A dynamic warm-up prior to your surf session can help prepare you physically and mentally for whatever the ocean throws at you and will help you maximize your performance out in the waves.
It will also will increase your blood circulation to the muscles, your heart rate and core temperature, range of motion, and the speed of muscle contraction and relaxation. It will help increase your body’s ability to produce greater force to paddle and pop-up faster and maneuver your board with speed, power and flow.
A dynamic warm-up moves the major joints of your body through challenging yet comfortable ranges of motion for about 8-12 repetitions.
Before You Hit the Waves
So before you hit the waves, here are some dynamic warm-up stretches that will help you maximize the movement patterns you’ll use out in the water.
- Ankle circles
- Toe Touches
- Leg Swings
- Squat to Stand
- Glute Stretch
- Lying T-Twists
- Reverse Lunges with Rotation
- Standing Trunk Rotations
- Arm T-Swings
- Arm Circles
Begin by slowly rolling each foot clockwise and counter-clockwise through a safe range of motion. This will help keep your ankles flexible so you can jump to your feet, and maneuver them with ease on your board.
Begin standing tall with your arms above your head. Slowly fold forward with knees slightly bent and reach down toward your toes till you feel a stretch in the back of your legs. This should feel challenging, but not painful. Hold for a few seconds to feel the stretch and slowly return to starting position. This stretch will help increase the range of motion in your lower back, hamstrings and even calves, which is important when you’re in a crouched position in the barrel.
Begin by standing tall, lift one foot off the ground and swing it forward then back. You can assist the movement by swinging the opposite arm forward and back. Complete your repetitions on one side and swap your leg and arm. This movement will help increase mobility in your hips and lower back that will help all your stances in the surf.
Squat to Stand
Begin standing tall with your hands at your sides and your feet shoulder width apart. Bend at your hips keeping your legs straight and reach for your toes. Push your hips back, bend your knees, lower your body into a squat and grabbing your toes whenever you can and pulling yourself down into the deepest squat you can manage. Keep your arms straight and just inside your knees, with feet flat on the ground. Pull your shoulders back as you tighten your entire upper body, arms overhead. This stretch will help you with your pop ups.
Begin by standing tall and place one ankle above the opposite knee. Then, slowly sit back with your hips. As soon as you feel a stretch in your glutes, return to standing. You may place your hand against a wall or a car to help keep your balance. This stretch will increase blood flow to the gluteus to increase the power of your maneuvers.
Begin lying on your back with arms placed in a T. Raise your feet off the ground and have knees bent at a 90 degree angle. Slowly rotate knees through a safe range of motion to one side of your body. Return back to the starting position and repeat on the other side. This will engage the core muscles of your trunk and increase flexibility in your lower back.
Reverse Lunges with Rotation
Begin with feet hip distance apart. Take a stride’s length distance and bend both knees to a 90 degree angle. Then, rotate your torso towards the front leg. You may add an additional stretch by reaching one arm above your head to increase the stretch of the hip flexor. This move will help warm up the lower body, in the stance you use the most when you are surfing. It stretches the hip flexors, which can get very tight if you sit for long periods. This move will also help activate your core and increase ankle stability.
Standing Trunk Rotations
Begin with arms in a T and feet wider than hip width distance. In a fluid motion, rotate to one side and return back to centre to repeat towards the opposite direction. When rotating to the right lift off the left heel as you pivot, when rotating to the left lift off the right heel as you pivot. The spine is your axis of rotation for your core musculature and rotating through your torso helps increase blood flow for a greater transfer of force for executing powerful and rotational maneuvers.
Begin with arms extended to a T, then hug your arms across your chest then return to starting position. This move opens up the chest and stretches the pecs and warms up the shoulder girdle.
Begin slowly rotating arms in a backward circle pattern and then reverse. This move, will increase mobility in the shoulder girdle and increase the circulation to your chest and upper back for paddling.
Now you are ready to hit the water!
After Hitting the Waves
After your surf session do the following static stretches and yoga poses to maintain flexibility, easy mobility and help prevent post exercise soreness.
This is a simple but powerful yoga pose that strengthens the legs, back, arms, and abs and energizes the whole body.
- Stand tall with the feet together or hip width apart, inhale the arms forward parallel to the floor with the palms facing down.
- Exhale and bend the knees, squatting down. Reach the hips down and back as if you were going to sit on the edge of a chair, bringing your weight to the heels of the feet. Do not bring the hips lower than the level of the knees. Make sure that the knees are pointing straight ahead.
- Press the shoulders down and back trying to arch the spine. Relax the shoulders down and back and reach out through the finger tips. Stare at a point on the wall or floor in front of you for balance.
- Breathe and hold for 3-6 breaths.
- To release: inhale and press down into the feet straightening the legs and inhale the arms up toward the ceiling. Exhale release the arms down.
Contraindications: Recent or chronic injury to the hips, knees, back or shoulders.
Variations: A) To make this pose less challenging, place the hands on the knees. B) To make this pose more challenging, reach the arms and gaze up to the ceiling.
- Stand tall, exhale and bend your torso forward hinging at the hips. Bend the knees enough to bring the palms flat to the floor and the head pressed against the knees.
- Feel the spine stretching in opposite directions as you pull the head down and in and press the hips up. Work on straightening the legs to deepen the stretch in the backs of the legs. Imagine someone has a sling under your hips and is pulling you up with the sling.
- Breathe and hold for 4-8 breaths, actively pressing the belly into the thighs on the inhalation.
- To release: bend the knees keeping the back straight, inhale the arms out to the sides and inhale lifting the arms above your head as you straighten your torso.
Downward Facing Dog is a rejuvenating stretch that strengthens the wrists, arms and shoulders.
- Drop to your hands and knees with the wrists underneath the shoulders and the knees underneath the hips.
- Curl the toes under and push back raising the hips and straightening the legs.
- Spread the fingers and ground down from the forearms into the fingertips.
- Outwardly rotate the upper arms broadening the collarbones.
- Let the head hang, move the shoulder blades away from the ears towards the hips.
- Engage the quadriceps strongly to take the weight off the arms, making this a resting pose.
- Rotate the thighs inward, keep the tail high and sink your heels towards the floor.
Tip: If you are very flexible, try not to let the rib cage sink towards the floor creating a sinking spine. Draw the ribs in to maintain a flat back.
This is a pose that strengthens the legs, opens the hips and chest. Warrior II develops concentration and balance. This pose improves circulation and respiration and energizes the entire body.
- Side lunge to the right, turning your foot out and bending the right knee directly over the right ankle.
- Turn the hips and the shoulders towards the front and reach out through the finger tips. Turn and look at the right middle finger.
- Press into the feet, keeping the legs strong. Sink the hips down towards the ground, and reach the crown of the head up to lengthen the spine. Relax the shoulders down and back, pressing the chest forward.
- Breathe and hold for 3-6 breaths.
- Return to the starting position, and repeat on the other side.
Contraindications: Recent or chronic injury to the hips, knees or shoulders.
Modifications: Place hands on hips.
Extended Angle Pose
Extended Side Angle pose opens the side of the body from the feet to the fingers, energizes the body and strengthens the legs.
- From Warrior II pose (with right knee bent), bring the right elbow down to the right knee and inhale the left arm up towards the sky and then exhale the arm over the ear, making a straight line with the left side of your body.
- Keep the right knee bent directly over the ankle, sink the hips down towards the ground, and reach the left fingers away from the left foot.
- Breathe and hold for 3-6 breaths.
- To release: inhale and reach the left fingers up and back into warrior II.
- Repeat on other side.
Contraindications: Recent or chronic injury to the hips, knees, neck or shoulders.
We’d love to hear how these exercises make a difference to your surfing.
Email Nancy about strength training, stretching and massage.