Warming up before surfing. Are you doing it right?

February 2, 2017

Witch’s Rock Surf Camp is presenting monthly surf fitness articles by Saltwater Fit, a local Tamarindo fitness & nutrition company creating a movement around accessing joy through exercise. Founders Nick Holt and Julie Gohring have been living in Tamarindo for over 7 years and surfing for a combined 15 years. They teach beach boot-camps through Nick Holt Fitness and help people all over the world feel and look their best through their remote online coaching programs. 

We all know that fitness is critical for any surfer, so we’re super excited to team up with Saltwater Fit and give you tips and exercises to best prepare you for your trip, help you last longer in the water, and make sure you stay injury free. Nick and Julie will also be presenting weekly surf fitness seminars at Witch’s Rock starting this month! Here is their first article…

How To Warm Up For Surfing.

Or, “why looking silly on the beach might just keep you in the line-up longer”. I know the feeling – the day has come. Your grin couldn’t be wider. Nothing will wipe that smile off your face. Your surf trip has finally arrived. You’re ready to rock it.

It’s finally go-time. The surf is up, the tide is right and waves are coming in. You are itching to get out there. I know the last thing on your mind is stretching or warming up, but let me tell you why it’s so important to spend a few minutes on the beach getting loose before your session. In fact, these 5 minutes of pre-surf warm-up could save your ass from injury. And they will most definitely get your body ready for the demands of surfing so that you can last longer in the water and have more fun. Now we’re talking right?!

What NOT To Do Before Surfing – Static Stretching

When we’re talking about stretching and warming up, it’s vital that you do the correct type of warm-up. What you absolutely SHOULD NOT do before a surf session (and before any sport for that matter) is static stretching where you hold a stretch in place for a given amount of time. An example of a static stretch would be a toe touch where you bend over with straight legs and try to touch your toes holding the position. This can be effective at lengthening your hamstring muscles, but it’s not what you want to do before your session. The research is pretty clear showing static stretching prior to sport activity can be harmful to performance and reduce power output.

What To Do Before Surfing– Dynamic Stretching

You want to focus on dynamic stretching where you keep the movements active and take the joints through full ranges of motion. The objective of your pre-surf stretching should be to circulate blood flow to your muscles and activate your neuromuscular system – the connection between muscles and your nervous system that allows for movement. Arm circles are a great example of a dynamic stretch. A basic lunge with a twist is a great surf-specific dynamic stretch. Or harness your inner yogi and perform a few sun salutations. Whatever you’re feeling on that particular day, as long as you spend a few minutes increasing your heart rate, moving all your joints through ranges of motion, and getting surf-specific muscles ready for action.

Once again, the main objectives of any good warm up are as follows:

-Increase heart rate and body temp
-Ready joints for movement
-Increase blood flow to muscles
-Warm up soft tissue so movement becomes easier

Because surfing is such a dynamic sport that demands both strength and flexibility, it’s vital that you spend at least 5 minutes preparing your body for those demands. You’ll not only protect your body from injury, but you’ll also last longer, paddle stronger, and ultimately have more fun.

And really, at the end of the day, isn’t that what it’s all about!?

Here’s a great 5-minute warm-up you can do before your next session.

Here are 6 exercises (and the specific muscles targeted) to do before every surf session. Spend about 45-60 seconds on each one and you have a great 5-minute surf specific warm-up.

-Cat and cow poses on all fours – get spine moving
-Jog in place w/ high knees – get heart rate up, increase blood flow to muscles, activate hip flexors
-Arm Swings – active shoulder and trap muscles
-Torso rotation w Lunge – activate core rotational muscles, hips, and majorleg muscles
-Standing or sitting Hip circles – open and activate hips
-Walk it out push-up – activate chest, arms, core, and increase blood flow

I hope you guys enjoyed this article. Make sure you warm up the proper way and I’ll see you in the water.

If you want more surf specific stretches, exercises to surf stronger and better, you can grab my free #1 Surfer workout here.


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