American Council on Exercise by American Council on Exercise

As the sport of surfing grows in popularity, so grows the need for proper training programs to help push athleticism in the sport to new heights. Gone are the days of the beach-bum surf-slacker. Today’s surfers are fine-tuned athletes on a mission to win and be recognized as world-class athletes. 

To be competitive, surfers must be physically well-rounded and have both endurance (paddling and duck diving) and explosive power (popping up, big bottom turns and explosive turns and airs off the top lip of the wave). Balance is of paramount importance too, as is symmetry between lower- and upper-body strength. 

For some of us, we would just like to look like a surfer—lean, toned and powerful (and tanned). Regardless of your focus—athletic or aesthetic—this simple surf-specific workout will help you increase both your fitness ability and physique appeal. From a purely fitness standpoint, surfing is a big workout that can be exhausting. Therefore, your workouts should be equally challenging so that you can perform your best over the duration of a two-plus-hour surf session. 

Perform 12 reps of each of these five sports-specific exercises, and then repeat the full circuit two to four times for a full workout. No equipment required to perform this workout, so it can be performed almost anywhere (even the beach). 

  1. Paddling: Prone Cobra to increase shoulder mobility and core stability
  2. Popping up: Clap pushups to build explosive upper-body power
  3. Bottom Turn: Squat Jumps to help absorb gravitational forces and redirect them
  4. Balance: Single-leg pistol squats to enhance stability, mobility and the ability to get low and stay balanced
  5. High-intensity endurance: 300-yard shuttle run to push your heart rate to the limit with explosive one-minute bursts followed by intermittent rest