Photo by Todd Walsh
Good posture and alignment—while beneficial to everyone—is critical for athletes. And surfers are no exception.
Understanding good posture and how to maintain it throughout your surf session is key to your surfing health and longevity. Before you start training, let's look at the three positions that occupy most of your time during a surf session: your paddling position, your resting position (sitting on your board), and your surf-stance position.
The following exercises can help improve your posture and alignment while in the water.
The Human Dart
To strengthen your posterior core
and create good alignment and paddling endurance
Lie face down on an exercise ball with your feet braced against a wall. Your rib cage should hug the ball. Make your legs straight, tighten your gluteal muscles, and lift your chest so you make a perfect diagonal line from your ankles to your ears. That line should connect through your knees, hips, and shoulders. Now pull your arms to your sides, rotate your thumbs away from your body, tighten your triceps muscles, and squeeze your shoulder blades down and together. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Repeat 10 times. You will feel this exercise along your entire back side.
Tip: Yes, the ball pushes right against your stomach, so breathe by expanding into your back and chest. Have a mirror or a partner to help get proper alignment. As you get stronger, hold a one to five pound weight in each hand.
The Pre-Surf Warm Up
Sitting on your board for prolonged periods can tighten your hips and quads.
This tightness can throw off your surf stance by forcing you to lean too far forward. An excessive forward lean is bad for your style and bad for your back. Do reverse lunges as part of your warm up to lengthen the hip flexors and warm up your legs.
Take a big step backwards and drop your back knee towards the sand. Reach up with your arms to lengthen the front of your body. Alternate your left and right legs, with 10 to 15 repetitions. Include this exercise as part of your warm up every time you work out or surf.
Tip: Keep both knees at right angles when you drop into your lunge, and keep your core braced to prevent your lower back from overarching.