Surfing Fitness: Exercises to Get You in Shape for the Waves

Surfing Fitness: Exercises to Get You in Shape for the Waves

Are you ready to hit the waves but worried about your fitness level? Look no further! In this article, we will provide you with a comprehensive guide to surfing exercises that will help you get in shape for the waves. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced surfer, these exercises will improve your strength, balance, and flexibility, enabling you to ride those waves with confidence. So, grab your board and let’s dive into the world of surfing fitness!

Benefits of Surfing Fitness

Improving balance and stability

One of the primary benefits of engaging in surfing fitness exercises is the improvement in balance and stability. Surfing requires the rider to maintain a stable position on the board while navigating through the waves. By incorporating balance and stability exercises into your fitness routine, such as yoga poses or balance board exercises, you can enhance your ability to stay upright on the board and ride the waves with ease. Improved balance and stability not only help in surfing but can also have a positive impact on your overall coordination and daily activities.

Building upper body strength

Surfing places significant demands on the upper body, particularly the arms, shoulders, and core muscles. Paddling through the waves, popping up on the board, and carving through the water all require a strong upper body. By including exercises that target these muscle groups in your surfing fitness regimen, such as push-ups, pull-ups, and shoulder presses, you can build the necessary strength to tackle the waves effectively. Strengthening your upper body not only enhances your surfing performance but also contributes to better posture and overall physical fitness.

Increasing cardiovascular endurance

Surfing is an intense physical activity that requires a good amount of cardiovascular endurance. Paddling out to the waves, catching waves, and paddling back to the lineup all require sustained effort and energy. Engaging in exercises that elevate your heart rate and improve your cardiovascular endurance, such as running, swimming, or cycling, can greatly benefit your surfing fitness. By improving your cardiovascular fitness, you can paddle longer, catch more waves, and stay out in the water for extended sessions without feeling fatigued.

In conclusion, surfing fitness offers numerous benefits that can enhance your surfing performance and overall physical well-being. By focusing on improving balance and stability, building upper body strength, and increasing cardiovascular endurance, you can prepare yourself for the waves and enjoy the exhilaration of surfing to the fullest.

Exercises for Surfing Fitness

Core exercises

A strong core is essential for surfing as it helps improve stability and balance on the board. Here are some core exercises that will help you get in shape for the waves:

  1. Plank: Get into a push-up position, but instead of resting on your hands, lower down onto your forearms. Keep your body straight and hold this position for as long as you can. Start with 30 seconds and gradually increase the duration as you get stronger.

  2. Russian twists: Sit on the ground with your knees bent and feet flat. Lean back slightly and lift your feet off the ground, balancing on your tailbone. Hold your hands together in front of your chest and twist your torso from side to side, touching your hands to the ground on each side.

  3. Bicycle crunches: Lie on your back and bring your knees towards your chest. Place your hands behind your head and lift your shoulders off the ground. Straighten your right leg while bringing your left knee towards your chest, simultaneously twisting your torso to bring your right elbow towards your left knee. Repeat on the other side, alternating in a pedaling motion.

Upper body exercises

Strong upper body muscles are crucial for paddling and maneuvering the surfboard. Incorporate the following exercises into your routine to strengthen your upper body:

  1. Push-ups: Start in a plank position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Lower your body towards the ground by bending your elbows, keeping your body straight. Push back up to the starting position and repeat. Modify by performing push-ups on your knees if needed.

  2. Dumbbell rows: Hold a dumbbell in one hand and place the opposite knee and hand on a bench for support. Let the dumbbell hang straight down and pull it up towards your side, squeezing your shoulder blade. Lower the dumbbell back down and repeat on the other side.

  3. Shoulder press: Hold dumbbells at shoulder height with your palms facing forward. Press the dumbbells straight up overhead until your arms are fully extended. Slowly lower them back down to shoulder height and repeat.

Lower body exercises

Strong legs and lower body muscles contribute to stability and power while riding the waves. Add these exercises to your routine to improve your lower body strength:

  1. Squats: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees and lower your hips as if sitting back into a chair. Keep your chest up and your weight in your heels. Stand back up to the starting position and repeat.

  2. Lunges: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Take a big step forward with your right foot and lower your body until both knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. Push back up to the starting position and repeat with the left leg. Alternate legs with each repetition.

  3. Calf raises: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and raise your heels off the ground, lifting onto your tiptoes. Pause at the top and then lower your heels back down. Repeat for several repetitions.

Incorporate these exercises into your fitness routine to improve your surfing performance and enjoy the waves to the fullest! Remember to start at your own fitness level and gradually increase intensity and repetitions as you progress.

Stretching and Mobility

Importance of stretching for surfing

Stretching is an essential component of any surfing fitness routine. It helps improve flexibility, mobility, and range of motion, which are crucial for executing maneuvers on the waves. By incorporating regular stretching exercises into your pre-surf warm-up and post-surf cool-down, you can enhance your performance, prevent injuries, and promote faster recovery.

Dynamic stretches for warm-up

Before hitting the waves, it’s crucial to warm up your muscles and prepare them for the physical demands of surfing. Dynamic stretches are an excellent way to achieve this. Unlike static stretches, dynamic stretches involve continuous movement and help increase blood flow to the muscles while improving joint mobility.

Here are a few dynamic stretches that can be incorporated into your warm-up routine:

  1. Arm Circles: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Extend your arms straight out to the sides and make small circles in a forward motion. Gradually increase the circle size, focusing on loosening up your shoulder joints.

  2. Leg Swings: Find a sturdy support, such as a wall or railing, and stand beside it. Swing one leg forward and backward while keeping it straight. Repeat this motion for about 10 swings and then switch to the other leg. This exercise helps loosen up your hip joints and stretches your hamstrings.

  3. Torso Twists: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms extended straight out in front of you. Slowly rotate your upper body to the right and then to the left, feeling a gentle stretch in your core muscles and spine. Repeat this twisting motion for about 10 repetitions.

Static stretches for cool-down

After an intense surf session, it’s important to cool down your body gradually and stretch your muscles to prevent stiffness and promote recovery. Static stretches, which involve holding a position for a set duration, are ideal for this purpose.

Here are a few static stretches that you can include in your post-surf cool-down routine:

  1. Standing Forward Bend: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and slowly bend forward from your hips, reaching your fingertips towards the ground. Allow your head and neck to relax. Hold this position for 30 seconds while focusing on deep breathing. This stretch helps release tension in the lower back, hamstrings, and calves.

  2. Seated Spinal Twist: Sit on the ground with your legs extended in front of you. Bend your right knee and place your right foot on the outside of your left knee. Twist your torso to the right, using your left arm as a support to deepen the stretch. Hold this position for 30 seconds and then repeat on the other side. This stretch targets your spine, hips, and oblique muscles.

  3. Child’s Pose: Kneel on the ground and sit back on your heels. Slowly lower your torso forward until your forehead touches the ground. Extend your arms in front of you or alongside your body. Hold this relaxing stretch for 1 minute, allowing your back, shoulders, and hips to release tension.

Remember to listen to your body and avoid any stretches that cause pain or discomfort. Consistency is key when it comes to stretching for surfing fitness, so make it a regular part of your routine to reap the benefits and improve your performance on the waves.


In conclusion, surfing fitness is a crucial aspect for anyone looking to catch those perfect waves. The exercises mentioned in this article serve as a great starting point to improve strength, balance, flexibility, and endurance, all of which are essential for a successful surfing experience. By incorporating these exercises into a regular fitness routine, surfers can enhance their performance in the water while also reducing the risk of injuries. So, whether you are a seasoned surfer or a beginner, make sure to prioritize your fitness and stay in shape for the waves. Happy surfing!