A Tide Watch is not the most important surfing tool out there….your body is first and foremost the most important tool followed by your board, wax, watch ect. Here at BSW we researched the best program to help get your body into shape.
We have personally trained hundreds of surfers to date. In the process, we have learned and tested the most efficient, proven, and tested methods to lose fat, have a strong and lean body, improve your surfing, and increase time spent in the water by getting fitter and following the easy steps outlined below.
1. It all starts with what you eat. The fuel you are putting into your body during surf fitness training day in and day out, determines how you feel and how well you can perform. If 50% of your diet consists of natural and water-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, and sprouts and the other 50% is lean protein and complex carbs, you are on your way to feeling great and performing at your peak.
2. Core strength is essential. The more developed your core is, the better you will be able to rotate your hips for a bottom turn/snap/cutback, handle a big wave, duck dive, and paddle out in the line-up. In almost every surfing movement, your abdominals are directly or indirectly worked.
3. Increase your paddle power. You and I know that a surfer spends most of the time in water paddling. It is often through big sets or whitewash – especially if you get caught on the inside. Not only for your enjoyment but mainly for your SAFETY, you need to be able to paddle out of those tough spots with speed.
How to increase paddling power
Effective paddling exercises target your shoulders, lats, arms, and core and challenge your stamina to make you a strong paddler. With that level of fitness, you can be confident that you can go out there and have fun, even in rough conditions.
Examples of such exercises are Freestyle swimming, Floor Y/T/A raises, Rear lateral raise, Barbell push/press, Plank dumbbell row, Upright rows or Wall sits with shoulder twist.
4. High-intensity cardio and weights training increases your stamina. Training for a sport as dynamic as surfing, your #1 priority is to be able to react to changing conditions and be able to generate quick bursts of energy and power. Countless hours on the treadmill will not give you the stamina and strength that you need in water.
High-intensity cardio and weight training has 3 advantages: Builds your total body strength and stamina, saves you time (trainings are shorter & more efficient) and burns fat FAST.
The key to results with High Intensity Cardio Training is that you are never at full rest. In between the main exercise, you do another form of lighter cardio. For example: 5 x 30-second running interval at 80% speed with 5 x 20 double-leg box jumps in between.
5. You don’t need gym strength as much as you need functional strength. The difference in the two is its functionality in real life: performing a biceps curl or having an impressive one-rep bench press record is good for the gym, but as a surfer you predominately want to tailor your trainings for a day out in water (or a snow-covered mountain, swim, etc.)
Functional exercises improve your stability and include a lot of rotational movements, incorporating a number of muscle groups and joints at once and giving you explosive power. In your body, nothing works in isolation. Everything is connected.
6. Focus on muscle endurance, not volume. Very strong and bulky muscles will not necessarily give you the muscular endurance that is required for a strenuous day out in the waves. If you took a huge weightlifter out surfing, you would find that they tire quickly.
As a surfer, you want to be ready for long paddles through sets, followed by quick bursts of speed as you frantically paddle to catch the wave, pop up, and ride. For this type of activity, the size and thickness of your biceps or how much you can bench-press, is irrelevant.
7. Perform simple body-weight exercises. Many people are under the false assumption that they need fancy gym equipment and high-tech machines to unlock their body potential. This could not be further from the truth. Most of this myth has been developed over time due to marketing, and, therefore, bodyweight exercises have become extremely overlooked by our current culture.
Do I need gym equipment for surf fitness training?
Bodyweight exercise directly transfers to surfing movement better than weight room exercise and high-tech gym equipment. These exercises will also keep you safe from the many chronic injuries that come with heavy weight lifting and unnatural motions that weight machines have. You always want to focus on body-weight exercises such as variations of planks, press-ups, squats, etc.
Therefore, you don’t need fancy gym equipment or an expensive membership to be a really fit surfer. All you really need is a fitball, some weights, BOSU and foam roller – and a high-quality surf fitness program!
8. Importance of solid pre- and post-workout routine. Your body needs some time to stretch and get the blood flowing into key muscle groups before you can exert maximum energy. You always need to start with a 3+ minute warm-up (skipping rope, arm swings, light jog, etc.) before you start stretching, followed by a dynamic stretching routine to increase your overall flexibility and mobility.
Lastly, it is vital to foam-roll your muscles at least once a day, preferably after a tough, long training session.
9. Consistency Is the Key. Your body responds better if you make a series of positive changes over time, rather than a massive turn from one day to another. Our clients that made the biggest progress were the ones that weren’t the fittest to start with, but they were definitely most consistent. Those that stuck to 3-4 trainings per week and made wise diet and lifestyle choices saw great results within 2-3 months. There are many programs out there. Once you make a decision, stick to it and be consistent for the best results.