If you're planning on surfing this Summer, there are ways to strengthen the muscles you'll need to paddle, maintain balance, and carve through waves before you even hit the beach. We caught up with Roxy pro surfers Jen Smith and Amy Murphree at the recent Roxy and Neutrogena Choose Skin Health Campaign surf camp to learn how they stay in world-class athletic shape. Here are Jen and Amy's tips on the sport-specific exercises that can help first-time surfers and experts alike be more successful — and have more fun! — on their boards:
- Yoga: Amy recommends regularly doing yoga to strengthen and lengthen your body, especially because flexibility helps ward off some of the muscle strain and soreness that wipeouts can cause. "I do Yoga For Surfers videos. It's Peggy Hall, it's one, two, and three, and the first one is basic; it's really easy, really entry level and good. The second one is definitely more challenging, but once you do it a few times it's easy, and the third one is really hard."
Read on for more tips from Amy and Jen.
- Jogging: Overall fitness is key for a successful surfing day, says Jen. "I do a lot of training and a lot of jogging. I go running at least a couple of times a week. It keeps my lung capacity up." Being in good shape to begin with will help you keep up good form even when your energy lags and make the most of your day on the water.
- Push-Ups and Upper-Back Strengthening: Jen says surfers' backs look different than those of other athletes, mostly because of the "pop-up" movement they make as they hop up on the board. "If you look at a surfer's back, [you can tell] they're using muscles you don't otherwise use." She suggests explosive push-ups — coming out of the deep push-up position with a burst of energy that lifts your hands off the ground. Jen also likes lying facedown on an exercise mat and lifting her shoulders back and away from the floor to activate deep upper-back muscles.
- Core Work and Balancing Exercises: Jen has a favorite move for building up the core muscles and stability that good surfers need to stay in control of their board. "Try forward lunges with a little twist in it. Take your opposite arm and reach across and down to the outside of the foot you're lunging forward with. That gets you strong and is also good for your balance."
- Surfing! Both Jen and Amy say getting out on the water is the best way to move past the muscle soreness that paddling and those inevitable crashes can cause and build up the muscles needed for the sport. The paddling movement especially isn't something that many workouts can successfully replicate, so bust out your board and get surfing!