There are times when you can’t hit the waves, whether due to flat seas or other commitments. During these periods, it’s a good idea to stay in shape and prepare for your next surf session or surf trip. In this article, we’ll explore workouts, exercises, and activities you can do outside the water to become a better surfer.

Surfing Performance Training:

Things that can help your surfing performances

Flexibility and Agility exercices:

 Surfing requires flexibility and agility. Yoga and stretching exercises can help improve your range of motion, balance, and overall flexibility. Many surfers incorporate yoga into their training routines to stay limber. You could also do burpees as they are a great way to practice your popup!

Carver Training:

Carver exercises mimic the movements involved in riding waves. You can use a Carver skateboard to improve your pumping abilities, which are essential for maintaining speed while surfing.


Swimming is the closest activity to surfing when you’re not on your board. Swimming laps not only builds stamina but also utilizes similar muscle groups as surfing. It’s an excellent way to stay in shape and maintain your paddling strength.

Paddle Practice:

Nothing quite replicates the feeling of paddling on a surfboard like being on a board itself. If you have access to a swimming pool, lake, or a flat ocean, consider taking your surfboard and practicing your paddling techniques. This will help you maintain your muscle memory and refine your paddle strokes.

Pure strength training:

A study [1] found a direct correlation between pull-up strength and sprint paddling performance in surfers. While endurance is essential, maximal strength plays a significant role in generating power.

Incorporating pull-ups into your workout routine can improve your sprint paddling speed. The study suggests that having the strength to do a pull-up with 1.2 times your body weight is beneficial for surfers.

Surf Injury Prevention Exercises:

Things to prevent injuries related to the sport

As we mentioned, surfing places a heavy demand on the upper body and can cause strain due to unnatural movements, such as lifting your arms above your head while balancing on your board to paddle. This can lead to pain and injury, particularly around the shoulder and neck. Any good surf exercise program should prevent them.

Classic exercises that focus on rotational and anti-rotational movements can help you strengthen your upper body to prevent injuries caused by muscle imbalances.

For instance, subscapularis strengthening exercises are excellent for preventing surfing-related shoulder and neck pain. The subscapularis is a muscle that lies at the front of your shoulder’s rotator cuffs and is often problematic for surfers as it is underutilized during paddling, leading to imbalances and injuries. Strengthening the subscapularis muscle would improve your shoulder stability and overall performance.

To conclude…

While nothing can replace the experience of riding the waves, there are plenty of exercises and activities you can do to enhance and maintain your surfing skills. A surfing workout program that includes strengthening your upper body, paddling, and flexibility exercises, as well as injury prevention exercises, is amazing for staying in shape for surfing.

[1] Maximal Strength Training Improves Surfboard Sprint Endurance Paddling Performance in Competitive Recreational Surfers. Retrieved from: Maximal Strength Training Improves Surfboard Sprint & Endurance Paddling Performance In Competitive & Recreational Surfers, May 2016, The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 31(1), DOI: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001483.

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