A surfing exercise program can benefit any level of surfer, from the wide-eyed beginner, to the grizzled veteran, and everyone in between. Even if you consider surfing just a casual hobby, you don't want to be the guy who exhausts himself after only a few minutes of paddling and then spends most of his time in the water just trying to recover. And for the serious surfer who is already in pretty good shape, see how focusing on five specific areas of surf fitness will take your training to the next level, resulting in immediate improvements on the waves.
So what are the five critical types of surfing exercise that will make you a better surfer?
1. Cardiovascular: as part of your surf fitness, you will want to build up your endurance. Paddling takes a lot of energy, and you will be doing it for long stretches at a time. Running and swimming are very good surf exercises with cardio benefits. Be sure to do enough to keep your heart rate up for 30 minutes at a time.
2. Core strength: addressing your core means building up your abdominal and back muscles, which also are very important for paddling. In addition, core fitness is a big part of fighting against the weight of the water, which is something you do almost constantly while surfing the waves. Abdominal crunches, presses, and planks are good examples of core surf exercise.
3. Upper body: yet another area that will help with paddling! But again, because you spend so much time paddling, there are huge benefits to doing it well. By paddling faster, you'll be able to catch more waves. A stronger upper body also will allow you to pop up onto your board more quickly. The bench press, pushups, pull-ups, and upper back moves like lat pulldowns are good in this area. Specific surf paddling exercises are shoulder presses and rowers, if you have access to a machine.
4. Flexibility: your surfing exercise program also should include stretching, something that a lot of people tend to avoid. More flexibility and mobility will allow you to maneuver your board better, remain upright, and do more tricks. As an extra benefit, if you are like some surfers and have lower back problems, stretching your back and hamstrings should give you some relief.
5. Lower body: conditioning your lower body is another way to help you remain on your board and do more advanced maneuvers. Movements involving balance and power will help strengthen your lower body. Your surf fitness program should include drills like lunges, squats, and calf raises. Incorporate the use of a stability ball to improve your balance even more; squats and bridges with a fitness ball are examples of enhanced lower body strength exercises for surfers.
By getting yourself fit for surfing, you will reach a level of health that most people only can imagine. You also will transform your appearance, which will have plenty of benefits too, especially when you're on the beach lounging in your bathing suit. And perhaps most importantly for those of us who truly love to surf, your surfing exercise plan will help you reach your full potential as a surfer, allowing you to enjoy yourself more every time you step in the water.