Surf Fitness | Best Warm-Up Workouts & Stretches

Surfing, just like any other sport, requires a fair amount of real knowledge and dedication when you want to master the game. To stay healthy and get the best physical outcome of your capabilities, we have created this blog post to inform you about the best exercises and stretches for surfers.

Surfing is considered to be a low-resistance sport, although many muscle groups are activated for hours on each surf session. There are quite a few guidelines to follow when you want to stay safe and recover well from surfing.

In this article, we will be covering the tips to:

  • Injury prevention
  • Maintaining a good physical condition
  • Muscle relief
  • Best surfing stretches
  • Best surfing workouts
  • Flexibility
advanced surfboard guide
The freedom of movement – that’s what it’s all about

Stay smooth!

Water flows freely. The best tip I could give you is to remind yourself to stay relaxed and calm when surfing. You’ve got to work with the water, not against it. Too much tension will create stress, and in some cases like wiping out and staying short in oxygen can be dangerous. If you want to be a good surfer, find your style by “letting go” and go with the flow.

Working out in general

Workouts to your whole body and particular muscle groups can boost your performance for good. We’ve listed some of the best ways to increase your capabilities down below, that will get you a specific advantage when surfing. Any work-out, like walking or cycling to the beach, is considered a light warm-up, that will get you physically excited for the upcoming session. The better the overall physique you have, the less time your body needs to adapt to the environment.

surf safety guide nulltuul






 Warm-Up Exercises / Stretches

Prefer aerobic/dynamic stretches to warm-ups

Guide to optimizing your physical performance

Surfers are exposed to a ton of benefits when paddling for waves. Once you start to enjoy surfing – there’s nothing to stop you from spending countless hours in the water. There are a few significant points all surfers must consider when surfing has become their daily habit.


What to eat before a surf session?

Often surfers are not planning to go on a session for a limited period. Instead, they go out as long as the waves will be there. It’s recommended to eat watery fruits like oranges, apples, etc. that will keep your body hydrated during the surf session. Yeah, you are constantly in the water, but your body is always generating heat inside which makes it “thirsty” as well.

If there is a good quality surf coming up the next day and you are starting to plan to go on a long session – you can always “carb up,” by eating lots of carbs so that you would have plenty of energy the next day.


Anaerobic vs. aerobic stretchings

You have probably noticed already that the majority of good surfers are rather skinny and lean. Why? Because surfing is more of an endurance, therefore aerobic than an anaerobic sport like working out at a gym. Big muscles are not the primary factors to be a good surfer. On good sessions surfers are literally “swimming” for miles, depending on the activity of the break, swells and time spend on the water as well.

It’s recommended to use “dynamic stretches” like shoulder and neck rings as a warm-up and anaerobic stretches after the session, to relax your muscles from tensions. Dynamic stretches open the muscles, while anaerobic/static stretching cools muscles down.


Best before surf workouts and stretches

Before jumping in and paddling straight for waves, try to do some basic dynamic/aerobic exercises to get your body in the zone. You don’t have to do the whole rugby warm-up and embarrass yourself at a calm beach.

Starting with

  • Arm circles – both ways, warm up the shoulders
  • Body circles – both ways, opens your hips and back
  • Head circles – both ways, great for the neck and upper back muscles
  • Lunges – will get your legs a mild stretch and workout at the same time
  • Leg swings – warms up your lower back and buttocks

Continue with light stretching

  • Stretch your legs – by sitting down as a monk and tilt your body forward, or stand up and reach for your toes
  • Stretch your back – standing or sitting, try to reach your toes

Another thing you can do is start off paddling slowly and slowly increase the intensity once you feel warm enough.





After the session – do anaerobic/static stretches to cool down

The previous should give your body a slight physical advantage than just jumping in cold-blooded. Now look for the tips for recovering from the session so you would feel great the next day as well and maintain a tremendous physical standard.


Recovering from surfing

Most common surfing injuries are related to the shoulders, back, and neck. Due to the excessive hold-down positions, a great stretching routine will keep you off any setbacks. The human body will adapt to the “environment” quite well, and in no time, you’re more prone to paddling-related tensions. Read about the tips on how to recover faster from down below:

surf stretch video on youtube

Anaerobic stretches after surfing

As the muscles contract and relax simultaneously, stretching is the primary and most effective way to help to recover from the muscles. When stretching, the muscles literally “stretch” the fibers back to a healthy state. Stretching also improves muscle growth in a way that.

Best workouts and exercises for surfing

To stay in the best physique as a committed surfer – a diverse workout plan is a must! Any other sporting background comes as a bonus –  whether it’ll be cycling, gym, soccer, etc. Swimming, one of the most closely related sports to surfing, is one of the best workouts to improve your skills as a surfer.

Whether you are regular in a gym or find alternative ways to train your muscles to become a better surfer – there are some specific exercises to do, to increase your performance as a surfer.

  1. Pull-ups – working with your body weight, pull-ups are one of the best work-outs you can do pretty much anywhere, that work with so many muscles, that you’ll be using when surfing. Great for shoulders and upper body.
  2. Shoulder workouts/stretches. Your hands can carry a lot of weight, while there are only small muscle groups that support the whole weight of it. Usually, your back compensates for the load in the wrong way – so any extra workout is great to get stronger shoulders. But, don’t go too far only by strengthening certain shoulder muscles.


Surf Balance Board

Probably the closest you can get when you want to get good at surfing. The surfing balance board trains exactly the specific touch of balance and certain muscle groups you will be used when surfing the wave.

You can do it yourself, or trust others and order models like this from Amazon.


Exercise Ball

An exercise ball is a great way to improve your back and core muscles. There are many video tutorials found online, that specifically train and stretch your core and back, that always get an intense workout when surfing.




Massage Therapy

If your car brokes down – you take it to a mechanic, if you are having mental troubles – you see a psychologist. If you are a mechanic, great – you can fix your car yourself, and a psychologist might see the roots and ways to solve a problem, but you can’t give your body a back and shoulder massage, can you? Regular visits to the massage therapist are the best you can do for your body.

Over time, your body and muscles adapt to your lifestyle. Whether it’s sitting in the office from 9 to 5, or working on your feet the whole day. Surfing is a rather intense work-out that stiffens mainly the upper body, and massage therapy helps to “restore your body to default settings.”

There are many types of massages, but a sports massage is a more intense way for a person who is into sports. It may cost some extra cash, but the difference in the long term is worth it. If you don’t want to pay enormous amounts of money to a therapist, I’m sure you can somehow convince your partner to help you out!


Hot Bath

People have used both baths for centuries to relieve muscle tension. A warm bath has a ton of therapeutic benefits. Hot water baths allow muscle fibers to loosen and relax in turn relieving muscle tension and can be soothing to the nervous system as well!



Surfing and Yoga go together like bread and butter. Every proper surf-town has probably more Yoga-classes than surf schools. Yoga is a perfect way to work with your muscles calmly as well an ideal way to increase flexibility, which is a significant advantage for surfers!


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I created Nulltuul to share my experience, research and analysis with other surf enthusiasts out there. If I'm not surfing on my travels - I like to photograph waves, surfers, and the surf lifestyle in general.

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