Posted by William on August 31, 2012
The degree to which each training protocol is used depends on which area the surfer wishes to improve the most. The entire body is used in surfing to some extent, so use a program that develops all the major muscles of the body and their stabilizing muscles. Train both sides of a joint equally, unless there is a marked imbalance in strength or development or a postural imbalance.
Strength training for surfing can be divided into three categories:
Overall strengthening using conventional muscle isolation training. A list of exercises for each muscle group can be found in the article ‘Resistance Training.’
Movements that simulate paddling and surfing with force being generated in the directions required for those movements.
Rehabilitation and strengthening of any inured or weakened areas. Any injuries must be taken into account both in avoiding exercises that make the pain worse and in strengthening muscles that will prevent re-injury.
If you have any old injuries that impede any aspect of surfing performance, it is best to follow any regimen of medication, stretching, strengthening, ice or heat designed by your doctor or physical therapist. If the problem is not too acute, a qualified trainer may be able to show you some exercises to strengthen any specific weak areas not covered in the general routine.
This is best determined on an individual basis. A qualified personal trainer knows when an injury is beyond his or her ability to deal with and may recommend you return to medical care. In any case, It would be wise for the trainer to consult with your doctor or physical therapist, prior to any workout program. Written permission is required for the doctor or PT to release or discuss any medical information.
Use mostly free-weights and cables whenever possible because exerting strength, while stabilizing the weight in three dimensions is closer to how the muscles are used for real-world applications. Machines that move in a fixed motion make the exercise too easy to balance and isolate. It is also harder to accommodate people that are larger or smaller than the machine was designed for, or have limited range of motion due to injury or inflexibility.
Many abdominal and lower back exercises initially use only the weight of the body. Do not neglect them since power is transferred from the lower body to the upper body and vice versa through the midsection stabilizing or even adding to the power of turns.
When working your abdominal muscles, don’t hesitate to add weight to the exercise if you require more than 30 reps to become fatigued. The spinal erector muscles require more recovery time than the abdominals do and often does better on fewer reps. Training while sitting or lying on the Swiss ball while performing exercises for upper body is a great way to develop stabilization strength in these areas.
Each activity that is part of surfing has its own physical requirements. To those who are younger or fitter, it may seem absurd to talk about learning these actions or conditioning for them. Nonetheless, it will prove instructive to analyze all the actions of surfing to show what is required for this activity as a whole.
Sitting on the board waiting for waves and turning the board around to get into position uses inner thighs, all abdominal muscles and lower back for stabilization. Pushing up off the board to stand up uses Pectoralis Major, Anterior Deltoids, Triceps, Gluteus Maximus, Quadriceps and Spinal Erectors. Paddling uses Triceps, Biceps, Deltoids, Posterior Deltoids, Latissimus Dorsi, Rhomboids, Trapezius, Cervical Spinal Extensors, Wrist Flexors, Wrist Extensors and the Rotator Cuff muscles.
Holding on the board, while fighting the waves to get out to the line-up uses the intrinsic muscles of the hands, the wrist muscles on all sides, as well as all the other upper body muscles. Riding the waves uses all the muscles of the abdomen, low back, hips, thighs, and calves and others in the upper body required to balance and turn the board.
Weight training is most effective when the direction of movement is as directly opposite from the direction of resistance as possible.