Surf training – paddle fitness

– This is a guest post by Nadine Gottal of njoyrides.com

 

Surfboard under your arm and leash fixed to your ankle, you stand on the sand, marvelling at the endless right hander peeling perfectly to the shore in front of you.

 

The only thing that stands between you and the ride of your life are the 300 yards of crystal clear, turquoise water, glittering in the bright sunlight… Ughhh, it’s going to be a loooong paddle out! Gritting your teeth, you start making your way out, silently hoping for the current to pick up and drag you out there.

 

When you finally reach the lineup, your shoulders, neck and back are complaining bitterly about the cruel amount of paddle-action, begging you to stop. Your fitness is about to let you down before you’ve even started to surf!

 

Does this sound familiar? To avoid this scenario, you need to get surf training both in and out of the water. When your muscles are prepared, they are much less likely to revolt.

 

Paddle fitness

Nat Cope paddling out in the Maldives

 

There are some easy ways to train for paddle fitness. Even if you can’t surf regularly. Living in Germany, I strongly depend on out-of-water exercises to help me build paddle power prior to my surf trips. I am going to show you my favorite surf training and paddle fitness exercises.

 

Read: Don’t make these 6 mistakes when learning to surf

 

No matter what, always pay close attention to what your body is telling you! Should you be in pain performing any of these exercises, stop immediately. After all, working out and getting fit is about doing your body good, right?☺

 

This first block of paddle fitness exercises is probably the closest you can get to paddling without water. They all work your upper and lower back, shoulders, core and glutes. Simply chose the two exercises you feel you need most and integrate them into your workout routine. Make sure to alternate them from time to time, presenting your body with a new challenge so that your muscles won’t get bored.

 

Swimmer

 

 

Surf training exercises:

Swimmer

Start off with 3 sets of 30 seconds, and 20 seconds rest, making the training intervals longer and the rest shorter as you grow more used to the exercise.

 

How to do it:

  • Lie down on your belly, arms and legs stretched out
  • Suck in your belly towards your spine and keep it engaged and strong during the whole exercise
  • Now raise your chest, arms and legs off the floor by engaging your hip extensors and the
    muscles in your upper back
  • Now move your arms and legs diagonally up and down without touching the floor

 

Make sure to:

  • Engage your belly the whole time
  • Focus on the muscles of your upper back when lifting your chest off the floor
  • Keep your arms and legs off the floor
  • Breathe steadily in and out

 

Reverse-Crunches

 

 

Reverse Crunches

Start off with 3 sets of 30 seconds, and 20 seconds rest, making the training intervals longer and the rest shorter as you grow more used to this exercise.

 

How to do it:

  • Lie down on your belly, with your arms extended in front of you
  • While keeping your toes on the ground engage the muscles of your legs (pull your knee caps
    upwards)
  • Pull in your belly towards your spine
  • Lift your upper body off the ground, lower it slightly and lift it up again, keeping your arms almost at ear level at all times

 

Make sure to:

  • Keep your belly engaged in order to keep your lower back stable
  • Focus on the movement in the upper part of your back (we do not want to over-extend the
    lower back, but instead increase the flexibility of the thoracic-spine and shoulders)
  • Breath out while coming up

 

Lying-Lat-Pull-Down

 

Read: 6 tips on surfing a crowded line up

 

Lying Lat Pulldowns with Gymnastic Band

Start off with 3 sets of 30 seconds, and 20 seconds rest, making the training intervals longer and the rest shorter as you grow more used to this exercise.

 

How to do it:

  • Lie down on your belly, with your arms lying straight in front of you, your hands holding a gymnastic band
  • While keeping your toes on the ground engage your legs
  • Pull in your belly towards your spine
  • Lift your upper body and arms off the ground
  • Pull backwards with both arms against the strain of the rubber band
  • Keep your arms off the floor and your back muscles engaged during the whole set

 

Make sure to:

  • Keep your belly engaged in order to keep your lower back stable
  • Focus on the movement in the upper part of your back (we do not want to over-extend the
    lower back, but instead increase the flexibility of the thoracic-spine and shoulders)
  • Open up your shoulders while bringing back your arms

 

Paddling-on-stability-ball

 

Paddling on a Stability Ball

3 sets of 90 seconds, 30 seconds rest”

 

How to do it:

  • Lie down on a stability ball facing either a cable pulley at hip height, or an elastic gymnastic band you have fastened to something stable
  • Extend your legs so that only your toes touch the ground
  • Engage your back muscles and hip extensors in order to lift your upper body upwards. Keep
    your tummy muscles engaged as well, in order not to overextend your lower back
  • Now make paddling motions with your arms while balancing yourself out on the stability ball

 

Make sure to:

  • Engage your back, belly and glutes
  • Adjust the resistance of the gymnastic band or the weight of the cable pully, so that are you
    are able “to paddle” for at least 90 seconds

 

Paddling-with-Dumbbells

 

 

Paddling facedown with Dumbbells

3 sets of 90 seconds, 30 seconds rest:

 

How to do it:

  • Grabbing a dumbbell in each hand lie down on a (workout) bench
  • Raise your upper body as if you were lying on your surfboard
  • Start “paddling”

 

Make sure to:

  • Engage your back, belly and glutes
  • Chose a weight that allows you to paddle for at least 90 seconds

 

Though the following exercises look far less like paddling, they still work your back and shoulders. Compared to the first exercise block, the focus here shifts a little bit more to training your sense of balance and your core … But as a good sense of balance can hardly be overrated, especially in surfing, I always integrate one of these exercises into my surf workout.

 

Standing-Scale-Rows

 

 

Standing Scale Rows

Start off with 3 sets of 30 seconds, and 20 seconds rest, making the training intervals longer and the rest shorter as you grow more used to this exercise.

Instead of the gymnastic band you can alternatively just hold a bottle of water in each hand.

 

How to do it:

  • Grab a gymnastic band with both hands and step on it with one leg
  • The standing leg can be slightly bent
  • Keeping your back long and straight, lean forward while lifting your other leg backwards
  • Try to bring your upper body and extended leg in a horizontal position
  • Once you find your balance pull with your elbows backwards towards the ceiling, keeping
    your arms close to your body
  • After 30 to 60 seconds repeat the exercise on the other leg

 

Make sure to:

  • Keep your hips and shoulders parallel to the ground
  • Keep your back long and straight

 

Arms-Overhead-Single-Leg-Deadlifts

 

Read: Be a better surfer – The importance of mobility and stretching

 

Arms Overhead Single Leg Deadlift

Start off with 3 sets of 30 seconds, and 20 seconds rest, making the training intervals longer and the rest shorter as you grow more used to this exercise.

 

How to do it:

  • Stand tall and extend your arms upwards
  • Stand on one leg
  • Keeping your back long and straight, lean forward while lifting your other leg backwards
  • Bring your arms, upper body and extended leg in a horizontal position
  • Come back up and switch sides

 

Make sure to:

  • Keep your hips and shoulders parallel to the ground
  • Keep your back long and straight

 

Two-Point-Plank

 

 

Two Point Plank

Start off with 3 sets of 30 seconds, and 20 seconds rest, making the training intervals longer and the rest shorter as you grow more used to this exercise.

 

How to do it:

  • Come into plank position
  • While keeping your hips and shoulders parallel to the ground, simultaneously lift your left-hand and right leg
  • Hold for one breath
  • Then switch sides

 

Make sure to:

  • Keep a straight long back
  • Keep hips and shoulders parallel to the ground

 

 

Don’t feel like getting started? Just think of all the situations when you were wishing to have more paddle-power, think of all the great waves your gonna catch when your muscles work with you and not against you!

 

This is a guest post written by Nadine Gottal of njoyrides.com 

Nadine’s aim is to provide people with workout advice, specifically focusing on the needs of bikers, surfers and skiers. It is much easier to enjoy your favorite ride to the fullest, when you are physically well prepared. If your body knows what’s coming, you will have far more fun on the slopes, trails or waves. You won’t get tired as easily and thus you will be able to spend more quality time on your bike, your skis or your board.

 

Check out njoyrides.com for more great action sports exercises and follow her on Instagram and Facebook.

 

Have you got any surf training or paddle fitness tips you can share with us? Personally, my own paddle fitness is what holds me back in the surf. It’s something I am working on and would love to hear for you!

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