Fitness for Surfers – By Cameron Mercer.

Fitness for Surfers – By Cameron Mercer.

FITNESS FOR SURFERS. By Cameron Mercer. 

Cameron Mercer

When it comes to designing a program for surfers I make sure I take into account the key elements associated with the action. If you break it down, first into time spent performing each action and then the part of the body used you come up with approximately the following.

Paddling :  70 to 80%   – Back/triceps/shoulders

Duck diving : 5 to 10%   – Chest/core

Breath Holds: 5 to 10%  – Lungs

Take Off : 5 to 10%  – Chest/core

Riding the wave: 10 to 20% – Legs/ Core

What does this tell us? Surfers need a considerable amount of strength endurance in the upper body (especially the back) so activities suitable to develop this (other than surfing of course) are swimming, boxing and weights (3 sets 20 to 30 reps)

Duck diving and take off requires explosive pushing strength couple with core strength and flexibility over short intervals. Great activities to help improve this include pilates, yoga and weight training (body weight exercises)

Breath holds are another key component especially in larger waves. I find holiding my breath in rest intervals when training really helps.

Riding the wave is usually also for a short period of time so you therefore need your legs and core to be powerful for periods of 30 to 60seconds. Strength, power, flexibility and balance are key. Once again Pilates and yoga are fantastic to improve these qualities. Strength training or gymnastics in the gym or outdoors is also highly beneficial. Circuit training involving leg and core exercises for a period of 30secs to 60secs with a rest of 10secs to 20secs is my recommendation.

In summary when thinking about exercise, other than surfing, to develop fitnesss you have to take into account the key elements involved.

Upper Body -> Strength endurance (paddling) explosive push strength (take off / duck dive) Core strength (duck dive, take off, riding)

Lower Body -> Strength/Power (riding) Flexibility (riding) Balance (riding)

Happy Surfing!

All the best in health,

Cameron Mercer


About the Author: