Surf Workout

Surf Workout
surf workout

Q – What makes the ideal surf workout to help you increase your surfing fitness and improve your performance in the waves?

A – The ideal surfing workouts will involve a number of important factors to make sure you are maximizing your surf training time. Here is the best format in my opinion for the perfect surf workout…


surfing workout

Surf Workout Part 1 – Dynamic Warm-up

The first part of your surf workout should involve a comprehensive warm-up routine where you aim to do a lot more than just warmup your body. The dynamic warm-up should involve exercises that can help improve mobility, activate muscles, correct imbalances and get you ready for the main part of your surf workout.

Mobility exercises are important because in surfing it’s not just about having good flexibility, you also need to be strong and stable throughout your range of motion. Mobility exercises help with this by training your body to actively move through a range of motion.

Also you need to be doing exercises that will activate under-active muscles (like glutes) and correct imbalances like improving thoracic mobility and scapular stability which are both often lacking. Doing all these exercises in your surfer workout dynamic warm-up will help you get the most benefit from your training.


Surf Workout

Surf Workout Part 2 – Functional Strength Training

The main part of your surf workout should consist of functional strength exercises that build total body strength in all 3 planes of movement. Isolated body building or machine exercises should not be the focus, instead you will benefit from training using multiple muscle groups training major movement patterns such as pushing, pulling, squatting, lunging, lifting and rotating.

You don’t need any fancy equipment to get started with your surf workouts, I recommend beginning with a swiss ball and a set of adjustable dumbbells. You can do lots of different exercises that will help improve your core stability/strength, balance and upper and lower body strength and endurance.

Normally I like to structure my surf workouts into supersets where you complete between 2 and 4 exercises in succession with minimal rest before resting and repeating 2-3 times. This allows you to get through more exercises than just doing one exercise, resting, then repeating, etc. In my opinion it is also a lot more fun to train like this.


Surf Workout Part 3 – Energy System Training

Energy system training refers to the cardiovascular component of your surf workout. I call it energy system training because you need to be training both your aerobic and anaerobic energy systems. Aerobic is for longer duration fitness, and anaerobic is for short burst of fitness such as paddling into a wave. Both are important for improving your surfing fitness.

The best way to train your energy systems is doing interval workouts with high intensity intervals broken up with recovery periods. You can do running, swimming, riding, skipping or basically any cardio activity that you like. An example would be 20 seconds hard followed by 40 seconds active recovery. Do this for 15 minutes. This part of your workout can be done after the functional strength exercises, or on alternate days if that suits your schedule better.


Surf Workout Part 4 – Stretching & Flexibility

The last part of your surf workout should involve some stretching to help improve flexibility and aid in muscle recovery. You should be stretching all of your major muscle groups with a focus on the areas of your body that are especially tight. Hold stretches for 20-30 seconds and only to the point of tension not pain.

Surfing Workouts


Download Your Surf Workout Plan

Surf Workout

If you want to get started with a step-by-step surfing workout plan that can help enhance your surf fitness and performance in the water, make sure you download Total Surfing Fitness – Functional Training for Surfers

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  1. Jim Porter

    Hey Clayton,

    Your workouts have helped me. Not sure I’m a better surfer :) due to the limited number of surfing days here in Massachusetts, USA but i am feeling more fit. Thanks for sharing your recommended workouts. I truly appreciate it.


    1. Clayton

      No worries Jim, glad to help out :)

  2. Aram Gerstein

    your program and tips have transformed me and my surf sessions.
    I catch more waves, I surf better and I have more fun. Just like you promised. I am also as fit as I have ever been and getting better all the time.
    At 50, I never imagined it was possible. I wish I had found you 20 years ago!

    Thanks again,

    1. Clayton

      Great work Aram! I’m stoked to hear the program has paid off for you :)

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