Fitness and surfing
No matter what your skill level, a strong and supple body can make catching and riding waves a far more enjoyable experience.
- Strong chest upper back, shoulder and arm muscles for paddling, and pushing yourself up on to your feet
- Powerful leg muscles are also important, helping you to squat and perform manoeuvres on the waves
- A stable abdominal core, which improves balance and supports the spine, protecting your back from injury and pain (a common problem among surfers)
A suitable training program that best prepares your body for the rigours of surfing should target all these muscle groups and movement patterns.
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5 ways to get surf fit
1. Twisting burpees
Burpees mimic the explosive action of jumping up on your board after catching a wave, combining a push up and jump, while the added twist challenges your core and balance.
1. In a squatted position, place your hands on the ground in front of you.
2. Lean forwards onto your hands, then jump both feet backwards together into a push up position.
3. Perform a push-up
4. Jump your feet forwards so they are near your hands again.
5. Explosively leap in the and raise your arms above your head while twisting and completing a 180-degree turn. When you land (facing the other way), you are ready for the next repetition.
2. Waking lunges
Lunges strengthen your buttocks, hamstrings, thighs and hip flexors, while the walking component helps to improve balance and agility.
1. Starting with your feet together, take a large step forward with your right leg.
2. As your right foot lands, lower your left knee towards the ground and perform a lunge. Focus on lowering yourself down, and not forwards (your right knee should not go over your toes).
3. Push up and forward with your legs, taking your left foot off the ground. Place it all the way in front so you take a large step forward.
Drop once again into a lunge for your next repetition
3. Straight arm pullovers
This exercise mimics the action of paddling, simultaneously strengthening and maintaining flexibility in the arms, upper back, chest and rear shoulder.
1. Lie on a bench or inflatable fitness ball holding a kettlebell, dumbbell or weight plate above your head. Start out with a light to moderate to weight.
2. Keeping your arms straight, slowly take the weight back in an arc away from your body until you feel a stretch in your shoulders.
3. Keeping your elbows straight, pull the weight back over your head to the starting position for one repetition.
4. Single foot planks
The plank engages all the muscles of the core that support your spine, while the single leg aspect increases the difficulty and introduces instability to improve balance.
1. Lie face down resting on your forearms with feet shoulder width apart
2. Raise your body off the ground, keeping the torso straight and rigid.
3. Lift one leg up to the height of your shoulders (avoid resting it on your other foot)
4. Engage your core throughout and hold for as you can, making sure to do a set on each foot.
5. Flying supermans
This exercises targets the group of muscles which run down the length of your back, and replicates the position you hold on a surfboard while paddling.
1. Lie face down on a towel or exercise mat with arms outstretching in front of you
2. Focus on using the muscles in your back as you slowly lift both arms and legs around 10 - 20 centimetres off the floor.
3. Keep your legs and arms straight, and hold for 2-4 seconds
4. Lower your arms and legs back down to the ground with control for one repetition.