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Surf exercises

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Surf exercises

Let's face it, we could all do with a little more strength and fitness for our surfing enjoyment. It's no fun resting on the beach when the conditions are perfect, while at the same time you don't want to risk drowning from fatigue.

Fatigue in the water is a real issue and one of the common causes of drowning, but I'm talking about improving your performance.

By performance I mean:

  • Faster recovery times
  • Increased power
  • Increased stability and core strength
  • Increased lactic thresholds and strength endurance
  • Greater ROM (range of motion) and flexibility

Yes you can enhance these factors by exercise, sport specific exercises for surfing!

As a qualified fitness professional and passionate surfer I can help with some great exercises for surfing. I have trained several athletes in a wide range of sports and recently one of my guys got bronze in the world basket ball champs in Turkey 2013, so what I am about to tell you is not just some gym guy posting his cool tips.

Right, so here is some tips I am willing to share.

Broken record syndrome

Don't do the same thing every time you train. The goal is to keep yourself adapting, not become adapted. As long as you're adapting, you're getting results from your training.

A great way to mix it up is to focus on your training times. The body doesn't care much for numbers and while you might think last week I did 10 reps, so if I get 10 reps today then I got a similar workout. If you're focused more on performance than image, then consider how long your sessions are in the water. How intense are they? How long do you spend swimming out in tough conditions.

A great way to have the mix and mimic your session times is to a combination of programs during the week. For example, you could do week 1 with split programs, during morning doing enduro and afternoon strength based circuits. The following week you can focus on progression sets and core strength drills. When I say progression sets, you base your training on sets that progress on intensity. (Ie. They get harder and harder as each set goes, generally you'd want to start with 2 or 3 sets and see what your failure point is)

You can also shock your system by doing micro-sessions. That means, you completely change your programs from 1 hour sessions down to 15 minutes max. You can do this for two weeks. A 15 minute micro will look something like this:


1 x 1 minute dynamic stretches
1 x 2 minutes warm-up - (Getting HR to around 70%)

WO phase: 10 minutes of 95 - 100 percent intensity. With no more than a total of 45 seconds to one minute rest during the 10 minutes. You can use regressions on all stations or exercises as long as you keep moving and the HR is in that 95/100 zone.

1 x 2 minutes cool down into static stretches


This kind of drill will produce a killer amount of lactic build-up, so it's not uncommon to get nausea during your first session, if this is the case be sure to extend that cool down as much as possible to help deal with it.

Compound so it hurts

You want to try and do compound exercises. That means avoid isolated ones like a one arm dumbbell drill where you spend 30 minutes working the bicep and your heart rate is 120.

Use your workout time to hit more than one major muscle group at a time. Instead of doing a one arm curl, try a wall sit with alternating dumbbell curls.

Hit the bar and do pull-ups which is a nice compound exercise.

Most compound exercises engage core as well which is vital for surfing. Some crazy compound workouts for core and strength are mountain climber - push-up - burpee supersets combined.

Sounds like a mouth full but, it is more like a mouth full of vomit if you're not careful about it, so start slow by doing 2 sets for starters and so on,

Intervals and fartlek training

I'm not going to explain the full deal on fartlek, but to put it in a nutshell. You'll benefit from it in terms of speed and endurance. This type of training incorporates a variation of intensities.

Both traditional interval training and fartlek training will benefit your surfing skills. I'd try to do at least one of these sessions per week on varying days.

Don't be shy

Finally, don't be shy to post and ask for any more info! There is a lot more where this came from. Enjoy!



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Guest Sunday, 07 June 2020
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