This guide is for beginner surfers, weekend warriors and those who rarely participate. When learning to surf, you may not even be able to take off your clothes the first few times you get out of the water after surfing, because your arms are jelly in all paddles. Exhausted, we have all been there!
If you plan to spend a surfing holiday or surfing camp this summer, this article will provide you with the tools to prepare your body. We will discuss the different movements of surfing and the main muscles used in them, and explain how to train and stretch them for better surfing performance.
Enjoy guys! We hope to surf with everyone again soon,
The Basics: Paddle, Pop-Up, Body Position
There are three main stages in the process of driving the waves. The first is the paddle, which is an explosive movement of the arm. Next is the pop-up style, using the upper body to lift ourselves up enough to get our legs into our standing position. Finally, once we are on the wave, we use our legs, core and upper body to stabilize the wave surface and create momentum (pumping) and perform actions on the wave surface.
Which Muscles Do We Use When Surfing?
It is safe to say that you use most of the muscles in your body when surfing, some are more than others, and some are used in different ways. The main muscle group we use when paddling is the upper back muscle group. This provides us with the force needed to accelerate to a speed similar to the wave itself. Before ejecting, it usually only strokes a few strokes on each arm. In other words, this is an act of strength and strength, and we can train it to its full potential. Our shoulders are also used for rotational movement of movements, but usually only start to burn after a long row of paddles, so endurance is the main factor of this group of muscles. The triceps are well exercised with duck diving and pop-ups, as are the chest muscles. Again, popping is an explosive action, so we can train our muscles to perform this operation more effectively. Finally, when we stand up and ride on the wave surface, we use the core (on all planes) and legs to stabilize and move.
Which are the Best Exercises for Surfing?
Pull-ups: A powerful force action that allows your paddle to gain more power. Fully extend your arms at the bottom to stretch your muscles and squeeze your back at the top of the exercise. Perform 3 sets of 5-15 reps explosively.
Climbing before swimming: Closest to paddling, very suitable for exercising the required muscles.
Rowing machine: Use most of the same muscles as rowing, except for the biceps. Focus on pulling with your back instead of your arms.
Push-ups: A good push-up and pop-up push-ups to exercise your upper body strength. These should be done explosively to reproduce the sports and powers we use in surfing. Do 2-5 sets of about 10-20 reps to increase strength and endurance.
Clap-Up: More explosive than ordinary push-ups. Use the explosive power of your chest and triceps to push your hands away from the floor. Once your hands are off the floor, clap your hands once or twice, then return to the floor in a push-up position (bend your arms to withstand the impact). Try to do as much as possible before you can no longer do it.
Burpee: Similar to clapping hands in terms of explosive power. This move is very similar to the actual pop-up window itself. In the push-up position, jump your feet forward, place them between your hands, and then stretch your legs to stand upright. From this position, the reverse action returns to the starting position. Doing so allows you to jump into your surfing pose, train your popping technique and the muscles used to execute it. Perform 3 sets of 15 poppy jumps.
Squat: Self-weight squat is very suitable for leg strength and stability. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, bend your knees and hips, and lower yourself to a sitting position with your knees at right angles. Push the heel up and repeat 3 sets of 20 times each.
Squat jump: Add jumps to the squat to train your explosive system. Just jump as high as possible from the squat position, then bend your knees and touch your feet again.
Pistol Squat: Squat with one leg, your free legs and arms are stretched in front of you. Place your feet flat on the floor, with your weight passing through the heels. Keep the core tightened to maintain stability.
Lunge: Take a big step in front of you and bend your knees so that your back knees just leave the floor. Bring the front legs back to the starting position, repeat 3 sets of 20 times with both legs.
Ankle touching the ground: Lie face up on the floor, knees bent, feet flat on the ground. Lift your shoulders off the ground and touch your ankles down, then repeat on the other side. Very suitable for oblique muscles responsible for lateral stability.
Knee to elbow: In the push-up position, place one knee on the opposite elbow, and then repeat 3 sets of 20 reps on the other side.
Plank support: Whether in the push-up position or on the weight of the elbows and forearms, tighten the core, keep the back flat, the head up, and the body straight. Maintain this position for as long as possible. A good goal is 3 minutes.
Balance ball: If you have a yoga ball, you can sit on it to practice balance, lift your legs off the ground, and lean back slightly to touch your core. Or, you can try kneeling on it. When you get the hang of it, try adding some shoulder twists to involve more lateral stabilizers.
Indian board: Indian board is the perfect way to train balance. If you are not familiar with them, you must take a look at them. We have them in our surf camps in France and Spain, for our guests to practice surfing holidays!
Circuits to do at Home
With the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak keeping most of us from surfing at the moment, we have put together two all-over circuits which you can easily do from home to prepare your muscles properly for your next surfing holidays or surf camp stay: Go from one exercise straight to the next until they have all been done once. Take a rest for around 30-60 seconds. Complete either one of these routines or both of them back to back. Then build your own routine!
Push-Up: 3x 20
Pull-Up (if possible): 3x as many as possible
Burpee: 4x 20
Squat Jump: 3x 20
Lunge: 4x 20 (each leg)
Plank: 3x 2 mins
Shoulder Walkout: 3x 10
Knee to Elbow: 4x 20
Pull-Up (if possible): 3x as many as possible
Squat Jump: 4x 20
Plank: 3x 2 mins
Clap-Up: 4x as many as possible
Which are the best Stretches for Surfing?
Shoulders: Stand up straight and hold a towel or rope in a vertical line behind your back, with one hand behind your neck and one hand slightly lower, behind your middle back. Slowly creep your hands closer together to stretch the shoulders and triceps. Make sure you repeat in the other direction.
Back: Stand up straight with your hands reaching as high as you can above your head. Allow the shoulders to relax for maximum reach, then bring your palms together and bend at the hips to one side. You should feel a nice big stretch down the side of your back and shoulders. Repeat on the other side.
Chest: Place your hand on a door frame, tree or solid object and turn so that your arm is straight and raised to the side. Take a step forward to stretch the chest and hold it until the tight feeling subsides and then stretch a little further. Repeat on the other side, or this can be done with both arms at the same time.