Ask any new surfer and they will often be shocked at how exhausting paddling around with the occasional successful pop up can be. The sport is for anyone looking to enjoy the ocean, but strength definitely makes it a whole lot easier.
What springs to mind when you hear the term ‘strength training’? Years ago, lifting weights in the gym was mainly associated with bodybuilders and men on the front of Men’s Health, but there’s been a significant shift in thinking. Recent advances in sports science means that many big-name surfers, such as Nathan Florence and Koa Smith, are reaping the extensive benefits of supplementary strength training to improve surf performance and reduce injuries. But you don’t have to be a pro to see the benefits of strength training. Whatever stage we’re on in our surf journey, we all have the same goal: catch more waves.
Increase paddling speed and power
It’s safe to say that most surfers, of all abilities, want to improve their capacity to paddle with power. As a result of improving your paddling endurance, you’ll have the ability to catch more waves and feel less fatigued, thus enhancing your wave riding. For the majority of us, there are no quick fixes to improve our paddling; however, there are strategies we can implement consistently to boost our efficiency and overall wave riding experience.
If you feel like your hands get ‘stuck’ when you’re trying to bring them out of the water to take a stroke, or you fatigue unusually quickly, improving your upper back and shoulder mobility with these exercises may be a great place to start.
Strength training tips for paddling power
At Kosin, we work closely with Ollie at Surf Fit Academy who offers online coaching to help you get into better shape for when you get in the water. Here are Ollie’s top tips:
Dead Bugs - 3 sets, 12 reps
- Lay on your back with your arms straight, directly over your shoulders, and your hips, knees and ankles at 90-degree angles
- Engage your core and don’t arch your lower back throughout the movements
- Keep your left arm and right leg exactly where they are, then slowly reach your left arm backward over your head toward the floor as you simultaneously extend your right knee and hip, extending your right leg towards the floor
- Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side
Eagles - 3 sets, 6 reps
- Lay on your side with arms and legs straight
- Rotate the upper body to open-up the chest and bring the top shoulder to the floor
- At the same time, bring the top knee close to the floor on the opposite side. Pause for 1-2 seconds. Return to start position.
Floor slides - 3 sets, 8 reps
- Lay down on your back with your feet on the floor
- Bring your arms up, keeping the backs of your hands, shoulders and elbows against the floor with your thumbs at about the height of your head
- Slowly slide your hands above your head
- Reach them as high as you can whilst keeping your arms in contact with the floor, without arching your lower back
- Pause, lower then repeat
Whether you’re just starting out, or looking to advance, have a go at these exercises to help build strong shoulders and arms, perfect for paddling out and riding those waves back to shore. When you’re not in the water, why not kit you and your family out with some of our escapism inspired limited edition apparel?
At Kosin, we are all about embarking on outdoor adventures with friends and family and getting back to nature. Check out our collection of sea and nature inspired, 100% cotton t-shirts, sweatshirts and hoodies for men, women and kids from some of the best designers and illustrators here.