When the ocean is calm (typically November to April here in Phuket) and the sea is like a lake as flat as a pancake (Mmm), it’s easy for anyone to paddle out and leisurely cruise the blue-green waters. But when there’s macking swell or short period, pesky wind swells and strong ocean currents that can pull even experienced swimmers out to sea (don’t get scared but it does happen) that’s a whole different ballgame…or surf contest? Surf sesh? Lineup splash battle? Well, you get my drift.
It’s challenging enough to make it out to the lineup on days like that but then you still need muster up the energy and endurance to catch and ride waves! Then, you gotta paddle back out and catch more waves! If you’re not in surf shape condition, your surf sessions may not last very long at all.
How Do Pros Make It Looks So Easy?
We’ve all seen them drop into massive, overhead waves and tuck into deep pumping barrels that seemingly go on forever. Not to mention, they can throw 360 airs like it’s a blind folded walk in the park! Then, they paddle out, duck dive (just like real ducks), and make it back out to the lineup in a breeze. Okay yeah, being pulled by jet skis on a sled on those really big days would make it easy for us too but since we’re not sponsored pros, we’ll have to use our arms. But don’t you wish you can get out there and do the same?!
Well, it’s not as easy as it appears to be. Pro surfers are elite athletes who put in countless hours of dedicated physical and mental training to make it look like just another Friday afternoon at the office.
Sure, you may not be able to bust 360 airs or rodeo flips anytime soon but you do likely have the ability to get into top physical shape and be ready to face the whitewater. You just gotta put in the work.
What’s the Best Way to Prepare?
Being in top surf shape condition is a must for anyone wanting to challenge themselves in surfing medium to big size waves. Surfing requires a high level of aerobic endurance and muscular power, which is evident by the lean and healthy-looking bodies that most surfers develop and maintain.
Pool workouts will help improve both your muscular and cardiovascular strength and endurance. Along with eating a healthy diet, one major way to help get into surf shape is to consistently go swimming, preferably open-ocean swimming. Combining short quick sprints and longer endurance swims will help you prepare for real life surfing.
Being a strong and confident swimmer will not only make you a better surfer, it can also potentially save your life. Mother Nature can be highly unpredictable and the powerful forces of ocean waves should not be taken lightly.
No Pool? It’s Cool!
Don’t worry, bro (or broette)!
If you don’t have a pool nor an ocean in your backyard you can still get into surf shape condition. Although training on land is not as sport-specific, there are plenty of things you can do without a body of water to help you prepare for the physical challenges of surfing. Training for surfing requires full body movements to develop full body strength. It must include:
√ Balance training
√ Core strengthening
√ Interval training
Combining these activities will help you meet the physical and mental demands of surfing.
Below is a basic surf training workout you can do on land to help you get prepared to hit the water!
- Click Each Of The 6 Menu Items On The Left Below
- Breathing Squats: – breathe out deeply as you perform a squat, then breathe in deeply as your rise up into standing position while extending your arms towards the sky.
- T-Rotation Pushups: – from a pushup position, rotate your body and point one arm towards the sky while maintaining your balance on your other hand. In a controlled manner, rotate back into pushup position, then repeat on the other side.
- Warrior Lunge: – alternate each foot into a lunge position as you raise your arms to the sky, then push up off front foot and back into starting position bringing your arms back down to your sides.
- Bent Shoulder Circles: – while maintaining a straight back and slightly bent knees, bend your torso forward at the hip. Lean forward until you begin to feel a light stretch in your hamstrings. Reach your arms out to the sides to form a letter ‘T’. Perform small arm circles for 30 repetitions in each direction.
- Standing Knee Hugs: – while standing with your back straight and upright, alternate bringing one knee towards your chest. Place your hands around your knee and pull it towards your stomach/chest. Bring your knee as high as possible while maintaining your back straight.
- Kettlebell Swings
- Back Squats or Front Squats
- Dead Lifts
- Single Leg Dead Lifts
- Lunges and Multi-directional Lunges
- Plyometric Hops
- Single Arm Cable Pushes and Pulls
- Overhead Presses and Single Arm Overhead Presses
- Medicine Ball Chops
- Cable Chops
- Pushup Variations
- Single Leg Balance with upper body medicine ball tosses
- Single Leg Cable Push or Pulls
- Exercises on top of a Balance Board or Indo Board
- Single Leg Exercises
- Bulgarian Split Squats
- Single Leg Dead Lifts
- Ice Skater Squats
- Single Leg Box Squats
- Supine Lateral Ball Rolls
- Stability Ball Jack-Knife
- Medicine Ball Chops
- Cable Chops
- Paloff Press
- Horse Stance or Bird Dogs
- Stability Ball Rollouts
- Dumbbell Bent Rows
- Cable Face Pulls
- Shoulder A,T,Y’s
- Straight Arm Cable Pull Downs
- Suspension Training Tricep Pushes
- Shoulder Scarecrows
- Rotator Cuff External Rotations
- Body Blade Exercises
- Workout Circuits
- Jump Rope
- Row Machine Intervals
- Jogging Intervals
Extend Your Surf Sesh
Starting off with these basic exercises will help you prepare to face the whitewater and make the most of out of your surf sessions. And when that set wave comes right at you, will you be ready?
See you with a smile in the lineup!