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Surfing, An Excellent Full-Body Workout

08th November 2014
Surfing full-body workout

Surfing isn’t usually perceived as a workout, but it’s an excellent way to shape your body, burn some extra calories and build a strong physique, as well as to train your heart and improve your stamina. This sport requires not only muscle strength and endurance, but also flexibility, coordination and balance, so it’s not too much to say that a surfing session can be an enjoyable and entertaining full-body workout.

Depending on the technique and position used, you can target different muscles while surfing. Even if you’re a beginner and you’re just pushing the water with your arms or standing on the surfboard, you can still get a thorough workout, as your core muscles have to work hard to maintain the body’s balance, and your arms and shoulders are also engaged.

surfing workout

Muscles engaged by surfing

When standing or turning the board, your abs and lower body are working, and your back muscles are engaged when you’re sitting on the board, awaiting a wave. But let’s take a look at the most common surfing positions and see which muscles are engaged by each of them.

Paddling engages mostly the upper body, your arms and delts playing a huge role in pushing the water and moving the surfboard forward. To make sure you don’t get injured and to enjoy this sport at its best, train your biceps, triceps and deltoids regularly. The deltoid muscles is located in the upper back and shoulder area, and works hard when you paddle, so you need strong arms, shoulders and back for this technique. Although the core muscles and lower body aren’t engaged while paddling, you can still work them with the next two techniques.

To pop up on the board and maintain your balance and stability you need not only strong arms and chest muscles, but also strong legs, as the hamstrings, quads, glutes and calves work very hard during this movement. The biceps, triceps and delts are still engaged, and the trapezius, which is a large back muscle, is also involved, so again you burn a lot of calories and need a lot of energy for performing this movement.

When you sit on the board and await a wave, your core is engaged, the abs and lower back muscles being responsible for maintaining the balance. While riding a wave, if you turn the board you engage the abdominals, mostly the obliques, but also the deltoids and the upper arms. The core muscles work to maintain balance, so surfing is excellent not only for toning the arms and legs, but also for building a strong and shaped abdomen.

surfing muscles

Burn calories, train your heart

Given that all your major muscle groups are worked during a surfing session, such a workout can burn a lot of calories and can contribute to weight loss and fat reduction, helping you build a leaner and more attractive physique. Surfing is a low impact activity, so the risk of getting injured is lower than during conventional gym workouts, but you need to stretch before jumping on your surfboard, and to make sure you maintain the proper posture throughout the surfing session.

This sport is great for improving the heart health, for enhancing circulation, relieving tension and reducing stress, and it’s also very effective in stimulating the production of feel good chemicals inside the brain, boosting your mood. Surfing improves balance and coordination, builds stamina, reduces the odds of getting diabetes and of becoming overweight, and improves the lubrication of joints, reducing stiffness and pain.

To prepare for a surfing session the right way, you should focus on both cardio and strength exercises. Whether you opt for conventional machine or free weights exercises, or choose to do your warm up and muscle strengthening workout on a whole body vibration machine, you’ll be amazed by how much your technique and performance can improve. The more you exercise and focus on building muscle strength, balance and flexibility, the better you’ll get at surfing as well.

Still, keep in mind that although it is extremely entertaining and fun, surfing demands a lot of energy and can lead to injuries if your posture and position on the surfboard are improper. Make sure to nourish your body before the session and work out regularly to be in your best shape when you go ride the waves.

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