Archive for the ‘athletic training’ Category

Functional Upper Body Training for the surf…   Leave a comment

Matt Griggs once said that the explosive part of surfing comes from the actual surfing of the wave. Once you stand up, your speed generation, your quick reaction times, and your power through maneuvers all revolve around your ability to turn on your fast twitch muscles. Obviously, if you’re surfing a long wave then you need a little bit of endurance in the core and leg muscles so you can stay springy the whole way through. However, the paddling portion is supposed to be when you’re recovering or when you’re catching your breath. I don’t entirely agree with that BUT for the sake of argument we’re going to talk about ways to strengthen the upper body without compromising muscle length or flexibility.

Paddling alone makes you pretty darn strong but if that’s all you’re doing then you run the risk of acquiring imbalances in the upper body. It’s important to work everything but not with heavy weight. Most of these you can do with your own body weight or very light dumb bells. When doing these exercises, don’t concern yourself with how much much volume. Just get through as many reps as it takes to feel the burn in the target areas. So without further delay…

*Push-Ups-It sounds rudimentary but it’s shocking to think how many times you do this a session. The great part is you can start with the normal version on flat ground or an incline and then you can move on to clap push ups, plyo push ups on to a medicine ball, or even push ups with straps. The chest is a big muscle and this is very important for strengthening that part of the shoulder girdle.

*Pull-Ups-That burning feeling in your back when you’re pulling through a paddle…that’s your lats and they get worked hard through pull ups. Think these three grips: palms away, palms facing you, and palms facing each other. All work the back but throw in other muscles like the rhomboids, low back, and biceps.

*Raises-Try this. Grab a pair of five pound weights. Lift them in front of you up to shoulder height 20 times. Then lift them out to the side 20 times. Then holding a band in front of you pull it backwards. BAM! You’ve hit the entire deltoid. That’s the potato looking muscle that connects your shoulder blades to your arms. It should burn a lot through this three part circuit because you’re hitting the front, lateral, and rear parts of it.

*Rows-With one knee on a bench, let the dumb bell drop and pull it back up towards your body. These are for your traps and rhomboids. These are muscles in your back that bring your arms back to the body or PULL. If you’re looking to challenge yourself, get in push up position and hold on to the dumb bells and row them up that way one at a time. Try to keep your hips level.

*Back Extensions-When you’re paddling and constantly keep your head up to see what the waves are doing, this takes strength in your low back’s erector muscles. These are what allow the back to extend up. Place your heels behind the pads and lay your torso over the front. Lower yourself down and then come back up to starting position.

Key thing…make your reps high around 15-20 and make sure you’re feeling the burn. The important part is not to throw around a lot of weight. It’s to use good form and increase the endurance in those muscles.


“Experience is the teacher of all things.”-Caesar