Surfing Tips: Core Strength, Warm Ups, & Riding the Wave

Written By: Adam Gresh, DPT & our Mountain Lakes, NJ staff

Surfing is very similar to swimming in that the surfer paddles with the arms. However, the entire lower body is responsible for staying on the board.

In this article, we’ll talk about the importance of core/lower body strength, tips for an effective warm-up, and how to get ready to ride the wave.

Core & Lower Body Strength

Once the surfer is at the position where they are waiting for a wave, they sit up which requires core strength and stability. Once a wave is chosen, the surfer paddles quickly to the wave.

After that, they push their whole body up to a standing position and catch the wave. Maintaining the standing position requires good balance in the core and lower body.

Warming Up

A cardio warm-up for endurance will benefit the surfer. Going for a jog on the beach before stretching will warm up the muscles and get the surfer ready to endure strenuous movements

When paddling, the shoulders and upper back are primarily used. Dynamic stretches would be most effective because paddling requires movement through full range of motion.

For the shoulders, arm circles and child’s pose to stretch the back will greatly increase the mobility of both shoulder and upper back.

Riding The Wave

Once the surfer is ready to ride the wave, the core is primarily used.

As stated before, sitting on the board requires core strength and stability. Jumping jacks and mountain climbers will help with injury prevention.

Doing simple exercises such as pushups will mimic the motion of standing up on the board. Along with the core, balancing on the surfboard uses the knees, ankles, and lower leg muscles.

Stretching the quads, glutes, calves, and hamstrings will help to keep muscles loose during the quick bursts of motion. These muscles also help stabilize the knee.

Ankle rotation prior to getting in the water will cover ankle mobility.

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