CrossFit is cool, team sports are terrific, and solo activities like hiking sure can bring some zen…but nothing is as amazing as surfing to create unbelievably healthy (and happy!) bods.
Surfing builds endurance and stamina, grows lung capacity, and strengthens pretty much every single part of your body (hello lean legs, buff arms, and kick ass core!) It’s no wonder people have been going ga-ga over surfers’ bodies since the dawn of the sport.
We often get asked how students can best prepare for a week of ripping at one of our Costa Rica surf and yoga retreats. What if they don’t swim laps? What if they hate the treadmill? What if they haven’t been to the gym since 1978?
Never fear! The truth is that every little bit of strength you build will help you shred those waves, so give yourself a break and add in these easy, quick exercises to strengthen your surf bod. (Bonus: Even if you’re a CrossFit maniac, these specific tricks will help you focus on different parts of your body that you might not be used to using!)
1. Squat Through those Tide Ads
Binge-watching the new season of Grace and Frankie? Cheering on your favorite athletes at the Winter Olympics? Catching up on your favorite reality TV? Might as well use those boring commercial breaks to get ready for the waves! Squats are a great way to tone and strengthen your quads and glutes for a rock-solid surf stance that will keep you super stable as you zip down the line. Make sure to squat low like you’re sitting back in a chair, and try to keep your knees at a right angle over your ankles!
Super tip: Have sensitive knees? Instead of squats try holding a wall sit for as long as you can. You’ll lessen the strain of repetitive movement on your joints but still feel the burn.
2. Balance While Putting on Your Boots
Sometimes, you just can’t fit a yoga class into your schedule–but tree pose isn’t the only way to work on your balance! Instead of putting your shoes on sitting down, do it while standing. Keep a fixed eyepoint as you lift up one foot to put on your shoe of choice, then the other. You’ll be making a strengthening game out of a mundane task, AND create a habit that could keep you wobble-proof on your next fast-dropping wave. Bonus points if you can tie your laces this way as well!
Super tip: If you’re having an extra-difficult time maintaining balance, imagine your foot has sunk and hardened into a block of concrete. You’ll be surprised how the mind-body connection can help with your stability!
3. Optimize your Office Space
We all know that jobs working at the computer and hours sitting at desks can cause serious injury and weakness, so why not combat this inactivity at your office? It’s easy to think you need to hit the gym to get strong, but that’s not the case! Commit yourself to doing a timed plank every time you need to take a quick break from your work. It might seem like a simple thing, but this super effective exercise will strengthen your core, shoulders, legs, and arms–even if you only do it once or twice a day.
Super tip: Feel weird getting down on your office floor? Do wall push-ups during your coffee break (making sure to keep your abs tight!) and you’ll gradually strengthen the core, making your pop-up faster and cleaner.
4. Surf in Your Living Room or Hotel Room
What’s the #1 easiest way to get Surf Camp Fit? Pop ups, of course! Pop ups helps tone your surf muscles, build strength, AND create muscle memory that will help you catch better waves, more consistently EVERY TIME you get into the water. Pop ups are the key to surfing like a champion AND looking like one.
Super Tip: Join our 28 Day Pop-Up Challenge to get moral support, learn perfect pop-up technique, and possibly win $500 toward a 2018 surf and yoga retreat!
5. Bend a Bit Before Bed
If you can only commit to ONE of these easy tips to prep for surf, stretching is KEY. But a huge mistake people make is saving it only for pre and post workout. Don’t be a stretching snob! It’s so important to make sure your muscles get a little bit of lovin’ so you can avoid the sore aftermath of a new physical movement. Our #1 therapeutic pose that stretches and strengthens? The Sphinx. Simply lay on your stomach, prop yourself on your elbows with palms flat on the floor, and image lifting your shoulders and neck from your core rather than your arms. For an extra challenge, lift your arms off the ground to make sure your abs and lower back are working!
Super Tip: Do this. Do this. Do this. Do this. Do this. Seriously. A strong lower back will change your surf game AND make hammock lounging all the more comfortable!
Look, we could tell you that in order to be surf fit you have to knock off 100 push-ups before brekkie. We could encourage daily laps of swimming to build up your arm strength. We could recommend resistance training for stamina. And if you’re doing these things, GOOD ON YA. But let’s be honest, if we had a dollar for every time a student told us “I tried to get in shape before surf camp, but I never got around to it…” we’d have a LOT of dollars.
So instead of setting the bar at “Go to the gym 5 times per week before surf camp,” start with however many gym visits you’ll actually DO, and then add in these easy, quick exercises. You’ll be shredding the waves with even more strength when you get to Santa Teresa, Costa Rica!
Need extra convincing? Go ahead and put “Surf Bodies” in your Google image search and prepare to drool.