TOP 20 Surf Fitness Exercises for Power Strength & Stability

Surfing as many people know isn’t just a sport it’s a full embodiment of health fitness and balance in your life, keeping fit specifically for surfing provides its own challenges, so we put together a little work out with what we think are the best exercises for improving strength, power and stability. Surfing requires its own special kind of strength training, looking at a surfer’s physique, it requires strong shoulders and arms for paddling out to the waves, and great core strength and balance for riding them back to shore.

The exercises that follow integrate stability, power, and core training to help improve your balance and activate muscles you’re not used to using (the kind you’d have to use on a board). As surfers use their whole body to function as one unit, you will see the majority of these exercises are for the upper and lower body meshed together in one combination move.

Perform the exercises as part of a routine of a circuit, completing one set of each, one after the other. Rest as little as possible between exercises, and 90 seconds to three minutes rest time between circuits.

(1)Overhead walking lunge

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Exercise Hold dumbbells overhead and brace your abs. Step forward into a lunge, bending your front knee until your thigh is parallel to the ground. Step forward and repeat with the other leg. Each step is one rep.

Surf specific – working you flexibility in your legs as well as your prime movers on a surfboard strong powerful quadriceps will help stabilize you self in bigger waves and give you more spring in top turns, whilst isolating the shoulders to hope strengthen them whilst engaging the core .

(2)Dumbbell push up

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Exercise – Hold a dumbbell in each hand and get into push up position on the ground. Perform a push up, then return to the original push-up position and repeat.

Make it Tougher – Bring the dumbbell up to your chest and maintain a rigid body position at the top of each press up using alternate arms. Increase dumbbell weight or slow the movement to 4 seconds pushing up 4 seconds going down.

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Surf Specific – Imitating a similar movement of the pop up as well as using the majority of the muscles in the arms and shoulders to help push your body up whilst keeping your body straight engages the core to improve stability.

(3)Swiss Ball Dumbbell Row

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Exercise – Hold a dumbbell in one hand and rest your free hand on a Swiss ball. Bend at the hips so your torso is parallel to the ground; keep your back flat. Row the dumbbell to your side. Complete your reps on one side, and then switch.

Surf Specific –balancing some of your weight on the Swiss ball whilst doing the exercise helps to engage your core by keeping you stable same muscles used to balance on a board. Also working the arms and shoulder for extra power when paddling.

(4)Swiss Ball Dumbbell Rotation

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Exercise – Hold a dumbbell in both hands and lie on your back on a Swiss ball. Rotate your torso as far as you can to one side and then the other. That’s one rep. Maintain straight arms and back throughout the exercise.

Surf Specific – The Swiss ball is used to engage your core and improve you stability, whist the movement of the exercise mimics that of turning on a surfboard.

(5)Single-Leg Squat

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Exercise – Stand on one leg and then squat down as low as you can. If you need to, hold on to something for support.

Surf Specific – This exercise test you glutes, hamstrings flexibility foot stabilizer’s balance and core strength as well as the power of your quadriceps, similar to surfing maintain your balance and stability on a board in a maneuver whilst being off-balance.

(6)Clap Push-Up

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Exercise – Get into push-up position and lower your body until your chest is about an inch above the ground. Explosively push yourself back up so that your hands leave the ground and you can clap in midair. When you land, use the momentum to begin the next rep.

Surf Specific – This exercise engages all the prime movers in a pop up whilst improving your power you get from the spring of your pop.

(7)Prone Swimmer

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Exercise – Lie face down on the ground and extend your arms and legs. Raise them off the ground simultaneously, and then pull your arms down toward your sides. Repeat, as if you were doing a breaststroke, keeping your arms and legs elevated throughout the set.

Surf Specific – this exercise if very similar movement to paddling but its main focusing is on lower back muscles stabilizing you when paddling as well as core maintaining your balanced position on the board.

(8)Dumbbell Get-Up

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Exercise – Grab a dumbbell in one hand and lie on your back on the ground. Raise the weight over your face. Now get up as quickly as you can without using your free hand for support.

Surf Specific – This exercise is a full body exercise using lats, quads, isolating shoulders muscles and engaging in back stability as well as a prolonged core work out all of which will improve posture and stability on a surfboard.

(9)Kneeling Swiss Ball Press

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Exercise – Grab a dumbbell in each hand and kneel on a Swiss ball. Find your balance and raise the weights to shoulder level. Press them overhead. If that’s too hard, you can kneel on two medicine balls.

Surf Specific – This exercise is working the shoulders as well as the back muscles but by doing it on a Swiss ball engages the smaller stabilizing muscles in the body key for balance and stability on a surfboard.

(10)Swiss Ball Jackknife

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Exercise – Get into push-up position and rest your shins on a Swiss ball. Keeping your torso straight, draw your knees up to your chest, rolling the ball forward.

Surf Specific – this exercise is predominately a crunching motion using mostly the abdominals, hamstrings and shoulders whilst working all the small stability muscles used in surfing to maintain balance whilst paddling and turning.

(11)New school: Surfer’s Pop Up

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Exercise – Laying in a prone paddling position on the floor, head looking forward but your hand next to your ribs and push against the floor in an explosive movement, bring your leading foot under your chest whilst twisting you torso PIC(4/5).

Surf Specific – With the Surfer’s Pop Up you can practice getting to your feet more times than during a typical surf session. This practice will help you nail that transition from your chest to your feet on your next paddle out.

(12)Swiss Ball Push Ups

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Exercise –  Begin buy pushing up on a stability ball and the lowering yourself back down. This is an excellent surf-specific movement, because.

Make it Tougher – While doing the ball push up, try raising one foot off the ground for a few reps. Keep your core active and don’t let your body twist. For example, try five reps with both feet on the ground, five reps with your left foot off the ground, and five reps with your right foot off the ground. This movement mimics the feeling of duck-diving and adds a nice core stability challenge.

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Surf Specific – it builds strength in the chest and arms for paddling and simulates the unstable, wobbly nature of duck-diving. Benefits of these push ups during tough paddles and whenever you have to perform several duck-dives in a row.

(13)Swiss ball dumbbell Back Extensions

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Exercise – Begin by lying face down on a Swiss ball with your hands in front of the ball (pic. 1). You Knees should remain slightly bent. With your hands holding on the dumbbells, pull your shoulder blades back and down. Begin to inhale and slowly lift your head and then your chest off the ball. Keep extending until you feel your lower back muscles engage. Hold at the top position for one to two seconds and then slowly exhale and lower down to the original starting position.

Surf Specific – This exercise gives you the ability to hold your chest off your board and is the basis for good paddling technique. It is using your shoulders, neck, and lower back through a simple exercise to build strength and endurance in your back muscles. Increasing the mobility in your paddling position. Whilst also using abdominal muscles to keep the hips in place and prevent hypertension of the lower back.

(14)Dumbbell Wood Chop

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Exercise – Squatting, weight shifting and rotating your torso occur in almost every surfing maneuver. The dumbbell wood chop integrates upper body, lower body, and core training in one movement. Exactly what happens while maneuvering your board? In addition, the lower body training is fast and explosive, again much like surfing.

Surf Specific – this exercise s great for improving strength in your turns, it engages in you stabilizing core muscles and mimics the movement of a turn in surfing.

Make it Tougher – Increase the weight of the dumbbell, or speed up the wood chop movement as will make a more explosive movement and more resistance to your direction changes.

(15)Knee Tucks

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Exercise – Start in a press up position with your hand shoulder width apart, keep you head looking forward through out the movement. Bring your knee up to your chest until they almost touch, place your foot as flat as possible and as close as you can to you hands. Hold this position for 2-3 seconds then reverse the action to the original starting point and repeat with the opposite leg.

Make it Tougher – Increase the distance of your front foot were a weighted vest or position your hand on a balance board/inboard, or slower movement through the exercise 4 seconds pushing up 4 seconds going down.

Surf Specific – This exercise is the classic beginning stages to the pop and increasing flexibility to help get a better first time foot placement on the board.

(16)Drop Knee Pivots:

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Exercise – Start in an athletic stance with knees slightly bent. Hold the handles of the Resistance cord in front of your chest, Lead with your head and shoulders and rotate your body toward the anchor point Reverse the movement, rotating in the other direction. Pivot on your toes. You will feel a stretch in the hip that you are pivoting towards.

Make it Tougher – use cable machines to add more resistance to your exercise whilst maintaining your position using your core.

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Surf Specific – this exercise is great using a full body movement using all almost all of the muscles used to do a turn in surfing. When doing this exercise, visualize the sequence of a surfing turn: Head, shoulders, hips, board.

(17)High Elbow Row

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Exercise – Stand with tall posture and your feet shoulder-width apart. Grasp the handles and straighten your arms in front of your shoulders. Pull your elbows back, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Pause for a moment, and then return to the start position. This movement helps get your arms out of the water as you recover back to the entry phase.

Make it Tougher – use cable machines to add more resistance to your exercise whilst maintaining your position using your core.

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Surf Specific – This exercise engages predominately, your core and foot stabilizers maintaining pressure and balance through muscle contractions in a similar way to balancing and changing direction on a surfboard. It also engages the shoulders, triceps and biceps which are prime mover in paddling.

(18)Standing Pull

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Exercise – Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, back straight, with a hinge at your hips. Have your hands in the handles in front of your shoulders. The top part of the movement simulates your hand entering the water. Have your palms down and wrists slightly flexed. Keep your elbows slightly bent as you simulate catching water and propelling your surfboard. Pull to your hips and hold for a moment, keeping your shoulder blades pulled down and back. Keep resistance on the bands as you reverse the motion, and then repeat.

Make it Tougher – using a cable machine to add more resistance and increase the power need to complete the movement.

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Surf Specific – This exercise’s main focus is to imitate a similar movement to paddling; it engages the shoulders, triceps and biceps which are prime movers in paddling. It also engages predominately, your core and foot stabilizers maintaining pressure and balance through muscle contractions in a similar way to balancing and changing direction on a surfboard.

(19)One Arm pull down

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Exercise – Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, back straight, Have your hand in the starting position and pull the cable down until your arm is buy your hips your side(maintaining the original body position your shoulders). The top part of the movement simulates your hand entering the water. Have your palms down and wrists slightly flexed. Keep your elbows slightly bent as you simulate catching water and propelling your surfboard. Pull to your hips and hold for a moment, keeping your shoulder blades pulled down and back. Keep resistance on the bands as you reverse the motion, and then repeat.

Make it Tougher – increase the resistance of the weight, or slower movement through the exercise 4 seconds pulling down 4 seconds going up.

Surf Specific – The top part of the movement simulates your hand entering the water This exercise main focus is to imitate a similar movement, it engages the shoulders, triceps and biceps which are prime mover in paddling, but predominately, your core and foot stabilizers maintaining your rigidity in the stance, similar to paddling and maintaining an upright prone paddling position on a surfboard.

(20)Alternating Overhead Press

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Exercise – hold dumbbells in starting position at shoulder width, arms at right angles. Alternative repetitions pushing the dumbbells above your head, then returning to the original shoulder position whilst maintaining a straight back.

Make it Tougher – increase the resistance of the weight, or slower movement through the exercise 4 seconds pushing up 4 seconds going up.

Surf Specific – This exercise is working the shoulders and the back muscles as well-being similar in movement to paddling and increasing the overall strength in the arms and shoulders for paddling.

Disclaimer: The information found within this site is for general information only and should not be treated as a substitute for medical advice from your own doctor or any other health care professional. SBSboards.com is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the information shown within this website. Always consult your own GP if you’re in any way concerned about your health.

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