How to get physically fit for surfing ?

KEEP UP THE WINTER TRAINING AND GET YOURSELF READY FOR SURFING

 

Do you find February too cold for surfing sessions?
You don’t want to surf in water at 11°C?
But as soon as the good weather returns, you want to be in good physical shape to enjoy surfing straight away.

In this case, a trip to the swimming pool in the winter is essential in order to remain in tip-top shape for surfing!

 

HOW TO GET PHYSICALLY FIT FOR SURFING

So why the swimming pool? Because the crawl stroke is very close to the movements made by surfers when they paddle. Did you know that surfers spend more than 90% of their time in the water paddling ?

So it is quite clear that surfers should not completely stop training during the winter. Otherwise, when the season opens, your shoulders will be exhausted after just 30 minutes of surfing!

These swimming exercises are intended specifically for surfers. They were developed together with the teams at Nabaiji, Decathlon’s swimming brand.

 

WHY A SESSION SPECIFICALLY FOR SURFERS, RATHER THAN A STRAIGHTFORWARD SESSION OF LENGTHS OF THE POOL?

 

Simply because surfers do not make continuous efforts. And surfing has its own special characteristics.
Our training session is organised around a number of qualities that are specific to surfing:
● Muscular endurance: after all, surfers spend 90% of their time in the water paddling.

● Sudden bursts of speed: surfers must be capable of quickly increasing their paddling rate in order to catch the wave more easily. Sudden bursts of speed are also important when breaking the ledge, when the surfer must be able to advance quickly between series of waves by ducking deep.

● Suppleness: surfers need to be supple in order to fold easily and achieve the sudden bursts of speed that fully exploit their surfing potential. Surfers also need to remain supply if they want to surf for their whole lives.

● Holding breath: this is necessary in heavy waves in order to remain underwater when you don’t necessarily want to.

● Muscular strength: muscular strength is necessary to make movements requiring power (ducking on thick boards, strenuous manoeuvres, the final and decisive paddles, etc.).

 

YOU NEED ENDURANCE AND POWER TO BREAK THROUGH THE LEDGE

Breaking through the white water demands endurance, because it can take several minutes.
But unlike many forms of lengthy efforts, breaking the ledge is regularly interrupted by passing waves and the need to duck.

Surfers loose their rhythm and only have brief periods when they can recover.

Another point worth considering in this phase is the power / endurance ratio.
Do you prefer to paddle gently for 15 minutes in order to break the ledge, or to call on your power to break through the ledge in 5 minutes?
The answer is obvious: the longer you spend on the ledge, the more waves you will have to break through, and the more you will be pushed back by imperfect ducking.

HOW TO GET PHYSICALLY FIT FOR SURFING

 

Interval exercises are the best means of building a good power / endurance ratio: short distances (25/50/100 m) that are repeated and interrupted by recovery intervals (between 10 and 30 s), at a regular speed or by varying the intensity.
A training session can include one or several series of interval exercises, depending on your level of fitness and the length of the sessions.
Always remember to take the time to get your breath back!

Examples:
– 6 x 100 m crawl, with a 30-second break between each 100m. One slow, one moderate and one fast (two of each in a pyramid system).
– 10 x 50 m, starting at 1-min intervals. The recovery times depend on the time taken to swim the 50 m.

 

YOU WILL NEED EXPLOSIVE ENERGY TO MAKE YOUR TAKE-OFFS WHEN SURFING

 

This phase is very short, but very important too.
In this phase, we need to quickly deploy a lot of energy and intensity in order to catch the wave. While remaining lucid and keeping the body taut in order to gain height.

Your characteristics on this point can be improved in part through weight training: press-ups, sit-ups, flexes, etc.
You can improve your explosive power by swimming sprints, and occasionally using paddles.
These exercises can take two forms: series of pure sprints or distances interrupted by weight training exercises on the floor.

HOW TO GET PHYSICALLY FIT FOR SURFING

Examples:
– 8 x 25 m: 10 m at full speed, then 15 m more gently, with a 20-s recovery between each exercise,
– 200 m of fitness: after each 25 m, do a short body-building exercise on the floor, such as: 5 press-ups, 10 sit-ups, 5 tractions on the poolside with the body in the water, 5 take-offs, 5 flexes.
Caution: always obey the swimming pool’s safety rules! Unfortunately, certain pools do not authorise this type of exercise out of the water.

 

EXAMPLE OF A COMPLETE SWIMMING TRAINING PROGRAMME TO IMPROVE YOUR SURFING PERFORMANCE

 

We assume that you can do these exercises in public swimming pools at that you are an average swimmer (you can swim the crawl, backstroke and breaststroke). The goal is to complete a training session that will improve your capacity to surf, while remaining fun, varied and not overly technical, so that you are able to complete the session in a public pool.

Length of the session (depending on your level as a swimmer): 1 h -1 h 30 – 2 h (2,000 m).

WARM-UP:

  • 200 M – CRAWL (LOW SPEED).
  • 100 M – KICKING + BOARD (BOARD HELD AT ARM’S LENGTH).

FIRST PART: (GENERAL ENDURANCE):

  • 3 * 200 M CRAWL – HIGH AMPLITUDE (TRY TO SLIDE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE). 20 / 30 SECONDS OF REST BETWEEN THE SERIES.

*If this is too difficult: use fins to make the exercises easier (and to build muscle in the lower body).

 

SECOND PART: SPECIFIC BODY-BUILDING

Fins (short fins, if possible, like bodyboard type fins) and hand/forearm paddles.

LOWER BODY

  • 50 M IN THE CHAIR POSITION WHILE KICKING YOUR LEGS (THE BACK MUST BE STRAIGHT, WITH A 90° ANGLE BETWEEN THE SHOULDERS AND THIGHS). IN REVERSE.

Put your hands on your head to make the exercise harder. To make it more  simple, inverted breaststroke arm movements, in addition to the legs.

LOWER AND UPPER BODY

  • 50 M ON YOUR BELLY WITH “CUDDLES” (IF POSSIBLE, WITH HAND OR FOREARM PADDLES TO MAKE THE EXERCISE HARDER).
  • CRAWL, 50 M AMPLITUDE MAXIMUM (PUSH AS HARD AS POSSIBLE IN THE WATER AT THE END OF THE CRAWL MOVEMENT).
  • 50 M CHAIR POSITION WITH DIPS* (TRICEPS + THIGHS).

*Extension of the arms along the body.

LOWER BODY AND TOTAL CORE MUSCLE

  • INTERVALS OF THE THIGH + CORE MUSCLE EXERCISES: PADDLE VERTICALLY FOR 30 SECONDS AS HARD AS POSSIBLE, THEN FOR 30 SECONDS MORE SLOWLY FOR FOUR MINUTES (WITH THE BODY STRAIGHT).
  • DIPS + CORE MUSCLE EXERCISE INTERVAL: CHAIR POSITION WITH A STRAIGHT BACK HELD ONLY BY THE FORCE AND THE SPEED OF THE ALTERNATING DIPS. 30 SECONDS WORK / 15 SECONDS REST – FOR 3 MINUTES.

THIRD PART: HIGH-SPEED EXERCISE (WITHOUT FINS)

  • 8 * 25 M CRAWL. FAST, BUT WITHOUT SPRINTING.
  • 2 X BY 25 M: ACCELERATE BY TURNING YOUR ARMS AS FAST AS POSSIBLE (YOU CAN CLOSE YOUR HANDS TO LIMIT RESISTANCE AND TURN YOUR ARMS FASTER). ACCELERATE FOR A FEW SECONDS: THIS WILL SIMULATE THE SUDDEN ACCELERATION IN PRE-TAKE-OFF PADDLING.

This power exercise will increase the arm rate without slowing down. This is a hard exercise, but it is very useful when you want to be able to accelerate quickly by paddling in order to catch a wave.

FOURTH PART: HOLDING YOUR BREATH

  • 200 M – CRAWL. RESPIRATION 3 / 5 / 7 TIMES.
  • 200 M – CRAWL. ONCE BY 25 M – 1 FRONT ROLL + HOLD YOUR BREATH WHILE DOLPHIN KICKING (KICKING THE TWO LEGS WHILE BENDING THE BODY) FOR AT LEAST 8 M + CRAWL, THEN TAKE A BREATH (2 / 3 CRAWL MOVEMENTS BEFORE TAKING A BREATH).
  • 100 M * 3. 25 M QUICK POLO CRAWL (CRAWL WITH YOUR HEAD OUT OF THE WATER AND FIXED, LOOKING FORWARDS AND WITH STRONG LEG SUPPORT TO AVOID EXCESSIVE ARCHING) + 15 M HOLDING YOUR BREATH + 10 M POLO CRAWL + 15 M HOLDING YOUR BREATH + 10 M POLO CRAWL + 15 M HOLDING YOUR BREATH + 10 M POLO CRAWL.

FIFTH PART: CALM DOWN

  • AN EASY 100 M
  • 150 M BACKSTROKE PUSH BOTH ARMS AT THE SAME TIME WITHOUT TAKING YOUR HANDS OR ARMS OUT OF THEQUOTERR.
  • STRETCHING EXERCISES OF THE WHOLE BODY WHEN DRY.

 

HOW MANY TRAINING SESSIONS PER WEEK?

If you stop surfing completely in the winter, then you should visit the swimming pool at least once a week in order to stay in good physical shape.
If you are sufficiently motivated to swim twice of three times in the winter, then your physical fitness will improve. And you will be in tip-top condition for the waves in spring time!

 

CAN I PADDLE ON MY SURF BOARD IN A SWIMMING POOL?

It’s no joke! And it’s perfectly possible in certain pools!
If you live near Bordeaux, the Mérignac surf club proposes winter training sessions in swimming pools that combine swimming, paddling and ducking.

 

Complete swimming training exercises specially for surfers, co-written with R. Benoît, a lifeguard from Brittany, France

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