Land Training for Surfing


Strength Training for Surfing




Strength Training for Surfing should be included in a surfers holistic training plan

Strength Training for Surfing

As well as using an IndoBoard for balance training, there are plenty of other types of training that we can include in a land based training program to benefit surfers.Strength Training for Surfing and for surfers wanting to maximise their performance and reach their potential is a key component of any and all holistic surf training programs. Long gone are the days when a surfer could just surf all day every day. To perform to the best of their ability, a well rounded, holistic program is hugely important.

Basic strength training is an excellent and much needed component of a surfers training program. We need strength for our paddling, we need strength to perform surf manoeuvres and turns, we need it to create power and force and we need strength for injury prevention. We will talk about some of these concepts in more detail in future posts.

A good general all round strength program is highly recommended and we encourage all surfers to look seriously into including this into a weekly program.

Whether or not a surfer has access to a gym or not does not make a huge difference. While it will of course be simpler and easier if an athlete has a gym that they can access, if they don’t, it definitely does not mean they cannot do strength training. It just means there is maybe some extra creativity required.

Simple body weight exercises are excellent and make training outside simple and easy to accomplish.

When training, an all round general strength program is recommended. Surfers don’t want to be big and bulky so a mass hypertrophy program is not advisable. A program that promotes strength and power gains, a body composition made up of fat reduction and muscular development but not mass weight gains like a body builder is looking for. A high power to weight ratio is important.

Surfers need to work on their upper body strength including their shoulder, arm, back and chest  – so the deltoid muscles (anterior, medial and posterior), latsisimus dorsi, rhomboids,the rotator cuff muscles, trapezius, triceps and biceps, pectoralis major. Lower body leg strength is also vital and so the quadriceps (vastus medialis, vastus lateralis and rectus femoris), glutes (gluteus maximus) and hamstrings (biceps femoris, semimembranosis, semitendinosis). Of course core strength and core stability are extremely vital with rectus abdominus, internal and external obliques and transverse abdominus all needing to be trained and strengthened to maximise performance. Toe and foot strength are also important components that are often not considered or thought about but definitely have a place in a surfers strength training regime.

A rowing machine is an awesome way to train the upper body as it hits multiple muscles. If you have access to one at the gym, great, but If not, there are plenty of rowing machines under $500, so you can train from home on the days you can’t get out on the water. Rowing ergs are excellent full body work outs as well. Not only are the arms and back msucles of the upperbody worked, but the vast majority of the power or each stroke is going to be generated from the legs. Leg strength and power are critical in surfing for endurance to be able to complete multiple turns repetitively on a wave, but also for the generation of speed and power, the creation of force. As with anything though, it is vital that correct technique is used on a rowing ergometer/rowing machine as doing this movement incorrectly can lead to injuries. The most common is that people row with the arms and lower back, engaging these muscles first. However correct form is to begin the movement driving with the legs and then opening up with the upper body (leaning backwards) and finishing with hands and arms pulling in. Ask for technique tips and technical advice when using one from a qualified trainer. 

Book a surfing lesson or program with Walkin on Water today!

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