Top 20 Surfing Exercises for Paddling & Stability
Nothing prepares you for surfing fitness better than surfing itself. There are, however, a few things you can do to keep the right muscles in working order and help you surf longer with more power. The following exercise will work out a full range of surf movements as well as isolated surf muscles to help increase strength and power specifically in paddling and stability.
(1)Bosu ball surf crouches
Exercise– Stand on the floor or a bosu ball starts to twist your hips and crouch down towards the floor using your hands for balance. Until your knee touches our chest then start to reverse the movement back to the original starting position.
Surf specific – This exercise uses the same movement as a pop up as well as a crouching position that is used to maintain stability and balance whilst moving on the bosu ball very similar to turning and popping up action on a surfboard.
(2)Bosu ball, medicine ball wood chops
Exercise– Start standing on the floor or a bosu ball on 1 foot, hold the medicine ball in both hands and move it from your left side of your body’s waist to above your head on your right side whilst maintain your balance on 1 foot. Return to the starting position. Repeat on both sides.
Surf specific – This action is using a lot of foot stabiles to help to maintain your balance, the same muscles used whilst riding a surfboard and moving the board from side to side engages in the core similar to turning on a wave whilst maintaining your balance. Great exercise to improve your stability and balance.
(3)Bosu Ball Dumbbell Press
Exercise – Start the exercise standing on a bosu ball with Dumbbells and your wrist and palms facing towards your chest. Slowly rotate your wrists and bring your arms up to your shoulders at right angles then extend and straighten them above your head. Reverse the action until you are back at the starting position.
Surf specific – This exercise is using your core and legs whilst maintaining stability which is the very essence of a surf movement it’s also working your should muscles and extension of your arms to help with more powerful paddling.
Make it harder – Take 1 leg off of the bosu ball and stand balancing on 1 leg and complete the same action as before.
(4)Bosu ball Kettlebell clean and press
Exercise– Start standing on the bosu ball with your 2 feet shoulder-width apart. Hold a kettlebell in 1 hand between your legs. Start the motion of bringing the kettlebell up to your chest twisting your arm to move the kettlebell on to your shoulder then extend the arm above your head and return to original position. Repeat on both arms.
Surf specific – This movement is a full body exercise moving from a low balanced position to a fully extended balanced position, great practice for turning, working your core stability arms & shoulders.
(5)One Arm Lateral Pull Downs
Exercise– Star in a balanced position feet shoulder-width apart, your arm by your side and opposite arm at head height on the cable machine.
Surf specific – This action is contracting your core in an isometric contraction maintaining its position whilst the arm is mimicking the action of paddling. This is a great exercise to improve core strength and paddle strength.
(6) Triceps pulls
Exercise – facing away from the cable machine with feet shoulder width apart and slightly bent legs hold the cables/ or resistance bands in an un flexed position. To start pull your hands forward until they extend in front of your head and are straight try to maintain your original body position to help isolate the triceps. Slowly return to the start position and repeat.
Surf specific – Triceps do a lot of the work in paddling so this exercise utilize the triceps to the fullest extent to make sure you are engaging the full muscle.
(7)Bosu ball kettle bell swing
Exercise– Start off standing on a bosu ball legs shoulder width apart in a slightly crouched position with your back straight and a kettle bell between your legs start the exercise by swinging the kettlebell forwards up to head height whilst maintain straight arms, back and your balance. Return to starting position for the next repetition.
Surf specific – This exercise is full body major muscle groups exercise using stability and strength specifically in the in the shoulders and core to help create momentum to move the kettlebell similar to creating momentum for a powerful turn in surfing .
(8)TRX Suspended Push ups
Exercise – Start with arms straight and body in a straight rigid position holding on the handles. Slowly lower your body down until your head reaches your hands whilst maintaining your straight body position. Push back up from this in to your original starting position.
Surf specific – This exercise is great for isolating and prolonged contractions in the core whilst the unstable TRX helps to use all your stabilizing muscles in your shoulders and pectorals all the muscles needed to pop up on an unstable wave great exercise for improving stability in your pop up.
(9) TRX Role Out
Exercise– Start with your body and back straight in an upright position and your hand by your waist holding on the TRX handles. Slowly lean forward engaging tension in the TRX slowly raise your hand above your head and lower your body maintain its rigidity throughout the movement.
Surf specific – This exercise is great for working your core and your back maintain your contractions thought out the entire exercise is crucial when making a turn in surfing. Your arms and shoulders are also under great stress due to the unstable nature of the movement needing great control and stabilization in the arm and shoulder muscles used when paddling.
(10) TRX Squat Row
Exercise – Start by holding into the TRX handles with your legs evenly spaced looking up, pull your body up towards your hands with your head still looking up towards the ceiling until your hands are in line with your chest, then lower yourself back to the original start position.
Surf specific – This is a great counter-exercise to do something different to help improve arm and pictorial strength as well as explosiveness, whilst also engaging in your core stability.
(11) TRX one arm rotation rows
Exercise– Start with knees bent, arm straight, holding on to the TRX looking up with a straight body. Move your hand closest to the floor up to the sky whilst maintaining even balance and a contracted Core throughout the movement. Once at the top return to starting position and repeat.
Surf specific – This exercise simulates the twisting movement of turning but also all the core muscles used to perform a lay back as well as building rotational strength.
(12)Bosu Ball Bent Arm Row
Exercise– Start in a slightly crouched position on a bosu ball and barbell in both hands extended. With a straight back, not hunched pull the barbell close towards your abdominals whilst maintaining your position. Lowers the barbell to the original position then repeat.
Surf specific – This exercise is really focusing on your back and shoulder muscles a great compound movement to engage a lot of your paddling muscles whilst the core and legs maintain balance.
(13)Bosu ball pushups
Exercise– Lay with your arms bent at 45-degree angles on the bosu ball back and legs straight, shoulder-width apart head looking forward. Slowly push against the ball until your arms are straight then reverse the process until in the starting position. Try to make each pop up last 4-6 seconds.
Surf specific – This exercise is probably as close as you will get to making popping up on land as realistic as in the water the constantly moving bosu ball provides a great replacement for a board that is constantly unstable and learning how to push up on an unstable board will defiantly help the initial stages of your pop up.
(14)Bosu ball dumbbell reverse fly (3 variations)
Exercise– in all 3 variation lye on a Swiss ball with your head up and body straight feet shoulder-width apart throughout all 3 variations maintain your body as still as possible to help isolate the moving muscles.
(#1) with the dumbbells on the floor with your arms straight initiate the exercise by moving both arms together until above your head.
(#2) Start with the dumbbells on the floor with your arms straight initiate the exercise by moving both arms together directly adjacent from your body until they become parallel with your shoulders. Try to maintain your arms and straight as possible.
(#3) Start with the dumbbells on the floor with your arms straight initiate the exercise by moving both arms together. Lift your arms behind your body as close to your waist as possible until they become in line with your body then return back to the original starting position.
Surf specific – This is a great exercise to working your core stability and lower back muscles in almost the exact way needed to maintain balance on a board when paddling. Whilst all 3 variations work in slightly different muscle contractions they all are used to help mimic paddling.
(15) Paddle pulls rows
Exercise– both these variations you need to be lying on a box or raised the platform in a prone position head up and chest off the boxes.
(#1) Start with both hands on the resistance band at the same length in front of your body pull back with both arms maintain slightly bent until they reach your waist. Reverse the exercise to the starting point each pull should take between 2-3 seconds.
(#2) Start with both hands on the resistance band at the same length in front of your body pull back with your right hand until it reaches your waist then return it to the starting position. Whilst your right hand is returning to the start position your left hand will engage in the opposite movement of pulling similar to swimming.
Surf specific – This exercise is great for improving paddling strength and control whilst also keeping your body in a stable position are all transferable movements and muscles used in paddling on a surfboard.
(16) Bosu ball weighted lunge
Exercise– Stand with legs evenly spaced in a straight position whilst holding the dumbbells just above your shoulders at right angles with a bosu ball places 1 meter in front of you. Take 1 step forward and place you leading leg in the centre of the bosu ball until your leg creates a right angle creating a lunge. Push back into your original position and repeat with the opposite leg.
Surf specific – This exercise is great for first-time foot placement as well as lateral stability just like surfing getting your foot in a stable position and keeping it there is important as setting up your control for the rest of the ride.
(17) Weighted Paddle
Exercise – Lay in a prone position on a box or platform off the floor with your head and leg raised and the unused arm by your side. Start with a small weight in your hand and tuck it close to your chest. Start the exercise off by moving the weighted arm behind you at first but then in a circle of rotation finished with the weight back at the starting point. Repeat this for both arms.
Surf specific – Similar to the paddling position, these slow weight contractions in the paddling movement improve all the major muscle groups used whilst paddling in the water, the advantage of this exercise is there it will help to give more precision to your paddle.
(18) Bosu Ball/ Medicine Ball Twist Lunges
Exercise– Stand with legs evenly spaced in a straight position whilst the medicine ball in front of your chest with a bosu ball places 1 meter in front of you. Take 1 step forward and place you leading leg in the centre of the bosu ball until your leg creates a right angle creating a lunge. In this moment your body should be twisted with the medicine ball on the outside of the leading leg Push back into your original position and repeat with the opposite leg.
Surf specific – This exercise is great for first-time foot placement as well as lateral stability just like surfing getting your foot in a stable position and keeping it there is important as setting up your control for the rest of the ride. This exercise all incorporated great core power and stability to move the medicine ball from side to side in a similar way that you initiate your turns in surfing.
(19)One arm dumbbell paddle
Exercise– starts in a lying down position with your legs and head in a prone position and a dumbbell in one hand by your chest. Maintain your prone position whilst extending your dumbbell arm forward and retracting your opposite arm in a paddling action. Repeat on the opposite arm.
Surf specific – This exercise is great for maintaining core stability needed when paddling whilst also improving the control and endurance in your arms need for powerful paddling.
(20) Medicine Ball Alternative Twist Lunges
Exercise– start with the medicine ball on your right side move the ball round to the other side whilst switching your leading foot until the ball reaches the left side repeat this until the ball has reached the original starting position.
Surf specific – This movement is using a lot of muscles used in powerful turning and other manoeuvres on a board whilst maintaining your balance in a lateral position engaging in your core quadriceps hip flexors and arms.
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