BY ASHLEA HARTZ, INTERVIEWING: JOSH STRONG, CERTIFIED PERSONAL TRAINER, SANTA CRUZ CORE FITNESS + REHAB
Strolling down East Cliff Drive, I find myself watching the crowds of surfers grow almost daily and over populate the Point in order or to enjoy the next big swell. As I look on it’s hard not to be mesmerized by the sheer speed and grace of those who can cut through the waves while dodging kelp, sea otters and dozens of other boards.
Joshua Strong, Personal Trainer & Surfer.
As an East Coast native I know basically nothing about the sport of surfing. But as a lifelong athlete it’s easy to see how much balance it takes to push the limits of your board. Balance is the perfect combination of focus and strength as you try to find a steadiness but with ease. Today we will look at the areas in the body that need to be strong in order to find balance on your board. I sat down with CORE Trainer and local surfer Joshua Strong to get the scoop on what it takes to really ride the waves in Santa Cruz.
The majority of your time in the water surfing is actually spent paddling. This shapes many surfers bodies leading to strong back extensors and lats. All that time lying on the belly can also mean weaker legs and abdominals. “To improve longevity, surfers should loosen up their over-activated muscles and strengthen their under-activated muscles” says Strong.
FEET AND ANKLES
In order to find balance you must start with your foundation. For better performance, surfers need to strengthen from the feet up. When you stand on one leg, the main reason you might start to wobble or even fall over is because the stabilizing muscles in your feet and ankle are weak. When it comes to strength training, we often neglect these important points of foundation.
SINGLE LEG BALANCE
One super simple exercise surfers can easily to do daily is balancing on one foot for a minute or longer if possible. You will notice the shaking in your foot and ankle, those are your stabilizing muscles working hard,, the stronger they get the longer you can stand. Want more of a challenge? Practice this same exercise on a bosu ball, working to balance your weight on an unstable surface will mimic the feel of being out on the water.
QUADS AND GLUTES
Surfers need strong leg muscles that can provide stability for powerful maneuvers. The largest muscles in our legs need to be equipped with the ability to explode. Some exercises you can add to your workout routine to build up these muscles include:
Cross training with bicycling and/or running
When surfing you need to perform rotational movements with the torso to execute turns. This repetitive movement can lead to lower back pain over time if core muscles are weak. It is necessary to have strong abdominal and back muscles to protect the spine and prolong your surf life.
TO BUILD YOUR ABDOMINALS TRY:
Side Plank with and without rotation
L-Hangs/knee tucks on the Pull Up Bar
TO STRENGTHEN THE BACK TRY:
Lower trap cable pull or dumbbell raise
Wall or floor angels
These simple surf exercise are easy to incorporate into your weekly routine, as you continue to build strength the balance will soon follow. Be sure to finish up your routine with some stretching and you can check out our past blog to learn 5 Yoga Moves for Surfers to get you started.
Josh Strong is a trainer at Santa Cruz CORE and an avid surfer. His abilities as a waterman have been enhanced by his knowledge and application of kinesiology.