Remember when you were twelve years old and you could jump in the water without stretching, surf five hours without tiring, and wake up the next morning without feeling sore? For many surfers, those days are long gone, and unless you’re fortunate enough to live somewhere with consistent year-round surf, staying in good surfing shape can be a struggle. Surf shape means three things: strength, endurance, and flexibility. Incorporating the following simple workout strategies will help average surfers stay in the water for years past their prime.
Exercise balls (or balance balls) are an essential tool in every surfer’s home gym. You don’t have to perform Laird Hamilton balance ball squats to make use of these simple fitness machines. Exercise balls facilitate a variety of core, chest, and leg workouts that are perfectly suited for surfing. Additionally, all exercises performed on the ball require muscles to stabilize as the contract, which both improves strength training efficiency, and improves overall balance. In terms of simple strength and balance training, the inflatable exercise ball is king.
Swimming is the ultimate surf cross training for strength and endurance. Swimming works the same muscles as paddling, so swimming certainly keeps your shoulders in surf shape. Swimming also increases lung capacity and comfort in the water. If possible, incorporate open water swims and light freediving into your normal workout.
Yoga has transcended trendiness and is now an accepted staple of fitness. For surfers, yoga is a phenomenal cross training tool for several reasons. First, yoga promotes core strength and muscle endurance. Second, yoga poses simultaneously improve flexibility and balance. Finally, yoga emphasizes focusing on breathing and remaining calm, which are both essential tools in preparing for more serious surf. Yoga may be the most complete surf cross training tool available, and a fitness routine consisting solely of swimming and yoga would be more than enough to prepare for the majority of surfing conditions.