Surfing incorporates all the body's major muscle groups -- plus the skills of balance and coordination -- for a challenging, exciting, all-body workout. Get in shape before a strenuous surfing session to avoid injury in the water. Keep in shape throughout your surfing career to consistently improve skills and work toward riding bigger waves. A solid, out-of-water exercise routine to improve surfing skills should focus on abs, arms, glutes, legs and cardiovascular training.
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Keep your abdominals in top surfing condition with lots of repetition exercises. Aim to complete 100 to 200 sit-ups four times a week. Add in "throw downs" for an extra-difficult workout, where a partner stands above your head as you lie on your back and pushes your legs toward the floor each time you raise them toward your head. Tell your partner to push your legs in a different direction with each push to increase the challenge.
Improve your paddling abilities by strengthening your arms. Include bicep curls, tricep dips, tricep extensions and tricep kickbacks in your free weights routine. Focus on strengthening shoulder and back muscles -- including your lats, traps and deltiods -- with push-ups and assisted weight machines at the gym. Incorporate a 20-minute, circuit-based, weightlifting routine that focuses on shoulder and back muscles in your fitness regime at every other workout session. Expect to feel a difference in your paddling ability in three to four weeks. Stretch carefully between working out and surfing to avoid tearing delicate shoulder muscles.
Increase balance and the speed with which you pop into a standing position on a surfboard by strengthening your glutes and leg muscles. Pick exercises that perform double duty to maximize your workout. Try balancing your hamstrings on an inflatable balance ball, feet in the air, then lifting your butt and lower back off the ground. Roll the exercise ball under your feet by bending your knees and then return to the starting position. Aim for three sets of 15. Add weighted squats to your exercise regime for another glute and leg blaster.
Develop your lung capacity and overall endurance by adding other cardiovascular training elements to your surfing workout. Try swimming to improve paddling skills, shoulder strength and water breathing. Work glutes and leg muscles with indoor or outdoor cycling sessions. Stay fit through the winter with cross-country skiing. Aim to incorporate five hours per week of medium- to high-intensity cardiovascular exercise into your overall workout routine.