrated so that you can receive every last benefit provided by an at home workout for surfers.
Use surfing as your motivation to become the best version of yourself, and this will take you to newfound realities of what you are capable of achieving in the water.