Whether it is off-season for surfing, or if your kids just need some extra exercises to do in between surf sessions, it’s great to know a few things you can do at home to keep fit.  I thought I would share a few of the things my boys have learned to do as part of their surf training.  My background is in sports medicine and personal training, so I love to see the boys incorporate some flexibility and general fitness into their surf training.  Here’s a short list to begin with, and if you enjoy it I may do a follow-up post with more.

{Aloha!  Monica here.  You have probably seen my writing here over the past couple of months, and my original “personal story” here.  My family and I live in on the North Shore of Oahu where we are raising four boys in our surf/beach community. I homeschool, and I blog at www.thegrommom.com.  I am really excited to be writing here at W.O.W, and hope you’ll say hi, and visit me at thegrommom site as well.}

1. FLEXIBILITY IS KEY TO SURFING.
Though we’re not all naturally flexible, we can improve our flexibility with consistent stretching.

SHOULDERS:
Pull one arm across the chest, and hold.  Then stretch arm over head.  Hold each stretch for a good 10-20 seconds.  (which feels like 10 minutes to a kid!)

Another important stretch is through the hips and large leg muscles:
Go into a lunge position, with front knee bent and watching that the knee doesn’t extend over the ankle.  Hold that stretch, and then add an upper body twist in each direction.  Again, holding it 10-20 seconds.

Being flexible in the hamstrings is also really important.  There are many ways to stretch them, but reaching for one or both feet with straight legs is a simple one.  Hold the stretch!

Here is another great way to stretch through the hips:   Bend your front knee, and tuck your foot under your body as you lie down over that leg.  Try to breath deeply and relax into the stretch.  Switch sides and hold each stretch again for at least 20 seconds.  This one should feel really good.

2.  STRENGTH:  Strengthening the entire body will help with surfing, but if a kid is getting plenty of time in the water, then they are probably working a lot of upper body muscles already.  So, when our boys are not in the water, they focus a bit more on building CORE, and LOWER BODY STRENGTH.

Strengthening the CORE is really important for almost any sport, and surfing is no exception.  The “core” includes all of the muscles of the abdomen, back to front, and sides.  Doing any kind of “crunch” or sit-up is a good way to stregthen the core.  In addition, we like to practice doing a “Plank” exercise.

Holding a “plank” position:  Go into a push-up position, and hold it at the top.  Squeeze the muscles of the abdomen and keep your back really flat.  It’s harder than it looks!  You can add challenges from there, like lifting one arm or leg, while keeping the back very flat.

LEG STRENGTH: 
Squats squats, squats.  There are many varieties, but a basic squat sitting back (as if into a chair) is a good start.   Here I am showing Josiah on a balance board.  This is tricky, but great for leg strength + balance.  Any time you squat, you want to be sure that you are sitting back, and watch that your knees do not go forward over the feet.  (That can be very hard on your knees.)  (Using a large exercise ball against a wall is another excellent way to train in squats.)

(*More advanced:)  Start behind the balance board, and hop up… Landing in a squatted position on the board. And hold.

TRAINING IN TECHNIQUE:  I’ll just touch on one good exercise that my boys do to fine-tune their technique for surfing.
If your groms are advanced in surfing to the point of turning, and snapping on waves, this is a good exercise that my boys use:

Standing with feet near each other, step out and open the chest by pulling one arm out to the side. And then extend the arm behind you.  Keep your eyes on that arm, and this mimics the proper position during a turn, and snapping on a wave. Come back to center, then step to the other side, doing the same thing.

These are just a few of the exercises my boys have learned during their years surf training.  If your kids are preparing to go to a SURF CAMP this summer, these would be great to begin doing now!  If you would like to see more like this, I hope you’ll let me know in comments.  Also, if you have a favorite stretch or strengthening exercise that you use for surfing, we’d all love to hear about it!  Thanks.

ALOHA!
Monica,
from www.thegrommom.com