6 Very Simple Exercises To Keep Surf Fit

Not all of us get the chance to jump in the water on the regular. This article gives you 6 quick, simple exercises to keep some of the most used muscles in surfing, challenged.

All you will need is an open space, and 2 weighted dumbbells. If you don't have dumbbells simply use two weighted objects of around 3 kg's each.

1. Arm Raises

How this helps surfing...

Lifting and maintaining these positions with weight helps to develop muscular endurance in the shoulders and arms (trapezius and deltoids) which are two muscles involved in creating powerful and long lasting paddling.


- Start with the weights by your side

- Slowly lift your arms out to the side at a 90 degree angle and hold for 5 seconds

- Then slowly move the weights in front of you, hold for 5.

- Slowly release back down.

2. Rotation lunge

How this helps surfing...

Lunging helps to open up and create space and mobility through the hips. It is crucial for a fluid pop up that we have as much hip mobility as possible, as well as many other manoeuvres in surfing. Rotating helps to work on the spine and by looking up to the sky, you are stretching out the muscles around your neck, which are often very tense after a long session.


- Start in a standing position

- Lunge with your right leg forward, bringing your chest just over your knee.

- Bring your arms down next to your front foot, and extend the right arm high to the sky

- Slowly follow with your gaze, and hold for 5 seconds.

- Slowly come out of the position, the same way you came into it, and then repeat on the other side.

(Note : This can be intense at times, but if you are in pain, do not push the movement)

3. Walk outs

How this helps surfing...

Walking your self out whilst engaging the core builds up muscular endurance in the shoulders, as well as activating your stabilisers of the core. Both the pop up and paddling can benefit from this exercise.


- Start in a standing position

- With slightly bent legs, place your hands by your feet and slowly walk your hands out until you reach a plank position.

- Once in plank, hold for 5 seconds, then walk your feet back up to meet your hands.

- Stand up, and repeat.

4. Slow Lowering planks

How this helps surfing..

Slowly lowering down to the ground is an intense position that focusses on building up strength in the triceps and (a little) in the core. The triceps are responsible for pushing your body up into the pop up when surfing. Strong triceps mean more explosivity when going from lying to standing. The faster this happens, the more fluid the pop up.


-Start in a high plank position.

- Slowly lower yourself, counting down from 5 until you are just above the ground

- Counting 5, slowly lift yourself back to high plank position, then repeat.

5. Practicing the pop up

How this helps surfing...

Don't think I need to explain that one.

6. Sorry...but running

No, running will not MAKE you better at surfing but what running will do is increase your cardiovascular capacity drastically. This basically means that your body will be more efficient at using oxygen. In any physical activity, oxygen is used to carry nutrients to the muscles to tell them to get going. Although running is not directly linked to technique or "skill" in the water, it primes your system to be efficient during exercise. I'm sorry for the recommendation but there it is.

Of course...a great thing for your surf fitness...is to surf.

Doing specific exercises for surfing is great because it can really hone in and focus on building up muscles and mobility, especially if you have imbalances. Specific exercises are also great because not every body has everyday access to the ocean. There is nothing however, better for your surfing, than surfing.

If you want to include some of these exercises...

A sample workout could be...

Arm raises x 10

Lunge rotations x 8 each side

Walk outs x 10

Slow lowering planks x 10 (regression on knee's)

Pop up practice (ensure correct technique) x 10.

-Complete routine 2 or 3 times. Depending on current fitness level.

-Ensure you have proper form as bad form can lead to injury.

-The less breaks between exercises, the more challenging it will become.

-Feel free to adapt the repetitions depending on your level.

-Running can be added if you choose either before or after the workout.

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