Surf Exercise – How To Train Your Core

Part 2 – Rotational Exercise

Surf exercise: “CORE STRENGTH!!!!” I hear this all the time, and see ab gimmicks, and people wasting their time with countless crunches. You’re a surfer! Train your body to become strong at surfing!

Train your abdominals/ core in a functionally sound manner! Get your core strong in movement that benefits your surfing.

In part 1 of How To Train Your Core, and in the Best Core Exercise post, I told why and how you should begin core training if you’re looking to step up your strength in the water…… build the foundation of core stability.

So now that you’ve done that, and you really should have done that by this point or you run the risk of injury, it’s time to get into some rotational strength movements.

Watch the video here

Both of these movements focus on strengthening the interaction of the back extensors, hip stabilizers, and obliques….. all very good things if you’re looking to smash some fins through some lips and lay down some power carves.

These movements progress from rotational stability to actual movement. If that stability isn’t there you may have some weakness which will drain you of power and open up the door for some back issues…………. no good for your water time.

Both of these exercises are focusing on strengthening the diagonal line of your obliques and your ability to separate your hips and shoulder. This is critical for strong powerful turns, which are the basis for some quality surfing


Shoulders and head should be on the ball, and maintain tall hips….. get those glutes and hamstrings stabilizing your pelvis. That alone has great carryover to actual surfing.

Arms are up towards ceiling, you then rotate over onto a shoulder.

Begin this movement with bodyweight and get clean and concise with reps. Once you’ve got that down, develop a bit more strength by holding a dumbbell or medicine ball between the hands.

To really step it up and work on some power development, AFTER you’ve gotten some strength, work more on speed of movement. You may use a small amount of weight when working on power, but you really should just focus on quality speed of movement.

Save the strength development for another time.


The good old cable wood chop. People butcher these all the time, so check out the vid, and get good with the form.

Your outside hand, the arm away from the cable machine, that is the hand that is placed on the cable handle first…. it’s important so get it right.

Maintain a tall spinal posture. With arms mostly straight, you can have a small bend in the elbow, bring the cable down across the body towards the opposite hip.

Progress the movement by incorporating lateral leg movement as well.

These are both awesome surf exercise movements for developing strength in your core and strength in your rotation…….. so work on them!!!!!

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  • Good information for everyone...I would think that all of us in our every day movements (lifting, reaching, twisting, pulling etc) could benefit tremendously from these exercises, as well as those of us who need them for preparing us for surfing! Thanks for the good explanations and information!
  • [...] Dumbbell Chop with Step – ROTATIONAL TRAINING!!!  Surfers need to be able to rotate strongly, and quickly.  Notice the quick deceleration and acceleration of the dumbbell, while maintaining a stable core.  This movement does not require much weight to truly benefit.  This is one of many rotational exercise variations.  Check out a few more here.  CORE [...]
  • I am loveing this and the other cable videos, you have really turned me on to the cable.  I am doing like 8 different exercises on each side as part of my circuit.  I'm a cable hog at the gym but this is really good stuff that feels usefull.  I'd love to see your version of a complete cable circuit because I know my form could be better on some of the variations I have made up.
    • @keeponkeepnon  cables are one of the few "machines" that I really advocate using.  They're super versatile, and have a lot of functional carryover due to the different vectors of pull.  Really great stuff.  Keep an eye out of a cable circuit..........
  • […] Rotational Core Training […]
  • […] Rotational Core Training […]

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