Exercise for Surfing Fitness
It’s simply a fact that our level of physical fitness affects our wave count as surfers. A surfer who has gotten out of shape is a surfer who catches fewer waves than he or she used to. Exercise is important for all surfers but especially as we age. Remember that it’s important to assess your level of fitness before starting a new exercise routine and start out slowly.
A surfers fitness routine should be tailored to promote surfing. In other words, you shouldn’t be bodybuilding if your focus is to stay in shape to catch more waves. The heavy lifting required for such an endeavor does not exactly dovetail with the ideal surfing exercise routines. You will end up being too stiff. Surfers should strive for a mix of strength training, cardio, plyometrics, and stretching.
A good way to strength train for surfing is doing 6 exercises of 2 sets of 15 repetitions with light weights. Cable trainers are excellent because you can do so many different exercises on one machine. This is especially true of crucial shoulder exercises. Cable trainers can work the shoulders from many angles through a wide range of motion. Other great exercises include standard dumbbell squats, lunges, chest flies, bicep curls, and tricep extensions. follow those with some back extensions and situps for core strength. It’s good do these with little rest in between so that it becomes a form of cycle training.
Plyometrics are great for creating explosive bursts of power that surfing needs. Leapfrogging across the floor, jumping squats, and mountain climbers are all good examples of plyometrics. You can also just practice surfing pop-ups over and over.
Cardio is necessary to develop the stamina needed for those days when long stretches of paddling are necessary. Running outside is fine or use a treadmill when your at the gym or at home. It’s a good idea to set a slight incline on the treadmill to more closely simulate “street conditions”. A minimum of 1.5 miles is sufficient for most of us, and that can also be mixed with the arm-bike machine for an upper body cardio workout.
Stretching afterwards is very important. Stretching in general becomes even more important as we age in order to avoid injuries while surfing. It’s good to develop a stretching routine that goes on for a minimum of 15 minutes following your workout to maintain flexiblity.
Of course we would all rather be surfing than working out at the gym so exercise really depends on our surfing schedules. When the surf is good you want to be catching waves, not sweating on a treadmill. The bottom line is to strive for a minimum of 3x/week of exercise and surfing, better yet 4x/week.
Monitor your body and your routine. You should notice improvement in your surfing almost immediately. If something is hurting maybe you need to change your routine. If you feel out of shape maybe you need more exercise. Everybody is a little different so you need to come up with something that works best for you. Personal trainers can help motivate you and help you develop something that fits your lifestyle and schedule. Given enough time you should notice a dramatic improvement in your surfing.