Surfers are amongst some of the happiest and healthiest of people in the world. Have you ever wondered how many muscles we use during one of our sessions? You may be surprised. Surfing is far more demanding than you might think on a person’s body. It varies depending on your level , but the average surfer is constantly duck diving, paddling into waves, and struggling to get back up to the surface to get that last air before going back under. Knowing the muscles you use while surfing enables you to keep them fit with a good exercise program and proper stretching. Let’s take a look to see what muscles we use daily in our sport.
Paddling is bar far the most strenuous of the sport. It excerts not only a great amount of energy on your arms (biceps and triceps) but also the deltoids, which are located in the upper back and shoulder area. When a surfer is lying on the board paddling out to the waves, the torso and lower body are almost entirely disengaged. All power and motion is derived from the biceps, triceps and deltoids. Thus making these particular muscles the most commonly used in the sport.
While waiting for waves you are consistently balancing yourself and while doing this you are engaging your abdominal muscles and lower back. Core strength is key to proper balance. The group of muscles that make up your midsection are what gives you excellent balance as well as lots of time in the water to get use to the uncomfortable wobbly feeling beginners encounter in their first weeks. Abdominal muscles are also used when turning to catch a wave and more progressive surfers use them vigorously in their turns, snaps, and aerials.
When you pop up on a board you engage the biceps, triceps, trapezium, and deltoids as well as the entire back. The gluteus maximus (your butt) is also highly active during the actual act of surfing. Also involved are the legs. The hamstrings and quadriceps in your upper leg are used as well as your calves in the lower part of the legs.
Another muscle that we sometimes forget about during surfing would be the heart. It’s actually the most important muscle used during this activity. Cardiovascular exercises will insure that your heart is strong and ready to support all your most excellent surfing sessions as well as proper nutrition
35 years old and a lifetime surfer, I can honestly say I am one who would rather spend more time in the water or doing anything active outside rather than being crammed in a gym working to define each of these muscles. I am sure I also speak for a majority of avid surfers who, like myself, just want to surf. With the help of yoga teachers we developed a stretch routine that works for both men and women using each of the muscles mentioned above. It also lets us men keep our man hood while doing it pre surf on the beach. These stretches use each of the muscles mentioned above and can be done in less than 10mins. ~g
- biceps and triceps
- hamstrings and quadriceps
- lower back
Thanks to Monika Ramos and Francela Gonzalez Soza for taking the time to put together this video. If you are in Nosara and wish to practice Yoga or Pilates please visit one of their local classes or contact them directly for schedules and private classes: