Whether you hit the beach at 6am daily, are just about to suit up for the first time, or simply seek a strong and lean surfer physique, you can benefit from this “tubular” surfer workout.
With a combination of strength, flexibility, agility, and endurance, surfing ain’t easy. But don’t you give up! Keep these tips in mind on and off your board and you’ll be better prepared for gnarly waves that roll your way.
With this in mind, I’ve created the following warm-up and circuit to focus on smaller muscles groups, functional movements, coordination, balance, and core work to get you surf-ready in no time.
So let’s get started!
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All you need is 7 minutes for this quick-but-effective warm-up to prepare you for your surf.
- Hold one leg and crunch abs at the same time to warm up your core and stretch the backs of your legs.
- Repeat on the other side.
- From plank, bring your left foot between your hands.
- Watch your bent knee to make sure it doesn’t move beyond your ankle.
- Press your right hand into the floor and twist to the left bringing your left hand directly above your right.
- Keep your abs engaged and breathe as you twist a little further and gaze up toward your left fingertips.
- Return to plank and repeat on the other side.
- From laying on your belly, press your forearms (parallel to one another) and hands evenly into the ground and aim to keep your shoulders above your elbows.
- Keep your hips evenly grounded (don’t lift one hip up toward the sky as you turn) and engage your lower abs to support your lower back.
- Bend your right knee and bring your right foot toward your hips as you gaze over your right shoulder.
- Return to center, lower your right leg, then repeat on the other side.
- Lay back so your shoulder blades and neck are on the ball.
- Keep your knees above your ankles and your body in a straight light from your shoulders to your knees (as if you were laying on a table)
- Make a cactus shape with your arms to open and stretch the chest and breathe.
- Place both arms on the ball as you stretch out each side of your torso
- Place your right hand on the ball and your left hand on the ground as you gaze over your left shoulder and feel the stretch along your right side.
- Return to center and then repeat on the other side.
- Stand strongly on your left leg with your left foot firmly planted on the ground as you place your right foot on the inner portion of your upper thigh or calf (don’t place your foot directly on your knee!)
- Keep your hips as even as possible (don’t let your right hip hike up toward the sky)
- Stretch your arms overhead and breathe as you balance like a tree!
- From standing, fold forward and walk out to plank position with control (engaging your abs).
- Hold plank for a moment and then walk back up to standing.
Repeat the following exercises 3 times.
- Sit tall on the ball, then roll back slowly (with control using your abs) until your arms are stretched overhead.
- Roll back up with control until you are sitting tall again.
- With your body in a straight line from head to heels, lean on the ball at your hips.
- Keep your neck long and your gaze slightly in front of you.
- Engage your arms and reach them from the ground back toward your heels. Repeat this slow-moving motion, engaging your lats and triceps the entire time.
- Add hands weights for an extra challenge!
- Start in plank, do a low push-up, then come into side plank (facing left) with your left foot in front of your right.
- Gaze up toward your left hand (make a “hang loose” sign for extra credit!)
- Return to plank and repeat on the other side.
- Hold a plank with your feet on the ball and your hands planted on the ground.
- Using your abs, lift your hips up toward the sky as the ball rolls toward your pointed toes (you should aim to get your hips above your wrists)
- Lower back down to a plank with your feet on the ball and then repeat.
- The slower you move, the more you will feel your abs!
- From plank position, jump your feet between your hands then hop to your right, landing in a surfer’s upright position.
- Come back into plank, and then repeat on the other side.
- Lay on your back with your arms in a “T” position, your hips bent at 90 degrees, and your calfs resting on the ball.
- Engaging your lower abs to support your lower back, slowly bring your legs to the right.
- Keep both arms pressing into the ground (if your left arm starts to rise off the ground, you’ve gone too far)
- Come back to center, then repeat on the other side.
- From forearm plank, lift your hips up and over to the left bringing your gaze slightly to the right.
- Keep your forearms pressing into the ground at all times and your shoulders above your elbows.
- Come back to center then repeat on the other side.
- From plank position, lift your right leg off the ground and bend at the knee bringing your bent knee toward your right elbow.
- Keep your hips low and your abs engaged the entire time.
- Come back to plank position, then repeat on the other side.
Surf’s up, sporty sisters!
Monica Nelson is a personal trainer, chef, accomplished athlete, model and much loved health and fitness expert based in LA. She inspires her clients to look and feel their best with her life motto: EAT WELL, STAY FIT, FEEL GREAT.
One of her greatest passions is cooking and the talented Moni loves to whip up healthy and decadent meals for her readers to enjoy. On any given day you can find her being creative in the kitchen, training her clients in the park, at the beach, out for a bike ride or catching big air on her snowboard.
Photos by Tim Black