Six Exercises to Make You a Stronger Surfer

Surfing is a physically demanding sport, and sometimes cross-training is a great way to up your fitness and improve your surfing. Often, making little improvements in your strength can go a long way in enhancing your paddling, pop-up, and balance.

By performing a few simple exercises on dry-land, just a few days per week, you might notice significant improvements in your surfing. Increasing your dry-land fitness will prepare you for long days in the water, will help prevent you from becoming easily fatigued, and give you the strength you need to perform many surfing maneuvers.

Plus, if you’re like most of us, you probably don’t have time to get out and surf every single day. Consider replacing your surf session with a quick strength-training workout at home.

It doesn’t take a fancy gym to improve your surfing.

Here, we’ve listed a few simple exercises that require no equipment, but are still fantastic for working out all the muscles you use while you’re out surfing:


Having a strong core is imperative for anyone looking to improve their surfing. You might not realize it, but you’re engaging your core the moment you lay down on your board.

The plank engages your core in a way that is very similar to balancing or standing up on your surfboard. Next time you go to pop-up on your board, you will realize that you’re briefly performing a plank. If you can hold a plank for 5 minutes, you’re going to notice having more balance on your board.


It takes a lot of leg strength to maintain balance while you’re steering your board and performing maneuvers. Surfing is dynamic, so good surfers are never standing up perfectly straight on top of their board. Skilled surfers are always bending and flexing at the knees to get the best ride out of their waves.

By performing squats on land, even if they’re un-weighted “air-squats,” you’ll be strengthening your legs for their next ride.


During your pop-up, you’re mainly performing a fast push-up. By performing push-ups on dry land, you can build up the shoulder strength you need on the water. If you can complete 100 strict push-ups, which is a hardcore goal for many of us, you will be able to hit your pop-ups all day long.


When you’re paddling out into the surf, you’re performing a pulling motion that activates your shoulders and back. Many surfers, especially novices, will become fatigued after paddling through a set of large waves.

For surfers looking to improve their paddling strength, the pull-up is the ultimate upper-body exercise. Pull-ups activate your muscles in a way that’s nearly identical to paddling, and they’re a fantastic way to improve the strength in your back and shoulders.

If you can’t perform a single pull-up you shouldn’t feel discouraged, most of the human population is incapable of doing a pull-up. So start small, and work your way up. Consider using bands or machines that make pull-ups easier, and keep working until you get one and then do two!


For those unfamiliar with burpees, here’s a quick description: lay flat on your stomach, stand up straight as fast as you can, and then jump straight into the air with your hands above your head.

Excruciating and straightforward, the burpee is a significant cardiovascular and strength conditioning exercise. You will notice the second half of a burpee is similar to popping up on a surf-board, so quickly performing burpees can be an excellent way to condition your body for a quick pop-up.


Yoga can be an excellent way to improve your flexibility, which is essential for keeping your body healthy and agile on the surf-board. Also, many yoga poses will help you develop your balance and body awareness, which is critical for riding any wave. Further, many yoga poses double as intense core workouts, which can be vital for your surfing fitness.

You don’t have to go to an expensive studio to get in a yoga workout. Yoga can be done anywhere, whether you’re in a studio, the park, or your living room. Plus, if you don’t feel like paying an instructor, there are plenty of videos on the internet that can help you learn the basic poses for free.


It seems like people either love or hate running. If you’re the type of person that hates running (which is most people), we’re just asking you to give it a second chance. You don’t have to train for a marathon, lace up a good pair of shoes a couple of times a week and go for a run. You’ll appreciate your new-found fitness out in the waves. Just remember to stretch after.

Running is a great fitness builder, and all you need is a pair of shoes. It’s a fantastic cardiovascular exercise that simultaneously builds up the strength in your legs and improves your balance. If going for a monotonous jog sounds annoying to you, mix it up by running at various speeds and distances two or three times a week.


Adding in some simple strengthening workouts is a great way to improve your overall health, while maintaining your surfing fitness on the days you can’t get out to the waves. You don’t have to worry if the weather is terrible because with the exercises mentioned above you don’t have to get out into the surf to train.