There are many tests available for assessing your surf fitness, some can be more advanced but there are many that are also very simple These can be a great asset if you’re looking to improve your surfing and surf fitness.
As with any exercise, performance can be improved by playing the Rocky "Eye of the Tiger" track throughout the training session.
Warming up for fitness testing;
Before all fitness tests it would be advisable to warm up the body correctly; mobility, light jogging, and light stretching are all beneficial before a fitness test, 8-10 minutes would be advisable, also try and stick to the same warm up before each test.
What is core strength?
The core muscles include not only those in your abdominals and back, but also muscles in your pelvic floor and hips. Good core muscle strength is for balance and powerful surfing. Plus, the ladies love a nice 6-pack!
The Front Plank Test
We've looked at the front plank exercise in detail, so you can familiarise yourself with this exercise before attempting the test. It's a really simple test that does not require a regular gym membership or hiring a personal trainer.
Hold the front plank position for as long as possible, take note of the time and record. As the weeks past and your core strength improves there should be vast improvements in the length of time you can hold a front plank.
Vertical Jump Test
This test is basically designed to test your explosive leg power for a surfer this can be important, as any surf session progresses and tiredness sets in, explosive leg power diminishes, and boosting your leg strength will improve your stamina and lengthen your surf sessions.
All you need is a high wall, start the test by standing side on to the wall, make a note of how high you can reach without jumping, this is your standing reach height, then stand slightly away from the wall then using both arms to aid your upwards movement attempt to touch the wall at the highest point of your jump, this is your jump height.
Make sure you make a note of where you touched the wall, then make a measurement of the distance between the standing reach height and the jump height and this is your result. Try the test every 6-8 weeks.
Why test flexibility for surfing?
Flexibility tests can be used by the surfer to;
The Sit and Reach Test
The sit and reach test is also very simple but can be a good guide for testing your flexibility in the lower back and hamstrings.
Before you start the test you will need a tape measure long enough so that it reaches from the middle knee area just past your toes.
To begin the test sit down with legs extended and your back up against the wall then run the tape measure from the knees down the middle of your legs just past your toes, once you have done this you’re ready to start place one had over the other then slowly reach forwards with one hand on top of the other, make a note of how far you reach to then repeat three times and record your distance.
Trunk Rotation Test
This is a great test for surfer’s trunk flexibility which is vital for sharp dynamic movements.
Start by marking a vertical line on the wall. (If you are doing this inside, use a crayon — you can blame it on a smaller sibling / niece / nephew if and explanation is required). Stand with your back to the wall directly in front of the line. You should be about arms length away from the wall with your feet shoulder width apart.
Extend your arms out directly in front of you so they are parallel to the floor, then slowly twist your trunk to your right and touch the wall behind you with your fingertips. Your arms should stay extended and parallel to the floor. You can turn your shoulders, hips and knees as long as your feet don't move.
Mark the position where your fingertips touched the wall. Measure the distance from the line. A point before the line is a negative score and a point after the line is a positive score.
Repeat for the left side and take the average of the 2 scores and use the table provided below to rate your score.
Trunk Rotation Test Evaluation Sheet
|Poor- need work!||Fair||Good||Very good!||Excellent|
|Trunk Rotation Evaluation Guide.|
A Basic Press up Test
Although this is a basic test it's a good way of testing upper body strength as a press up brings into play many upper body muscle groups. A simple pop up will demand some upper body strength and the longer your surf session is the harder this upper body move will become.
Start the test in a press up position, then try as many press ups as possible in 1 minute, record the time and repeat every 2 weeks.
Testing aerobic fitness to gage surfing paddle power can be a bit tricky, although most surfers will know that if you've been finding it hard to paddle out, or your stamina for catching waves half way through a session dips then it’s pretty simple to see your aerobic endurance needs attention. That, and giving up cigarettes!
The Swim Time Trial
Before starting the test 6-8 minutes of mobility is a must so warm up properly!
You may need a partner with a stop watch then swim as far as possible in 20 minutes.
Record the time and repeat on a monthly basis.
To improve your results adopt a regular swim program and notice the difference in your paddle power and aerobic fitness in a few weeks! The upright row is also an excellent exercise to quickly improve paddle power.
Keeping track of your improvements in fitness, strength and flexibility is a great way to get you motivated. It also allows you to set achievable targets to aim for.
Article by Lee Stanbury, Surfing-Waves.com resident surf fitness guru, author of the Complete Guide to Surf Fitness. Lee has worked with top surf athletes Ben Skinner and Oli Adams, and developed fitness coaching with the U18 British surf team.
Check out Lee's surf fitness website at fit2surf.com.