Nosara Surfers: best surfing exercises

Surfing, particularly in a duck dive heavy line up such as Playa Guiones, ranks as one of the most physically taxing pursuits out there. It requires flexibility, flow, power, speed, endurance and strength. It’s also ridiculously good fun, which may explain why the amount of surfers who continue to partake well into their golden years outnumbers that of so many other sports. And as any “old guy” will tell you, it’s about staying conditioned and capable; a maxim that applies to the gray haired, salty veteran as much as it does to the newbie.

Whether it be boosting your paddling power with barbell lifts, lying down and using arches to strengthen your lower back, yoga to promote the flexibility necessary to smash the lip without wiping out or any other of the conditioning components necessary to streamlining your surf skills, maintaining  physical readiness lies at the center of it all.

As a certified Foundation Training coach, TRX training wizard, and above all avid surfer, Nosara resident Jon Mangogna is far better qualified than most to outline some of the fundamental movements and exercises purposely designed to keep you injury free and maximize your surf strength.

Here, Jon lays out a few of those exercises. This list is far from complete. However, all exercises are guaranteed to target and boost the athletic components that surfing demands – endurance, flexibility, coordination, balance, and strength. Maybe best of all, they require little more than a towel and some motivation. Enjoy!


1. The Foundation Training “Founder”

Surfing in Nosara Costa RicaThis powerful pose was created by Dr. Eric Goodman to retrain the body to hinge at the hip and connect broad chain muscle groups, most importantly the Posterior Chain, at effective length to perform tasks.  Excellent for stability on the board and powerful bottom turns. Keep the chest up, abdomen long and tense, knees soft, weight in heels, and pulling the hips back. Breath big and hold until the low back reaches fatigue bring the hips forward, hands back, rest, and repeat.




2. Sliding Lateral Lunges

Surfing in Nosara BeachUsing a beach towel under your right foot only. Stand tall, tighten the abdomen and keep the spine long, begin pulling the left hip back as the right foot slides out laterally, using the left hip for control. Grip hard with the heel and toes of the left foot, keeping the engagement of the left glute(butt muscle). Push your hands and arms out ahead for counterbalance. This move can be done both as an isometric(hold without movement) and/or as moving reps. Lateral stability is something we typically are missing due to simply not moving side to side. It’s fundamental in solid control of the board once standing, shifting weight from foot to foot for speed control and balance, and overall hip health. Remember to repeat on the other side!



3. Push-up with knee tuck

Surfing in Nosara Costa RicaStart with both feet on a beach towel in a tall plank position. Shoulders should be directly over the wrists, belly button pulling up toward the sky, and heels pulling away from the crown of the head. Begin to lower into a push-up. Once you’ve returned to the plank position, pull from the stomach to pike the hips and slide the feet toward your hands, bending your knees. Return to plank position, that’s one rep. Repeat. This is a great way to build strength and speed for your pop-up, while making a great connection between the upper and lower body. This move should also get the heart rate going!



4. Isometric hinge row

Surfing in Nosara Costa RicaRoll up your beach towel with a hand near each end. Step on the center with your right foot and place your left foot straight back (a bit longer than a stride length). Keeping your chest up, stomach tight, and back straight, begin to pull your right hip back as your shoulders lower toward the ground ahead of you. Keep heavy tension in both ends of the towel by pulling on pulling your elbows behind your back at your sides.  Pulling your shoulder blades back, keep as much tension in your arms and back as possible. At the bottom of this hold you will be in a tug of war between the tension in your back and the tension in your right hip and stomach. Your back should be close to parallel with the ground. This move is great to keep the arms and especially the back (Posterior Chain) and core strong for paddling as well as simply maintaining the paddle position. It also forms a great connection between between the upper and lower body muscle chains.

Jon Mangogna is available for private and group fitness sessions. For more info click here.

Surfing fan? Check out this blog post about Guiones Swells and all you need to know about them!

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