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Exercises for Surfers in the Pool

exercises for surfers

Surf fitness isn’t only for the ocean. Many surfers jump into the pool to stay fit and to keep moving when it the weather won’t cooperate. All surfers know that staying out of the water for too long isn’t an option. So jump in. Check out these pool exercises for surfers.

Benefits of Pool Exercises for Surfers

There are many benefits to training in the pool before hitting the waves.

  • Surfers can learn the skills necessary to perfect their front crawl
  • Surfers learn how to make their kicks more effective, efficient, and powerful
  • Training in the pool builds endurance
  • Pool drills help surfers improve their breathing skills and capacity
  • Training in the pool during the off-season can reduce stiffness and boost fitness

Exercises for Surfers in the Pool

Just like any other sport, you need to create a fitness routine that targets and complements your sport. Your training routine must include a warm-up, and low and high aerobic activities. If you are not used to training in the pool, your first couple days will be exhausting, but you will build up endurance in a matter of weeks. The exercises you absolutely need include the following:

  • Freestyle Laps

The freestyle stroke is what you need to get back to your board or back to the shore. You should swim freestyle laps for 30 to 40 minutes. Working on your freestyle in the pool will help you improve your endurance and your form. Your freestyle form is important because you don’t want to injure your shoulder or become exhausted. Work with a trained swim coach who can provide you with feedback about your freestyle from mistakes and a targeted routine that improves your freestyle. Five things you need to know to improve your freestyle stroke are:

  • Maintain streamline
  • Swim downward
  • Kick from the hips, not your knees
  • Point your toes
  • Pull with your entire arm

After you do laps for 30 to 40 minutes, you should work on sprints across the pool. Your goal is to safely swim as fast as you can without compromising your form. Sprints help you overcome challenging water conditions.

  • Hypoxic Training

All surfers know what it is like to be under the water, either dragged by their board or separated from the board altogether. The overwhelming undulation causes surfers to panic and lose air even quicker when they are being rag-dolled. Hypoxic training teaches swimmers how to control the breath by limiting how much breathing is done. Breathing is limited to one breath every 3 to 7 strokes. This is useful for situations when surfers cannot breathe or have only limited opportunities to breathe. Hypoxic training must be supervised by a swimming coach or trainer who has the skills to teach it properly.

  • One-Arm Jump Squats in the Pool

One-arm squats in the pool helps surfers build enough power to propel off the bottom of the ocean.  Professional surfer Kelly Slater does this exercise.

  • Place barbells at the bottom of the pool
  • Hold a single barbell in one arm and stand shoulder-width apart
  • Squat down, bringing the weight between the legs
  • When you jump up, bring the weight up to your shoulder
  • Right before your head comes out of the water, release an explosive breath.
  • Quickly take in a breath before you go back under water.
  • When you come back down, switch the weight to the opposite arm and let it hang down.
  • When you land back in the squat position on the bottom of the pool, the weight should touch the bottom of the pool.

The point of training in the pool is to learn to relax and make the proper decisions about technique that will help you overcome surfing challenges. Training in the pool–with a qualified swim coach—helps surfers learn the swimming skills and breathing techniques that are necessary for the open water. What are your favorite exercises for surfers?