1. Basic Yoga. The movements in yoga help to both strengthen and lengthen the muscles in your body. This allows for easier movements and a flowing connection between the mind and body that is very similar to what good surfers do when surfing. By performing yoga movements into your surfing training you quickly develop rotational flexibility that allows you to turn and tuck into positions demanded by the ocean. You do not have to turn into a yoga fanatic, just take five to ten minutes per day and add some yoga into your surfing exercises to quickly improve your surfing.
2. Leg Strength. As a surfer your power comes through the wave and into your board and legs. Developing leg strength sets you up for balance, power surfing and landing new school tricks in steep sections of waves. Running is not the way to develop strength, it may help with cardiovascular training but is not strength orientated. Some of the best surfing exercises you can perform are jumping exercises specific to surfing. This builds both fast twitch muscle fibers and eccentric strength that is required in the water. Imagine jumping to touch the rim of a basketball hoop. Start in a squat position, power up with your arms and jump as high as you can then land as soft as you can. The number of repetitions depends on your over all surfing training objective, most surfers only need to do a few reps at a time as apart of their surfing exercise.
3. Lung Capacity. Every surfer wants better lung capacity and a great way to do this is swimming. Not only will you use similar muscles as when you surf, you also build the capacity of your lungs by learning not to breathe with every stroke. If you swim in the pool or the ocean be sure to determine what you are doing before you start to swim. Are you focusing on long endurance surfing exercise or are you doing shorter burst anaerobic training? Most surfers will benefit greatly from short distance swimming followed by small rest periods. This trains both the anaerobic and aerobic system required by surfers and simulates being caught on the inside or paddling back out after catching a wave.
4. Shoulder and Back Strength. Surfers naturally have V shaped bodies due to all the paddling and swimming in the ocean. The lower back however often gets neglected and is prone to injury due to the impact element of surfing. Shoulders also are prone to injury due to over use and the constant rotational forces put into the shoulder joint. To balance this ensure your surfing exercises include lower back stability and strengthening work and be sure your shoulders have good mobility and range of motion to prevent wear and tear. Yoga and surf training stability exercises can help a lot with these common surfing problems.
5. Rest. As surfers we are often inspired and motivated to 'charge' every day in every way. If you have been surfing and training while working or studying it is easy to get run down and suffer low energy levels. Only by refueling with rest can your body continue to get stronger and recover faster. Rest may include chilling out, reading or relaxing by the pool, however true rest and recovery only comes through good quality sleep. Do what ever it takes to sleep in a well-ventilated dark room and sleep early, for as they say, the early bird catches the worm. In this case, more waves.
So there you have it, five basics to add into your surfing exercise program to boost your surf training just like a professional surfer. Surf training is a huge part of improving as a surfer and catching more waves. I hope you get started today.
Hayden Rhodes has coached professional and amateur athletes improve their performance through scientific training, hormonal testing, nutritional coaching and holistic performance principles.