Physical preparation for surfing: Indo Board and 20 exercises

Surfing is a demanding activity, an amazing combination of strength, power, endurance, balance, flexibility, speed and mental toughness. It's incredibly rewarding, but if you want to take on bigger waves, your fitness level has to be up to par.

Even experienced surfers who spend most of their time surfing the waves stick to a specific training on firm ground and proper nutrition.

Physical preparation for surfing can be tricky because you have to practice on land to perform in the water, mimicking the movements on the surfboard. You have to train your whole body dynamically.

Luckily for you, I've compiled a list of 20 exercises that improve your athletic abilities and your freedom of movement when you are on your board.

Let's start by talking about the ideal equipment for the house when you want to prepare to face the waves on your board...

The indo board for balance

board Indo Board pro natural

The most important thing for extreme sports like surfing is to work on balance. And for that, there is essential equipment at home: the Indo Board or balance board.

It is an essential physical support device for a successful surfer preparation. This ideal tool will not only help you develop total body muscle strength, but also your sense of balance. Every surfer should absolutely try indo board at home between sessions in real or off-season conditions.

The many bodybuilding exercises done using this balance board will help you develop your muscular capacities while working the stabilizing muscles. It's exactly what you need for your physical preparation for surfing at home.

By the way, outside of surfing, you have to understand that this type of constant imbalance training is super effective for a multitude of sports. You will increase your pleasure while developing your body. This ability to control your motor activities in any position will allow you to do complete proprioception work.

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Physical preparation exercises for surfing

To succeed in your specific physical preparation for surfing, I recommend a complete set of exercises to do at home. You can divide them into 2 categories:

  • Classic bodybuilding exercises to develop your strength: These are movements that will allow you to gain muscle volume and tone during your surf sessions or when you are in the water. They work the lower limbs, your abdominal strap and your upper limbs.
  • Exercises in instability: These movements are done with rings, a TRX strapThis is the ideal type of exercise because it exercises all the stabilizing muscles of your body that play an essential role when you are in the water with your surfboard. This is the ideal type of exercise because it involves all the stabilizing muscles in your body that play a vital role when you are in the water with your surfboard. Even good surfers benefit from practicing them as part of a serious training program.

Start with a few stretching exercises, here we go !

Different Variations of Squats

Although many consider the squat to be an exercise for the quadriceps, it is actually a fairly full-body movement. Ankles, knees, hips, and spine take a lot of stress during a surf session, and they need to be as strong as possible.

As you progress, add load and complexity. Here are some squat variations you can try if you want to add a little more challenge to your surf training:

Adjustable dumbbells 24kg

Jump squats or jump squats

Legs apart at least shoulder-width apart, lower into a squat position, thighs parallel to the floor, and jump from this position explosively as high as possible.

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Never lock your knees to avoid hurting your joints. The movement should be as smooth as possible, a real cat!

Single leg squats or pistol squats

This requires a lot of strength and balance.

Stand on one leg with the other stretched out in front and squat as low as you can. You can lean on the back of a chair or a railing until you master the movement and balance.

Bulgarian squats

They are quite similar to the previous one, but a little easier to make. However, the effort remains very substantial and the balance precarious.

Stand up then rest the top of one foot on a support behind you. I recommend a soft support because it tends to hurt the top of the foot in support.

Bend your front knee and lower your back knee to the floor, going as low as you can and keeping your back straight. For an extra challenge, add weight (dumbbells or kettlebells).

Here is a demonstration video with and without weights:

Squats with dumbbells

It is a great classic to gain volume. It requires a load, and a straight bar is usually used with discs in the gym. But I recommend a pair of dumbbells heavy enough to do it at home.

The main reason is that you will take less risk if the load seems too heavy when you are crouching. If this happens, all you have to do is put the dumbbells on the floor. Whereas with a barbell on your shoulders, you can easily find yourself unable to stand up or put the barbell down without injuring yourself.

Here's how to do barbell squats:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart holding the dumbbells firmly in each hand;
  • Go down at least until your thighs are parallel to the ground, more if the ankle joints allow it. Keep the buttocks as far back as possible so that the muscular work does not only rest on the quadriceps, but also on the gluteal or gluteal muscles. You will feel that the weight rests more on the heels than on the soles of the feet;
  • Push hard to come back up, but without locking the knees at the end of the race.

Do 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps. 

Muscle gain with elastics

Turkish statement or Turkish get up

The Turkish statement or Turkish get up is more popular than ever, and for good reason. This exercise has incredible benefits for your overall athletic ability.

In a training program, this whole movement improves mobility, joint health, spinal stability, shoulder control, core strength and more…

Once you have developed your skills and precision in the turkish get up movement, add some weight: up to 20 kg for men and 12 kg for women.

Hold a dumbbell or kettlebell in one hand and lie on the floor on your back or in a sideways position. Raise the weight above your head and stand up using your free hand for support. Look for precision and control of movement, without rushing.

Do 3 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions on each side.

Here is a bodyweight demonstration video:

You will also find an example with a kettlebell and a start in a lateral position in this video.

Push-ups

Good old classic pumps never go out of style. They engage your whole body, strengthen the core, align the spine and improve shoulder control.

When it comes to surfing, a strong upper body means easier ducks and take-offs (standing up on the board). It also prevents shoulder injuries.

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Basic push-ups

If you are new to push-ups, first work on the quality of the movement, in particular to avoid putting too much tension on the shoulders. You can then increase the number of repetitions.

Once you master classic pushups, progress to TRX pushups and gym rings. Add weight by elevating your feet or wearing a weighted vest. You can also gain power by increasing the speed of execution.

TRX ring or strap push-ups

The point of the suspension strap or rings is that the instability forces you to exert extra effort. Your stabilizing muscles will be solicited and your shoulders will strengthen in a more hostile environment.

Slammed push-ups

As for a classic push-up, lower your chest until you almost touch the ground. Come up explosively so your hands leave the floor and you can clap your hands together before putting them back on the floor. Be careful, this requires being used to push-ups and having good control of the movement.

Burpees with push-ups

Burpees are extremely popular today. This drill is great for surfers because it mimics the motion you do when catching a wave and having to take off really quickly. To add complexity, land with one foot in front of the other.

You will see below that you can do even better with an Indo Board.

Lunges

Look at photos and videos of surfers and observe the position of their hips and legs on the surfboard. You will find that the hip joints have to move constantly. That's why lunges should be part of your workouts at home.

Forward lunges

This basic movement engages the entire lower chain. It's easy to do at home and doesn't require any special equipment. 

Stand upright, hands on hips. Take a big step forward and drop the knee of the back leg until it touches the floor. Return to the starting position to complete one repetition. You can switch legs with each rep or do a set of 10 per side.

Do at least 3 sets of 10 per side.

Back lunges

As you will have understood, it is the reverse of the previous exercise. You kick one leg back and lower the knee to the floor before returning to the starting standing position.

Skipped lunges

Step one foot forward and get into a lunge position with the back knee almost on the ground. Jump up and switch sides landing with the opposite foot forward. Repeat until you can no longer maintain good posture.

This exercise requires a lot of energy and stability.

Alternating lunge with rotation of the bust

Stand upright while holding the medicine ball against your chest or with your arms slightly outstretched. Take a big step forward and a lunge. When the back knee is almost on the ground, turn your bust and the ball towards the outside of your front foot (thus towards the right if your right foot is in front).

Dumbbell Walking Lunges

Grab a dumbbell or kettlebell in each hand, palms facing each other. Walk into a lunge with each step, lowering the back knee almost to the floor each time.

Try to do 3 sets of 20 steps. 

Walked lunges with overhead weight

This time you will raise the dumbbells above your head as if you were doing a shoulder press. Stay in this pose and engage your abs. Walk, doing lunges with each step as in the previous exercise.

Remember to keep your core tight throughout the set.

Surf physical preparation with Indo Board

Physical preparation for surfing
A surfer on a wave

It's a piece of fitness equipment that's both simple and ingenious. The Indo Board was created by an indoor surfing coach and is an effective way to spice up your workouts. They consist of a board used in balance on a roller. There are different models with different plank lengths and widths. 

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The goal of this material is to improve your balance and build your core strength. Note that surfers are not the only ones to appreciate and use this equipment.

Here are the best exercises on a balance board for your surfing physical preparation:

Push-ups on Indo Board

Get on your knees and place your hands on the board balanced on its roller. The distance between the hands depends on the muscles you want to work on first. Up to shoulder width, you concentrate the efforts on the triceps, beyond that, the pectorals take over.

Lift your knees off the floor and step your feet back a little. Find your balance and do as many push-ups as possible.

Board resting on the Indo Board

As with the previous one, get on your knees and place your hands with your arms straight or your elbows resting on the board. 

Lift your knees and keep your body straight, as straight as possible while maintaining your balance on the board. Hold the position for as long as possible.

Squats on the balance board

When you're surfing, you need to get low on the board and be able to generate a lot of power in your thighs and legs. This exercise will help you apply that force evenly. Stand with your feet on the outside edges of the board, hands in front of you, and do good old-fashioned bodyweight squats. Not so easy to balance!

Squats with a kettlebell or dumbbell in the air

It's an effective way to make Indo Board squats even harder. This involves doing exactly the same as the previous exercise while holding a dumbbell or kettlebell at arm's length. 

Do 10 squats if possible, then repeat, switching arms to hold the weight.

Shoulder press with a kettlebell

Stand on the Indo Board with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold a kettlebell with one arm between your legs. Lift the kettlebell up to your chest. Rotate your arm outward and bring the kettlebell up to your shoulder, then lift it above your head. Return to the original position. This counts as one repetition.

You can see some of these exercises as well as others in this English video:

Surf physical preparation: Conclusion

The above exercises alone are not enough to make you a better surfer. They are simply meant to make you a fitter, stronger and more physically capable person. All of this will definitely improve your skills in the water.

Among the movements of specific physical preparation for surfing that you have discovered in this article, the most important are those that work on balance at the same time as strength. They will have a significant impact on your abilities in real conditions.

Surf training isn't just about getting fitter and getting leaner and more flexible.

It takes patience, mental toughness and a lot of motivation to become a real surfer.

If you know of other particularly effective physical preparation exercises for surfing, do not hesitate to share them in the comment box below. THANK YOU !

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