One of the great pleasures in surfing is the bona-fide surf Holiday. You get an idea for a trip, do a little research, and then you book it! Your imagination runs wild: Surfing warm, rip-able waves in some far-off place. You'll score waves, you'll get tan, you'll come back with lots of stories. So the trip is booked, it's a month or two off, you're frothing. Now what? Now it's time to train so you'll be in surf shape on that first wave, and for the duration of your trip.

You should try to surf as much as you can leading up to the trip, but if the waves are flat or poor quality, you'll want to make sure you are training! There are just no two ways about it: better fitness equals better surfing. If you are in optimal shape, you'll catch more waves, be less prone to injury, perform better in the water, and recover quicker between sessions.

Our friends at have given us an effective surf-specific workout to help tune your body up before your surf holiday. If you haven't trained in awhile, or need a quick tune-up, this surf-specific workout is for you. You can do this workout on its own, or add these exercises to your current workout. The exercises are part of the Surf Stronger—Surfer's Workout, also available DVD and as a digital download.

This workout requires a fitness ball and one set of dumbbells.


1. Do each exercise, attempting the number of repitions suggested. Practice perfect form. Run through entire series once, resting just thirty seconds between exercises. Then repeat the whole series two to three times.

2. Do this workout two to three times per week leading up to your trip. Be sure to take a day off between sessions so your muscles can recover. You can surf or swim during the week as well to maximize your training.

3. Never strain or force any movements while exercising. If you begin pain or discomfort while exercising, stop right away and consult your doctor.

4. Always consult your doctor before beginning this, or any exercise program.


Start with a light 4-8 minute jog, or skate board session to warm up.


1. Surfer's Pop-Up


5-8 repitions, both sides

With the Surfer's Pop Up you can practice getting to your feet more times than during a typical surf session. This practice will help you nail that transition from your chest to your feet on your next paddle out.

Perform four "paddle strokes" and then pop to your feet. Perform 5 reps going regular, then 5 reps going goofy foot.

2. Dumb Bell Rows


10-15 reps each arm

This is an awesome exercise that helps build paddling strength. It is also a great stabilizer for the back and torso.

Lie on the ball, lift chest off the ball with slight arch in the back. Keep spine neutral as you lift dumb bells in a rowing fashion. (Dumb bells should not touch the ground.)

3. Wood Chops


10-15 repetitions each side

The dumbbell wood chop integrates upper body, lower body, and core training in one movement. Exactly what happens while maneuvering your board. In addition, the lower body training is fast and explosive, again much like surfing.

Feet in "surf stance" -- just wider than hip width apart, knees slightly bent. Start in the high position and chop down and across the body, and then back up to the starting point.

During the squat, keep hips back, careful not to have knees travel over your toes. Keep spine neutral.

4. Ball Push Ups


10-15 repitions

A great exercise for upper body strength, and one that simulates holding on to your board and duck diving.

Hands squarely on the fitness ball, body is plank-like. Go down and lightly press chest to ball and press up.

Make it Tougher: While doing the ball push up, try raising one foot off the ground for a few reps. Keep your core active and don't let your body twist. For example, try five reps with both feet on the ground, five reps with your left foot off the ground, and five reps with your right foot off the ground. This movement mimics the feeling of duck diving and adds a nice core stability challenge.

5. Jump Squats


10-15 reps

Rather than working only your leg endurance (like running does) the jump squat adds power, balance, and most importantly, mirrors the position you surf in.

To perform a good jump squat, start in a squat position (thighs parallel to the ground) then explode up and reach for the sky. Land softly; go back to your squat position. That is one repetiton, aim for 10-15 repitions.

6. Crunches / Cutback Crunches

A direct hit to your core!

Perform ten fit ball crunches, with hands lightly touching your ears, and tongue on the roof of your mouth, head, neck and spine in a neutral position. Keep abs engaged as you crunch up and back down. After you've done ten crunches, place arms out to the side and perform "cut back crunches". 5 each side. This move is very similar to the rotation in a solid cutback. Practice this move on land, and you'll perform a better turn in the water!

These exercises are taken from Surf Stronger--The Surfer's Workout, the top selling workout video for surfing. The video features a 7-minute pre-surf dynamic warm-up, 22-minute workout, and 15-minute warm down. This complete workout is available on DVD and as a digital download, and is available at the author:


Todd is co-founder and co-creator of Surf Stronger(TM), the worldwide leaders in surf fitness.

A California native and lifelong surfer, Todd is an accomplished waterman whose passions include surfing, fitness training and open water swimming. Todd contributes to program design on Surf Stronger workouts, with a strong background in training and coaching. Todd has surfed extensively throughout his home state of California and has enjoyed surf travel to Australia, Baja Mexico, Central America and Hawaii.

For more workouts and surf fitness advice, see,