Wouldn’t it be amazing if every day offered incredible surf? Unfortunately, a sport like surfing requires a lot of work from Mother Nature and some days don’t have the waves necessary. Rather than taking those days off, sitting around playing video games or snacking on the couch, why not go out and train for the next great surf day. “Well how can I do that if there aren’t any waves?” This is where cross training can come in handy! This means finding corresponding activities that can enhance your surfing abilities, mentally and physically. Check out our 5 top cross training activities for peak surf performance so you can stay surf ready even on the flat days.
From one board sport to the next, snowboarding has many similarities to surfing. Though there are some technical differences like footing, riding a long line of snow is a lot like skimming across water. Though snowboarding is a seasonal sport in most places, when that season comes, there are no off days. The beautiful thing is, even when it is too cold for you to surf, you can drive up to the mountains for a day in the powder. Even if you have never snowboarded before, most surfers get the hang of it pretty quickly. If you’re not too fond of ripping on the board, you can even try out skiing. Many of the same balancing mechanics apply.
The foundations of surfing lie in the breath and in the balance. This is the reason that surfing and yoga naturally go hand in hand. Not only can yoga greatly improve your breath and balance, but can also help to improve your flexibility, range of motion, and can also be extremely relaxing. Surfing can build up tons of tension in your hips, lower back, arms, etc. By practicing yoga, you can help to stretch and release that tension while opening your body up. Some excellent yoga poses that we would highly recommend practicing every day include downward facing dog, plank pose, warrior II, and boat pose. The beauty of yoga is that it not only helps you to stretch, it also keeps you in motion to help heal any possible joint injuries. Get outside as often as you can to practice yoga and see how much your surfing improves!
- Rock Climbing
Right off the top, these two activities could not seem more dissimilar. Though more than anything, surfing and rock climbing have one big factor in common: overcoming your mental setbacks. Hitting a big wave can be like climbing a large mountain. You need to be able to let go of your fear and go for it. Rock climbing and surfing also share the same nature loving mentality, urging you to explore and discover the power and beauty of what our planet offers. In terms of the physical aspect, rock climbing is just as much a full-body workout as surfing. You must utilize strength, balance, and endurance like you do when out in the waves.
Surfing requires you to be in top physical shape. It requires you to be quick and have a good understand of the dynamics of the water beneath you. Running is actually quite similar, especially when running in an outdoor environment. You can build up your stamina and train your body to handle long periods of physical exertion. We would highly recommend running in open land spots such as mountains, coastlines, and forests, rather than on a treadmill. Not only does it make running much more interesting, but it also helps you to respond to obstacles like hills, rocks, plants, and more. It also tends to be much more freeing when you have fresh air to breathe in.
Like snowboarding, this also shares some of the same mechanics as surfing. Surfers actually invented skateboarding over 60 years ago so that they could “surf” even when they weren’t in the water. Skateboarding can provide a great workout for your core when you aren’t able to hit the water, and unlike waves, roads and sidewalks will always be at your disposal. You know how your favorite surfers are able to bust out aerials? You can thank the bowl skaters of the late 70s for that. They inspired surfers to take tricks like that to the waves. Skateboarding can help improve your balance and strengthen the proper muscles that are used in surfing. While you only get a few solid waves for every average surfing session, with skateboarding, you can ride the same ramp over and over again, increasing your muscle memory and overall power.
This should be a pretty obvious one. The more time you spend in the water, the more comfortable you’ll be. Obviously getting into your local pool will work, though to truly make the most out of your workout, we highly recommend ocean swimming. Swimming can help you to develop the muscles that are necessary to paddle out with. It is also one of the best cardiovascular exercises out there. It can help to build up your endurance, stamina, and breath support, far better than most activities could.
If you’re someone who live for high-intensity workouts in a space with a ton of like-minded people, then Crossfit might be just the thing for you. Crossfit allows you to perform a wide variety of exercises and power movements to get your blood flowing and your body in shape. It also moves much faster than a standard gym routine so you’ll never find it a daunting task. We’re not even sure if it’s possible to get bored when your adrenaline is racing. Crossfit is certainly a lifestyle these days. If you don’t think that you fit with that lifestyle, there are many other alternatives such as boot camp gym classes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is it necessary to train your body for surfing?
Surfing can put a lot of strain on your body, especially your back. A lot of avid surfers have incredibly tight shoulders and chests with lots of weak sections in their upper backs. Paddling only works out a specific range of muscles that are required to pull you forward. Because of this constant motion, you never end up working out through your entire range of motion. When you get out of the water an go straight to work, sitting hunched over at a computer all day, it just makes matters worse. This is why it is necessary to train, stretch, and work on different parts of your body to develop a well-rounded muscular structure.
Are there any single changes I can make to better my surfing?
One of the best things we can recommend is getting a stand-up desk in your home or office. Rather than slouching over in a chair all day staring into a screen, slowly but surely developing a hunch in your neck, get up on your feet! Even if you can’t stand straight for a few hours, it’s better to have the option to move between the two. This will help any tightness or pain you feel after a long day at work, and in the long run, will really help with any pain you may experience after surfing.
What one piece of exercise equipment would you recommend to a surfer?
We would highly recommend getting some type of exercise ball. Just look at Laird Hamilton. From chest to core to legs and beyond, exercise balls are great for a wide variety of exercises. These exercises, while building strength, also require you to practice balance and stabilization. Don’t pay for all the expensive weights or at-home gym machines. Instead, keep it simple, and do everything you can with a balance ball.