Top Shoulder Stretches for Surfers

My Go-To Top Shoulder Stretches for Surfers

I can’t stress this enough, especially for men (men tend to be less flexible than women), that you absolutely need to maintain proper flexibility of the upper body. You gotta’ keep your shoulders moving man! For paddling, turns, pop-ups, basically all of surfing, you need optimal flexibility in your upper body. Here’s how to help improve it.

How’s Your Upper Body Posture

Modern life generally equates to bad posture. Too much time at a desk, sitting in front of the

Which shoulder/spine does yours look like?

computer, slouched spines, rounded shoulders, forward head posture, these things will wreck a shoulder joint. A wrecked shoulder joint generally hurts, and that will severely limit your time in the surf. 

When these slouched postures become chronic, tissue begins to tighten, which changes the mechanics of the joints of the upper body. Once those joints are out of ideal alignment, there is a much higher propensity for pain and damage.

Trust me, you want to stay away from damage, it’s not fun, and after two shoulder reconstructions I can tell you that with confidence.

Top Shoulder Stretches for Surfers

Whether you’ve been surfing a lot and have some tension around the shoulders, or if you’re goal is to improve posture and get out of pain, this series of stretches and tissue release is a good place to start. 

You’re going to release a few muscles that chronically shorten with bad postures, and some muscles that are heavily used when surfing. Most of my clients are working on an assortment of these things, and I personally will do this sequence after some heavy surfing.

If you’re on a boat trip, take a tennis ball with you, and get stuck into some tight tissue. If you’re a weekend warrior surfer, just spend 10minutes/day working on this stuff, and it will be a huge step towards improving the health of your shoulders.

For way way way more insight, check out my Stretches for Surfers program

Improve Your Spinal Posture

Another important step in upper body joint health is improving how your spine moves. With a series of gentle mobilisations you can quickly improve the movement capacity of your spine. 

We’ve all seen the guys paddling in the surf that have the “turtle” posture when paddling. They can’t extend their spine, they have to hyperextend their neck to look forwards, and every paddle movement looks like it’s tearing apart their shoulder joint. Don’t be that guy!

Proceed slowly with those thoracic spine mobilisations, as it takes time to improve those terrible postures you’ve been sitting in for the last 20 years. Just like the stretches, spend a few minutes each day working on them, and it will greatly impact your ability to move in the surf.

I consistently preach about taking some time to improve your bodies capacity for movement so you can continue doing what you love in life, which in my case is surfing. Work on these simple stretches and releases, add them to your training program, or work on them while you’re watching tv. Invest some time and effort into your body so you can surf!



Improve the Way You Move
Eliminate Pain, Prevent Injury, and Move Better in the Water.



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