Cross training tips for surfers who can’t always get to the ocean

The label of “Weekend Warrior” was never something any of us strived to achieve, but as bills start pile up and responsibility calls, the majority of surfers spend more time tucking in their shirts than they do tucking into barrels.

For those of us who find ourselves spending less and less time in the water, be it work-related or due to those lovely summer flat spells, specialized cross training offers us a way to keep our bodies in prime condition.

With an emphasis on endurance, core strength and muscle memory, the following tips were designed to ensure that you are both mentally and physically prepared to hit the water the next time the waves kick up.

The Pool is Your Friend

Because you gotta get wet. Photo: Artem Verbo/Unsplash

Most of our time surfing is spent paddling, and by following a regular swimming routine you can improve your stroke and stamina without even surfing.

Here we outline a 2,000 meter routine that focuses in on the many aspects most important to surfers: endurance, sprints and breath control.

400 Meter Warmup: The goal is to loosen the body and get our blood flowing. Find a steady pace and stick to it. Do a 400 meter sprint burst eight times. Swim 25 meters at an accelerated pace immediately followed by a 25-meter cool down. Repeat eight times, taking a 15-20 second rest in between each repetition.
500 Meter Hypoxic Training: Swimming at a relaxed pace, breathing every 3rd, 5th and 7th stroke and repeat. Focus on controlling your pace and breathing.
5×100 Strength Builders: Using hand paddles and a pull buoy, swim 100 meters using only your arm strength to pull you through the water. Repeat for a total of 500 meters taking a 30 second break between each set.
200-meter cool down.

Stability and Balance Training is key

No fancy gym equipment needed here, only a little bit of space and creativity. A combination of planks, burpees and leg lifts can help maintain and improve your balance.

Side Plank: Laying down on your side, prop your body up with left hand to create a triangle of space between yourself and the floor. Take your right hand and reach to the sky, with your head following your extended arm. Test your range of motion by pulling your extended arm behind and underneath your body, ensuring that your head follows it at all times. Repeat this for 15-20 reps for three sets on each side.

Single Leg Squats: Raise one leg 6 inches off of the ground and squat down with the other forming a 45 degree angle at the knee. Keeping your back straight and your head in line with the rest of your body is key to get the most out of this core building exercise. Hold each squat for a few seconds and repeat 3-5 times with each leg for three sets. For added intensity, use a medicine ball or basketball.

Deep Squats: With both feet shoulder width apart, squat down while maintaining your posture. If possible, touch the ground with both hands before returning to a standing position. Repeat 10-15 time for three sets, and aim to go deeper with your squat as time progresses.

Go Through the Movements as often as you can

Surfing was meant to be fun long before it became competitive, and numerous sports and activities have sprung up to help us simulate the feeling of surfing when the waves are not working. By participating in activities like skateboarding, you can help develop muscle memory and actually train the brain to trigger certain responses.

Skateboarding/Carveboard: Put your strength, power and balance to the test by hitting the pavement. Carveboards allow the user to emulate surfing through similar turning motions and the ability to generate their own speed. While longer boards tend to cater to the downhill mindset, boards in the 30- to 32-inch range allow you to turn a flat parking lot into a personal skate/surf park.

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