Five holistic surf exercises that will boost your performance in the water

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Originally Written & Published for LUEX.com

Let’s get one thing straight, the more you surf, the better you get. There aren’t any shortcuts. And there aren’t any magic drugs a la limitless that make you surf better, so before you start speed dialing the local drug dealer in town, just drive down to the beach and ride that 2ft slop one more time. It’s such cliche, but the best sport for surfing is surfing. No hocus-pocus, no rocket science – just time, resilience and a teeny-weeny bit of talent. Okay, the talent part is a lie but whatevs.

The bottom line is;  there’s no substitute or replacement to get good at surfing.

Some people might tell you otherwise, but they seem to confuse ‘better’ with “smarter.” See, here’s the deal; surfing has evolved, not only as a sport but as a lifestyle. Especially on a professional level, surfing has become a multi-dimensional and complex entity that requires much more than just surfing until you drop to be successful.

Perfect cut back
Owen Wright by Richards Kotch at Niyama Private Islands


Competitive Advantage is everything in pro surfing

These days, pros like Medina, John John Florence, Julian Wilson or Carissa Moore travel with a whole circus to surf destinations like the Maldives or Indonesia. An assembly of professionals who work around the clock to supply these guys with a competitive edge. Something the other guys or girls on tour don’t have yet – a game plan that makes them not necessarily surf better, but smarter, more efficient and perhaps, stronger.

Surfing is more than just a sport, it’s a lifestyle

This holistic approach to surfing has translated into the recreational realm of the sport too. It has basically become a business within a booming (in some parts of the world) industry, and it takes special people, with a special set of ideas to lead the charge of it all.

One of those pioneers is Israel IIansola Martinez, owner & founder, of Fetch Surf Concept, a surf training center & gym for the everyday punter in Bali. At the forefront of holistic training concepts, combining elements of surfing as a sport with a code of life, the ever-energetic Catalan was happy to chat with us about some exercises anybody can do to improve their surfing.

While some might argue that improving means better, Israel was quick to emphasize that improving simply means to maximize your physical performance and train your technical capabilities to help you in the water – no matter what level of surfing you have.

Of course, the new era of surfing with all its modifications and progressions incorporates so much more than five simple exercises you can do in your backyard or your living room when the surf is flat – but it’s a start.

Five LUEX approved exercises for surfing to try at home

1. Squat jumps copy almost every movement when on a board

Good ol’ squat jumps are a classic cardio exercise to get those legs burning. A pretty straightforward exercise in execution comes with a lot of benefits for surfers. A perfectly executed squat jump mimics almost every movement a surfer makes when he or she pops up on the board. At the base of all maneuvers, the pop dictates everything else that follows thereafter and often is the silver lining between the wave of your life or wipeout of your life. A simple exercise you can practice before, after and while you surf – it can’t get better than that!

2. Push-ups are the godfather of all surf exercises

If Keanu Reeves does it, you have to do it too! Push-ups and surfing have been an item as long as I can remember.  Heavily featured as THE exercise-that-solves-everything in corny surf flicks, the push-up offers a great deal of help when in the water.

A surfer’s favorite, the push-up improves the level of strength in the upper body which is crucial when it comes to paddling power and taking off.  Push-ups are easy to execute, and you can kill time too. Do them before you go to bed, watch your favorite Netflix series or before you hit the lineup to work on your paddling and pop up muscles.

Surf workout exercises

3. Kettlebell Swings are great to open up your hips

Granted, not everyone carries a kettlebell in their back pocket but hey, who said you can’t get creative? Swing and snatch is the secret motion that really opens up your hips and strengthens your lower back. There are so many adaptations and variations of the kettlebell swing out there, but all serve the same purpose; to improve your mobility which consequently leads to more power through your turns.

Jumping for surfing

4. Pull Cross core 180 or TRX workouts for total body control

One of the few exercises on this list that requires a prop. Every dollar worth spent, TRX bands offer endless opportunities to train and best of all; you are using your entire body when working out too. Suspension training programs are great to improve your overall strength, work on your balance and boost stability through your core which comes in handy when you try to command a busy lineup and get into a paddle battle with other salty warriors at your local.

TRX for surfing

5. Mountain Climbers are a great total body exercise for surfing

Oh boy, this is one hell of a total body exercise every surfer should incorporate in his or her daily routine. They are the real deal, and you’re going to be utilizing a lot of areas and muscles that are crucial when it comes to dominating in the surf.

You’re starting out from a plank position which is great for your core and spine. Your shoulders work in-sync because they have to stabilize your upper body while your triceps work asymmetrically to keep you in place. And if that wasn’t enough; you’re working on your cardio at the same time by moving your legs back and forth.

The faster you go, the more that heart rate’s gonna comes up! Race it, baby!

Mountain climbers for surfing

Ya locked and loaded for your first taste of some pretty basic holistic exercises you can practice anywhere to boost your performance in the water. You might never occupy prime real estate on your favorite 5’11 but who says you can’t put some more “whaaaack” into your turns and dominate your local beachie?