Why you Need to Train your Lower Body for Surfing (and how to do it)
How often is it that by the end of a long wave we suffer from “jelly legs.” Though nothing outrageous happened on that wave, even if you were simply cruising along…our bodies will let us know about it later. This indicates to us that our lower bodies are quite often neglected when it comes to “surf fitness.” We think arms, we think shoulders, we think lower back, but what about those muscles that simply allow us to stand up? Yeah, exactly…we kind of need those!
Surfers use their lower body to compress and extend, to release and to take the brunt of impacts through turns. Our quadriceps (our legs) are the biggest muscle in our body and can quickly tire from having to constantly hold us on our boards. Having a powerful lower body is essential if you are wanting to land progressive manoeuvres or stay up and riding on those longer waves.
In surfing we use both our anaerobic and aerobic energy systems. In short our bodies require oxygen for continuous movement such as paddling, and standing on the wave, but we also complete movements that do not require oxygen – short explosive movements such as pop ups, sprint paddles to catch waves and compression from big turns. We need to be fit for both types of movements, as both are happening continuously throughout a single session.
If our legs begin to fatigue, our balance is directly compromised. We need to remember that the body and board are interrelated. If you have a strong foundation, literally, it basically is going to make it easier for the rest of your body. With strong legs, ready to endure what ever the wave requires we are able to stay more stable and composed. If we are more stable, we requires less assistance from the other muscle groups that try to compensate for our shortcomings.
We want our lower body not only to be able to be strong statically (movements that are still) but we want our lower bodies to get used to compressing, holding that compression, and using that energy in a safe way that will prevent injury. Movements that require you to jump up and land softly will help you to understand the value of compression and how we do not want to waste that energy. After all, compression and extension (the release of compressed energy) is the foundation of creating speed in surfing. And we all know how important speed is for surfing.
The Surf Box workout is created to help build explosivity and muscular endurance in the lower body, mainly through anaerobic exercises. To build explosivity, ensure that the exercises are done will full effort. If you want to really build your endurance, try have as little rest as possible (30 seconds maximum) between exercises. If you have weaker knees please think carefully about completing the workout as a lot of energy will be flowing through them upon compression. For results I would suggest doing this program 3-4 times a week. If you find the program getting much easier over time, increase the repetitions of the exercises up to 30 (no more than.)
Enjoy, work hard and keep safe. Grab a workout partner and do it together. Be accountable, push each other and get ready to surf stronger.