7 exercises for your surf workout at home | Wender Mind Kids

7 exercises for your surf workout at home

Surfing is an incredible sport that engages all of the body’s muscles.

Some of the moves in surfing can be challenging. Luckily, certain exercises you can do at home can help you perform better in the waves.

This article suggests 7 exercises that can make you a better and healthier surfer.

Trying to catch a wave involves almost all of your muscles.

Just lying on the board requires abdominal strength when swimming in the water.

Paddling engages your shoulders, triceps, chest, and lats.

When trying to catch a wave, push your chest, triceps, and shoulders onto your feet with support from your glutes, quads, and hamstrings.

Once you stand, your lower back and glutes are needed to stay upright.

When you ride the wave, your legs and core need to be strong and stable. Your core muscles also help with turning and moving around the board.


Surfing is a complex sport that engages muscles throughout the body.

Surfing requires short bursts of high energy coupled with quite a bit of lower intensity paddling.

From a conditional perspective, a 2012 study recommends that you repeat these conditions in your training. High-intensity compound movement intervals are ideal for most people looking to improve their surfing (1).

From a strength perspective, you need the strength to push off the board and get up quickly. Studies have shown that this requires moving about 75 percent of your own body weight in less than a second (2).

You should also work on improving your core stability, which is needed for moving, surfing, and lying on the board.

Good mobility is also essential when surfing. For example, you need ankle mobility to stand on the board and shoulder mobility to paddle or lift your torso off the board when looking for a new wave.

Finally, you also need to make sure you keep your joints healthy to prevent injury. In fact, an older review from 2005 found that many surfers suffer overuse injuries in their shoulders, neck, and lower back from repetitive paddling (3).


Surf training should revolve around high-intensity energy bursts, lower-intensity endurance training, core stability training, and total-body mobility training.

1. Push-ups

The basic exercise: Start with your hands on the floor under your chest, shoulder-width apart, with fingers pointing slightly outward. Bring your feet back and stand on your toes. Bring your chest to the floor in a controlled manner and push yourself back up. Start with 3-4 sets of 5-20 reps

Increased Intensity Variations: Add a weight vest or elevate your feet to make the standard push-up heavier.

The power version: Start in the push-up position at the top. Lower yourself in a controlled manner to the bottom position of the push-up. Then explode upwards as forcefully as you can to get your hands off the ground. Add a clap if desired. Land back on the ground as gently as possible and repeat the process.

2. Squats

The basic exercise: In a standing position, bring your feet just outside your hips. With your chest upright, push your hips back and down. Go down until your hips are below the level of your knees, and then come back up. Start with 3-4 sets of 12-15 reps

Increased Intensity Variations: Add a dumbbell or kettlebell for more resistance. Hold the weight on your collarbone with both hands.

The power version: Control the descent of the squat. Add a jump on the way up.

3. Lunges

The basic exercise: Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Bring one foot forward and bend your front knee until your back knee touches the floor, aiming for a 90-degree angle on both knees. Start with 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions per side.

Increased Intensity Variations: Do a Bulgarian split squat version of this exercise. Put your back foot on a chair behind you instead of on the floor. You can also add weight by wearing a weight vest or holding a dumbbell or kettlebell.

4th row

The basic exercise: Place a dumbbell or kettlebell next to a bench. Place one knee and one hand on the bench on the same side. With the other hand, grab the weight and pull it up until it touches your chest, then lower in a controlled manner. Start with 3 sets of 8-12 repetitions per side.

Variation: If you have a TRX harness or two gymnastic rings, you can use them to perform a reverse row. Facing the rings or straps above you, pull your body weight up to chest height, holding your core. This is an excellent way to increase your shoulder stability.

5. boards

The basic exercise: Get into a basic push-up position, but instead of using your hands, come up to your elbows. Keep your hips in line with your shoulders and your abs tight. Start with 3 sets of 15-30 seconds.

Increased Intensity Variations: Try to lift one foot off the floor during the plank. When this becomes easy, raise the opposite arm straight forward along with the foot. These variations will really challenge your core.

6. Turkish Get Up

The basic exercise: This is a fantastic core and shoulder exercise that requires a lot of stability and agility. Before adding weight, practice the movement while holding a teacup filled with water.

  1. Begin by lying flat on the floor with your right knee bent and foot on the floor. Keep your right arm straight above your head and hold the teacup. This arm stays straight above you throughout the exercise.
  2. Sit up, hold the teacup above you, and use your left arm to lift your torso off the floor.
  3. Lift your butt off the floor and, in one motion, pull your left leg under your body until the knee is behind you. Your leg should be on the floor and facing forward.
  4. Lift your left hand off the ground so your torso is fully upright. You are now in the half-kneeling position, which looks like the bottom of a lunge with your knee on the floor.
  5. Finally, with the teacup still above your head, stand up and hold it in your outstretched arm.
  6. Now do the same in reverse order until you are back on the ground where you started.
  7. Do 2 sets of 3-5 reps per side.

Increased Intensity Variations: Once you’ve mastered the teacup version and can perform it without spilling water, replace the cup with a light dumbbell or kettlebell.

7. Twist handcuff

The basic exercise: This is a great shoulder mobility tool for improving internal and external rotation of your rotator cuff.

  1. First, lie face down on the floor. Interlace your fingers and place them behind your back as if you just handcuffed them.
  2. Keep your fingers closed and bring your hands up as high as you can. Then unlock them slowly. With your arms straight, bring your arms to your sides and make a T-shape.
  3. Keeping your arms straight, keep raising them until they are completely above your head, allowing your wrists to rotate naturally until you can see your palms.
  4. Now bend both elbows and try to touch both shoulders with your hands.
  5. Straighten your arms and repeat the same steps in reverse order until your fingers are interlaced, hands behind your back in the handcuffed position.
  6. Do 2 sets of 3-5 reps.

Here is an example of a 2 day per week training plan using the exercises presented above. The aim is to complete this training in addition to your regular surfing sessions.


First, do 3-5 sets of the following exercises, resting 30 seconds between sets:

  • Bodyweight squats, 12-15 reps
  • Push-ups, 10-20 reps

Then do 2-3 sets of the following exercises, resting 1 minute between sets:

  • Turkish getups, 5 repeats per side


First, do 3-5 sets of the following exercises, resting 30 seconds between sets:

  • Dumbbell rows, 10-12 reps
  • Bodyweight lunges, 15-20 reps per side

Then do 2-3 sets of the following exercises, resting 1 minute between sets:

  • Plank Hold, 30-45 seconds

Finally, perform 3 sets of the following exercises, resting 30 seconds between sets:

  • Handcuffs with rotation, 5 reps

All of these exercises will help prepare you for some of the movements required in the sport of surfing. However, the most important thing that will make you a better surfer is to get out there and surf.

In a 2017 clinical study, 17 surfers were presented with a strength training program. After 5 weeks, their paddling performance improved. However, after they developed the required power, their performance stopped increasing.

This indicates that while strength training can help you get stronger and better at surfing, there comes a point where the returns begin to diminish once you’ve developed all the strength you need (4).

Another thing to keep in mind is conditioning.

For example, a 2016 study found that paddling intervals in the water of 10 sets of 40-second laps increased performance. So next time you hit the water, bring a waterproof stopwatch or a friend to work on your conditioning (5).

Surfing is an excellent full-body sport.

If you’re looking to strengthen the muscles involved in surfing or get fitter to perform better in the water, try incorporating some of these at-home exercises into your routine.

These surf workouts not only improve your performance but also your overall health. With consistency, you’ll quickly find yourself riding a few more waves than you did the week before.