workouts For Surfers
– Additional surf training

Surf traning
workouts for surfers


Surfing Exercises

There are many methods and workouts that will supplement your surfing fitness when it comes to surfing exercises. The goal is to work with your surfing muscles and with your surfing movements and not against them. Heavy weightlifting, for example, might not be the best training for surfing.

The three best surfing exercises, however, are three simple compound exercises: 

  • Pull-ups
  • Squats
  • Push-ups 

These three exercises trigger most of the muscles needed to help your surfing. They emulate the muscles you use and the movements you perform while surfing. There are many ways to put these three exercises together, combined with solid cardio training, to put together a solid surf workout. 

choose the right supplemental workout

To figure out the best surf workout, you need to first understand what part of your surfing you are lacking. There is always going to be an area in your surfing where you are lacking. Even the best surfers in the world have areas in which to improve their fitness and flexibility.  

If you are out of breath when paddling out, then you need to work on your cardio. You need to improve your general fitness level, and regular cardiovascular workouts will do this for you. Cardio training can be in the form of running, swimming, or cycling. All three of these training regimes will soon see you up to your fitness levels and be less out of breath when paddling. 

To improve your paddling strength and endurance, the good old pull-up exercise should be part of your surf workout plan. You do need to address the fact that paddling is always going to be a steady exercise. It is not explosive, so slow and repeated pull-ups will be one of your best workouts for surfing. This is a challenging exercise, but you should already have more developed muscles for this exercise as a surfer.

Squats will build up your leg muscles that are actually used while surfing. Bear in mind that much of your surfing is reasonably quick. Just a few seconds of riding if you’re at a beach break wave.

If you’re surfing a point-break, then maybe slightly longer, but your leg muscles don’t really need to have endurance. Surfing quickly and over short times will be more of an explosive movement. Explosive training will therefore be better training for your leg muscles. Improvement of your leg and core strength, will make it easier to do big maneuvers and turns.

Push-ups replicate the movements your body goes through when popping up to your feet. This is a quick, explosive movement as well. When including push-ups into your surfing workout program, it would be better to do a more explosive variant than a steady program. Jumping push-ups or even burpees would be better. Shorter reps instead of longer reps, with a more explosive variant. 

Try out a specific surf workout program

Putting together your own surf workout plan can be quite overwhelming. You need to have the right knowledge to make sure you focus on exercises that are beneficial for surfing.

Trying out a specific program made by experts could be helpful since it makes the process easy. Following a specific program, will guarantee the right focus and help you to easier build a consistent routine.

This is our favorite surf workout programs:

Surf Strength Coach

Surf training program
  • Improve your surfing
  • Simple workouts
  • Free APP

Independent Surfer

Online Courses
  • 9 different video courses
  • Improve flexibility
  • Fix Your Technique & Surf Posture
  • Beginner - Intermediate

Surf Strength Coach

Bodyweight training program
  • 9 week program
  • Build strenght
  • Improve flexibility

Barefoot Surf Tutorials

  • 29 video courses
  • Build strenght
  • Improve flexibility
  • Learn Techniques
  • Beginner - Intermediate

Surf Strength Coach

Surf athlete program
  • 12 weeks all-inclusive program
  • Understand surf foundations
  • Learn art & skills
  • Improve performance aspects


When doing exercises for surfing strength, one of the side effects is that your muscles and ligaments get protected. For example, running and cycling helps to condition the muscles around your knee, thus protecting this vulnerable part of your body. One of the most common surf injures is torn knee ligaments, so you would do well to protect your knees. 

Incorporating all of this information into a surfing workout program is relatively easy, remembering the more extended exercises and those more explosive movements. You can either get a professional fitness coach or a surf coach to set up a surfing workout program or set yourself up.

Surfing workouts

  • Start off with a good cardio session of at least 30 minutes. Possibly alternating between two of the cardio methods suggested. Most people are proficient in two out the three disciplines, being running, cycling, and swimming.

Then a set of all three exercises, being pull-ups, push-ups, and squats. When doing these exercises, it is essential to remember two crucial facts:

  • Surfers want to be lithe, and they want to be light.
  • Form is more important than numbers. Instead, do 5 push-ups with good form than 20 rushed half-moves with poor form.

An initial program could consist of:

  • Pull-ups: 6 reps, slow and easy.
  • Squats; 12 reps, slow and easy.
  • Push-up, 10 reps fast and explosive, with variants. Wide hand placements, narrow hand placements, clapping push-ups.

A good starting workout would be three sets of the above reps, focusing on form.

There are many possibilities to work these three basic exercises into exciting and varied surfing workout programs. Still, the single most crucial element in it all is consistency in your training. Muscles grow as a result of consistent use, and bodies become flexible due to consistent stretching. 


Stretching is a vital but sometimes ignored element as an exercise for surfing strength. Flexibility belies strength, and that is the basis of surfer fitness. Stretching should be done in the evenings, long after your surfing has finished, as specific stretching exercises put muscles to sleep. It is not ideal to have a big stretch before a surf session.


It is well known that yoga is beneficial, but it is actually one of the best surfing exercises. You can also get many different types of yoga programs, and some of them are full surf workouts. 

One of the most accessible workouts for surfing, especially for the traveling surfer, is rope skipping. It is an essential surfing workout for surfers who want to keep light and lithe and is the easiest to set up. Just pack a rope into your bag when traveling, and bring it out whenever you need to quickly work out, get some sweat going, and continue the process of surfing exercises.  

Get in the ocean

Surfing is the best thing to train for surfing, but it is not the only thing. Keeping fit for surfing is an ongoing process, and as soon as you figure out what works for you, then that’s the process for you to stick to.  

Share with a friend

Free E-book

Learn how to fix
common pop up mistakes
& Improve your surf technique