Surf training programs are popular among today’s top surfers. A glance at their Instagram accounts and you will see it for yourself. Pro Surfers are enhancing their training routine with surf-specific workouts outside the water.
Presumably, the dryland sessions can help the world’s best surfers to perform at their highest level and give them an edge back in the ocean. Or, possibly these days, the wave-pool!
While there are many factors that contribute to their success, their surf workout program might still have some merit. Surely, professional surfers would not waste their time and energy on training that did not deliver, would they?
But how about you? Could such program make you a better surfer, too? Let’s find out!
We have interviewed the Ericeira-based Surf Development Program founders, Merit and Dale, who explain how you could develop your surf-fitness in the gym. The pair breaks the workout down into small chunks. This makes it easy to follow.
Can a surf training workout program help me to become a better surfer?
Absolutely! Unlike online programs that just make you sweaty and sore, ours include a variety of surf-specific exercises that ensure progression, whilst developing confidence and performance in the water.
As surfers ourselves, we know it’s essential to incorporate unilateral (one-sided) and core training to pinpoint muscle imbalances and improve stability.
How can a surf training program help me with improving my performance?
Here is what you should focus on to become a better surfer: muscle strength, mobility, power, stamina…
I can give you a few examples.
Work core strength for stability on the board
The core is our central point, the connection between the upper and lower body – and its strength is vital for anyone to surf with balance and control. Our cores bend, twist and compress in order to create stability on our boards, execute big rotational turns, or even to just cruse the face of a glassy wave.
Throughout the program, we focus on building strength within our core’s multiple planes of movement – flexion, extension, and rotation – to ensure solid performance in the water.
Improve your mobility for better pop-up and tackling imbalances
Next, think about your pop-up. Do your feet always land perfectly where they need to be, or does your front foot often get stuck due to a lack of mobility?
Mobility is the combination of flexibility and strength. Good mobility allows our bodies to perform in tricky positions with a full range of motion and reduces our risk of injury.
Your knees may be flexible enough to get you into a deep squat on your board. But, if your glutes aren’t strong enough to lift you out of that squat and back to a standing position, you will need to work on your mobility to ride out that wave even better next time.
Surfers are often in specific positions that will create immobility in certain areas. In our mobility sessions, we target common trouble spots that surfers have and help you to move bigger, better and more confidently.
Think about your surf stance. Are you a back-foot or front-foot surfer? Chances are, this leg will be slightly stronger for you. Unilateral work is the key to evening out these differences.
Work muscular and cardiovascular Stamina for long paddle-outs and duck-diving big sets
Whereas strenght is the ability to lift a maximun weight once, stamina is the ability to lift that weight repetidely.
It probably comes as no surprise that we also need good muscular and cardiovascular stamina when enduring long paddle-outs, holding our position in a strong current and duck-diving big sets. Most of our sessions will include some sort of cardiovascular component because it’s something that can quickly be improved for most people.
Often, surf sessions are cut short due to strong currents and tiring conditions. Having a higher level of muscular and cardiovascular endurance will extend the time for which you can perform before fatigue kicks in, and will allow you to sustain difficult surf conditions for longer.
Improve your explosiveness for power paddling and snappy maneuvers
Additionally, power – the combination of strength and speed- is another important component of the program. We need explosive power when paddling into waves and performing snappy maneuvers. Therefore, we implement specific exercises in our sessions to improve this.
Choose low impact power training exercises to preserve your knees
Now, this doesn’t just mean lots of jumping – hello people with fragile knees! Merit and Dale have many low-impact alternatives that mimic power movements, without needing your body to actually leave the ground. Power training is simple and effective and is a sure way to prepare you for the upcoming winter swells.
Tell us about your own surf training, the Surf Development Program.
The surf development program focuses on all the things above and more. It has been designed by two certified trainers, with functionality and surf performance at its core. This includes strength, mobility and conditioning sessions.
On top of that, all participants of the program are provided with individualised tracking to monitor progress made over the duration of the program.
Our programs are 4-weeks long, with the majority of sessions taking place in a fully-equipped gym, only 2km from Ericeira town centre. Other sessions take place at the beach, if the weather conditions allow for it.
Spots are limited to just 8 people to ensure quality coaching and individual attention at all times.
How do I book myself in for your surf training program?
Drop @Merit.fit or @Dalewallington a message for more information. Look forward to training with you soon!
To read about surfing in Ericeira, check our blog post Big Waves And Local Surf – Antonio Neto Talks.
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