Workout for surfers

In a month from now I will be sitting in a line up, catching my breath from yet another fun ride, the balinesian sun warming my back and my legs dangling in the warm waters of the indian ocean … All right, I better stop dreaming! It’s about time I start preparing myself to be physically ready to shred! 🙂

Here is an example of what I will be doing the next four weeks in order to get my arms, shoulders, core and legs in shape for hopefully endless and fun surfsessions, day in and day out. 🙂

First: Warm Up! Never start exercising without a proper warm up. Prepare your joints and muscles for the exercises to come and get your core temperature up. You’ll substantially increase the effectiveness of your workout, while decreasing the risk of injury! Cross trainer, rope jumping, treadmill … Whatever you prefer. Just make sure to involve the whole body in the exercise.

Then: Two quick rounds of Tabata: Perform each exercise for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds and move on to the next exercise. Do two rounds in a row, that is eight exercises.  This will definitely get your heart rate up! 🙂

These are the exercises of the tabata-round:

  • Mountain Climbers Bodyweight and cardio exercise

  • Jumping Lunges

plyometric bodyweight and cardio exercise


  • Burpees

effective bodyweight and cardio exercise

  • Star Jumps

Bodyweight and cardio exercise



Take a couple of minutes to catch your breath and calm down a bit.

When you are ready, start with the workout. I suggest to do each exercise twice, with about 20 to 30 seconds of rest in between. Then move on to the next.

Chin Ups (2 sets of as many as you can manage, 1 minute rest in between)

Best bodyweight back exercise

© njoyrides, picture was taken in the M.I.S.S. Fitness Sportstudio München

I hate chin ups and I am not very good at them, which is why I won’t recommend you a number of reps, as you’ll probably be able to do more … You might as well not need as much time as I do to recover and a shorter break may serve you just as well. So feel free to adjust my way of doing these exercises to your needs.

How to do it:

  • Make sure to draw your shoulder blades down and back and to really engage your lats!
  • Should you not be able to do a chin up, try negative reps: Climb up there and start from the end-position. Then use your strength to lower yourself back down as slowly as possible


Paddling with dummbells (2 sets of 1 Min, 20 seconds rest in between)

Surf prep exercise for arms, shoulders and back

© njoyrides, picture was taken in the M.I.S.S. Fitness Sportstudio München

How to do it:

  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand and lie down on a (workout) bench
  • Raise your upper body as if you were lying on your surfboard
  • Start “paddling”

Make sure to:

  • engage your back, belly and glutes
  • chose a weight that allows you to paddle for 60 seconds


 Hip Lift with Leg Curl on stability ball (2 sets of 50 seconds per side, 20 seconds rest in between)

Exercise working hamstrings and glutes
© njoyrides, picture was taken in the M.I.S.S. Fitness Sportstudio München

How to do it:

  • Lie down on the floor, the lower part of one leg placed on a stability ball, the other leg pointing straight to the ceiling
  • Engage your glutes and lift your hip, till shoulder, hip and knee are in one diagonal line
  • Make sure not to let your hips tilt to one side
  • Bring the heel of the foot on the ball towards your bottom, while keeping a straight line from knee to shoulder
  • Lower yourself back down and repeat

Make sure to:

  •  focus on your glutes, when lifting your hip, in order to avoid that your lower back tries to do the job!
  • start with both legs on the ball, if the single leg version is too intense in the beginning (cramps at the back of the legs are not exactly uncommon). It’s still very effective!


Snowangel (2 sets of 1 Min, 20 seconds rest in between)

exercsie that works your back and glutes

 How to do it:

  • Lie facedown on the floor and extend your arms to the front
  • Engage the muscles in your back, your glutes and your belly and lift your chest as well as your legs off the floor
  • While pulling backwards with your arms, open up your legs, without letting arms or legs touch the floor
  • Bring your arms back to the front, while closing your legs
  • Repeat

Make sure to:

  • engage the muscles of your belly in order to avoid too much stress on your lower back. It’s the thoracic spine we want to bend backwards, not the lumbar spine!
  • keep your legs and arms off the floor
  • open your legs while keeping them off the floor. You’ll feel it in your glutes!


Knee Tucks with stability ball (hands on bosu) (2 sets of 50 seconds, 20 seconds rest in between)

exercise for core and upper body strength
© njoyrides, picture was taken in the M.I.S.S. Fitness Sportstudio München

You don’t necessarily need the bosu ball. Doing this exercise without it is just as fine. But it is a good way to imitate the instability of your surfboard …

How to do it:

  • Get into plank position with your feet resting on the stability ball (You might want to start with your shins lying on the ball and slowly progress to let only your feet rest on it. The smaller the contact area, the more difficult this exercise gets.)
  • Pull your feet towards your chest and pull your knees as far forward as possible
  • Roll back again, making sure to keep the muscles of your torso really tight in order to prevent your hips from sinking downwards. Avoid a hollow back!
  • Repeat

Make sure to:

  •  take a break, whenever you feel your core muscles cannot prevent your lower back from sagging. Definitely avoid a hollow back!


Lunge variations (2 sets per side, 1 min per round; switch sides without pause, rest for 20 seconds before starting the second round)

Lunges are a great way to work the muscles of your legs and your balance
© njoyrides, picture wasAC taken in the M.I.S.S. Fitness Sportstudio München

Unfortunately I did not have the right pic at hand … If you have, take a weight in each hand and put a balance pad or folded towel under your front foot. With some exra weight and a bit of instability this exercise becomes far more interesting! 🙂 I always try to chose a weight that will have my legs on fire at the end of this exercise …

How to do it:

  • Stand with both feet shoulder width apart
  • Take a big step back with one foot and bring the knee of this leg down towards the floor
  • The knee of your other leg should not move over your toes
  • Keeping your feet in this position, straighten and bend your legs again

Make sure to:

  • lower the knee of the “back” leg
  • keep your balance
  • keep your belly muscles engaged in order to avoid a hollow back!


Push Ups on a stability ball (2 sets of 50 seconds, 20 seconds rest in between)

great exercise for upper body strength
© njoyrides, picture was taken in the M.I.S.S. Fitness Sportstudio München

 How to do it:

  • Grab the ball at the sides and come into plank position with your feet a little more than hip width apart (for more balance)
  • Your body should form one straight line between shoulders and feet
  • Now lower yourself down on the ball and immediately push yourself back up
  • No resting on the ball or bouncing off it! 😉

Make sure to:

  • keep your core strong and tight and avoid a hollow back!
  • come down to your knees when the plank position becomes too difficult

Side Plank (this variations also works the inside of your legs …) Aim for 40 to 50 seconds per side (2 sets per side, 20 seconds rest in between)


Side plank variation that also works the muscles on the inside of your leg
© njoyrides

How to do it:

  • Get into side plank, your body forming one straight line between shoulder and ankle (doing this exercise on your elbow is another option and much less stressful for your wrist!)
  • Push with the inside of your upper foot into the mat, engaging the muscles on the inside of the upper leg and of your ankle
  • Pull the knee of the lower leg to the front, then extend it backwards and tap the floor behind you
  • Repeat this move without moving the rest of your body

Make sure to:

  • keep your body in one straight line
  • keep your shoulder away from your ear,
  • keep the muscles of your arm and shoulder engaged
  • come down to your elbow, if there is too much stress on your wrist


Squats (on a stability ball) (2 sets or more of 1 minute … Your legs sgould be burning when you’re done!)

Squat on stability ball
© njoyrides, picture was taken in M.I.S.S. Fitness Sportstudio München

You don’t have to do this on a ball. A balance pad or folded towel is just as fine. But if you use a ball, make sure to secure yourself! I usually do this exercise with two ropes (or the two ends of a sling trainer) hanging from the ceiling on each side of me. Whenever I lose my balance, I hold on to those.

How to do it:

  • Sit back, as if you were about to sit down on a low chair
  • Push your bottom backwards, keeping your belly muscles engaged and your back straight
  • (Your feet should be slightly more than hip width apart)
  • Raise and lower yourself back down, try to remain in the lowest possible position for a certain time … You want to feel the muscles of your legs working! 🙂

Make sure to:

  • keep your knees behind your toes
  • prevent your knees from buckling inwards!
  • only come as deep as you can keep your back straight!
  • (keep your weight on the whole sole of your foot, with a bit more pressure on your heels!)
  • (keep your heels on the floor!)

*() things feel a bit different once you have to keep your balance on a bal … Try it and you know what I mean. 🙂


Down Dog Donkey Kick (2 sets of 1 minute per side, 20 seconds rest in between)

Stretch your body's front, while working your hip extensors
© njoyrides, picture was taken in the M.I.S.S. Fitness Sportstudio München

Really take your time with this exercise and enjoy the way it opens up your chest, stretches your shoulders and the back of leg. Try to make your back and waistline as long as possible. I love this exercise/ stretch! 🙂

How to do it:

  • Start in a plank position
  • Pull your left knee towards your chest
  • Extend the left leg again but keep it off the floor
  • Press back with your arms and shoulders, lift your booty upwards while keeping a straight back
  • Kick with your left leg towards the ceiling
  • Come back into plank position and repeat on the other side

Make sure to:

  • keep your back long and straight
  • engage your core muscles at all times
  • try to keep your hips parallel to the ground


To really power myself out, I do two more rounds of Tabata (as shown above) after the main workout … 🙂 You may as well change the exercises and do high knee jumps, sprints, squat jumps,…, whatever comes to your mind, instead. Just make sure to give at least 90% during the 20 seconds you do each exercise.

Believe me, after this, spending the rest of the evening lazily lying on your couch, has never ever felt so good … 🙂 Well, and you know of course what you are doing this for: Many fun hours in the water, hopefully catching one wave after the other! 🙂

Njoy! 🙂


Please note: the exercises we describe involve very intense bodily strain. Before embarking on these exercises, it is crucial that you undertake a thorough warm-up program. If the exercises are not properly carried out, you stand the risk of injury.
The exercises should only be carried out by healthy individuals. Training whilst ill is of little benefit and can lead to further ailments (for example, issues with the heart muscle). So please, only train when you feel good. If you are unsure, please contact your doctor in advance.
The exercises should only be carried out on suitable ground with the appropriate equipment.
If you should injure yourself due to neglect of these recommendations, we cannot accept responsibility.
We are instructing sport here. Our exercises are no replacement for a healing treatment or physiotherapy. If you require treatment, please contact the relevant specialist.








Comments are closed.