Surfing Workout: Lower Body Strength, Power, and Mobility

Lower Body Workout for Surfers

Front squats, lateral hops, single-leg deadlifts, dynamic hip rotations, shrimp squats, crawling squat hops…

That is what lower body training for surfers can and should look like. Training reinforces full range of motion through the lower body, as well as complex movement, yet also strength and power requirements.

Strength training has been misinterpreted for the surf community for far too long.  Squats, deadlifts, and kettlebell swings absolutely have their place right alongside more “dynamic” movement like F.R.C. protocols, gymnastics natural, animal flow, or whatever another new hip fitness movement is taking social media by storm.

*If you don’t know what those names or acronyms mean, don’t sweat it in the least.

Simply have the awareness that strength work is absolutely beneficial, but strength work doesn’t mean “get bulky meathead training”.  What it truly implies is preparing the body, and it’s connective tissues (muscle, ligament, tendon, joint capsules), to produce or withstand the forces that surfing creates or requires. Strength work could be equally considered injury prevention.

A healthy dose of strength work should also come along with a sizeable dose of mobility work, dynamic movement, and drills that reinforce 3-dimensional movement capacity.

Have a watch of my training video above, and now watch this video of Pete Mendia (I’ll always refer to Pete Mendia when possible, I find him to be an epitome of power surfing).  All I want you to do is pay attention to his lower body, it’s movements, and consider the forces and vectors of movement created or absorbed by his lower body.

Do you understand how the drills I demo in the video could help to create durability, strength, and movement capacity in a surfers’ lower body?  I think it’s fair to say it’s pretty damn obvious.

The point is that good ole’ fashioned “strength” work absolutely has its place amongst surf-fitness.  I have all of my clients either squatting or deadlifting in some form or variation. However, my clients are also all working on some more dynamic or non-sagittal plane training as well, like rotation or lateral movement, as that is where the crux of surf movement lies.

*Sagittal plane is forwards / backward in one plane of motion, like a squat or deadlift that is straight up and down. The transverse plane is rotational, and the frontal plane is lateral motion.

I hope you get the gist of what I’m trying to drop onto your brain.  Train in a manner that truly prepares you for the demands or rigors of surfing, and primarily so you can surf fluidly and remain injury free.

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