Surfing, a very complete sport
To be a good surfer you need to exercise a lot out of the water. Because surfing is an exciting water activity, and to some extent it is an action and adventure sport. But, precisely because of this, it is a sport that requires its practitioners to possess a strong physical form. Where the ability to maintain balance, endurance and agile flexibility becomes essential – after all, we are measuring ourselves against the full power of the sea!
That’s why every surf lover knows that to develop his or her passion efficiently, discipline, tenacity and long hours of training on solid ground are unavoidable, and not only physical, but also mental.
To achieve optimum physical performance it is necessary to go to a surf school where professional instructors provide a comprehensive or psychophysical training program for their students.
Recommended exercises to improve surfing
In general, physical trainers specialised in surfing always recommend following a very complete training table. This would be composed of different types of exercises with which to keep in full physical and mental shape all year round. This program includes:
- Gym sessions: where myofascial release, strength, endurance, flexibility and injury prevention exercises are practiced.
- Swimming practice: where resistance, speed and paddling are practiced.
- Training on the beach: where resistance practices and other specific surfing exercises are carried out, such as running barefoot on the sand to strengthen the foot muscles.
- Mental relaxation exercises: where you not only work on your postural ability, and with it your balance, and flexibility; but also reinforce your concentration and the use of proper breathing.
From the combination of all of these exercises arises the strong control of core muscles, the resistance, the balance, the coordination, the flexibility and the mental strength, among other things.
Exercises to keep fit
The first quality a surfer has to show is vitality. That is to say, to possess a great flow of physical energy, to be able to coordinate his whole body on a surfboard amidst the onslaughts of the waves.
In order to do so, it is convenient to have good muscular and cardiovascular conditions and to work a lot with the body center -where balance is established. Therefore, it is a matter of exercising the cervical, thoracic, abdominal, lumbar and hip muscles. The combination of these muscles, which surround the body’s center of gravity, is what gives us stability and allows us to stand upright at all times.
Exercises to improve surfing: Aerobic and anaerobic
Without a doubt, the previous training should focus its objectives on teaching the surfer to develop his aerobic and anaerobic capacities. Thus, on the one hand, it is essential to develop the body’s ability to make low-intensity efforts for a long time, as it happens with rowing; resorting to aerobic activity for this purpose. On the other hand, to elaborate specific manoeuvres that require a powerful muscular activity, which implies an appropriate anaerobic preparation.
Both capacities are closely related to the body’s metabolism from which our physical energy is released.
Among the types of exercises to improve surfing that can be practiced daily as a reinforcement of our aerobic system are cycling, swimming and running. While bodybuilding exercises, mainly in the abdomen and legs are perfect to strengthen the anaerobic skills.
High intensity exercises
Also, typical high-intensity exercises such as sit-ups and crunches should not be missing from any surfers’ training program. They will help build muscle, endurance, and cardiopulmonary activity. Thus, both at home and in the gym you can perform a series of exercises based on the so-called Core Training. For example: trunk rotation with extended arms, jumping squats, bupees squats, lower back exercises and trunk lift; oblique
If we add to this exercise chart exercises of flexibility, coordination and reflex agility, then we are close to achieving a body performance that is ideal for surfing.
Every surf lover knows that to develop his or her passion efficiently, discipline, tenacity and long hours of training on solid ground are unavoidable
The importance of mental training
Beyond intense physical exercise, a water sport as high impact as surfing also requires
working on mental strength. In this sense, it is advisable to practice activities that fuse body
and mind such as relaxation, yoga, Pilates, tai-chi and, of course, breathing exercises.
What are the benefits of practicing these relaxing exercises? Many!
First because these exercises train in maintaining calm and concentration, so necessary for
dealing with challenging situations. Something that those who surf the waves often
But, also, yoga or tai-chi sessions teach how to keep firm in a priori uncomfortable postures;
which undoubtedly allows to work on balance, coordination, elasticity and body
propiaception. This makes them an ideal training to work and improve our surfing; especially
in those seasons when the weather does not allow us to practice it in the sea
Exercises to improve surfing: Meditation
It teaches us to educate the mind so that it will not distract us or be our worst enemy at key
moments. Thus, mastering our thoughts implies practicing full attention; making us aware of
our activity, of our present moment. That is why, thanks to meditation, we can reach that
fundamental point of concentration that we must possess while surfing.
And finally, meditation is the key to cultivating contemplation of what is outside of us. This
allows us to focus on the symbiosis that is created between ourselves and the marine
nature; that transcendental moment where we feel one with the sea and that elevates our
sensory, emotional and spiritual world.
This sublime experience turns the practice of a sport like surfing into a lifestyle and a
philosophy of life.
As surfers, it helps us improve our technique and style of surfing. This is because it allows
us to work on the axis of the core, i.e. our body stability, and flexibility. At the same time, it
strengthens our ability to concentrate, control our breathing and enhance our sensory
capabilities. This allows our experience at sea to be lived with even greater intensity and
emotion, as we become more aware of the here and now.
Similarly, the practice of yoga is of great value in relieving muscle contractions, easing
tension and lessening the possibility of injury when surfing.
This water discipline can be super-attractive for surfers. It is a mixture of fitness, yoga and
pilates performed in the water on an inflatable aqua-base mat. It shares many points in
common with SUP yoga. Through the practice of aquaphysical work on core, muscle
flexibility, balance in the water environment and mental relaxation.
Exercises to improve surfing: breathing
We human beings are not really aware of the great potential that lies in our breathing.
Knowing how to breath properly – breathing with the diaphragm, for example – means
mastering it so that it becomes an ally. Since it calms us in moments of anxiety or revitalises
us in moments of slumber.
In this sense, breathing is a fundamental factor in moving in an environment as
overwhelming as the center of a wave. It can be said that knowing how to control our
breathing makes us more powerful.
In oriental relaxation disciplines such as meditation, yoga, tai-chi, etc., breathing is worked
on a lot. That in addition usually goes in unison with the postural exercises that are carried
As you can see, you don’t become a good surfer only in the water environment. You need to
train your body a lot on land, or out of the water. The combination of the two becomes basic
to keep the surfer in shape all year long.
Thus, among the exercises to improve surfing, there are those of greater intensity and
impact such as aerobic exercises and the development of muscles and resistance; with
others of a more relaxed or low impact nature, such as flexibility and relaxation exercises.
Because every movement you make at sea is a great challenge, both physically and
In short, surfing generates many benefits for the health of those who practice it, insofar as it
activates all the muscles in the body; at the same time it forces them to maintain their
concentration and become more selfaware. That is why surfing is considered one of the
most complete sports in existence.