Fit for surf: swimming

Let’s start to swim! Swimming is a great preparation for your next surf trip. But I admit, it can be also pretty boring to swim one lane after the other monotonously. To vary the training and for not getting bored, I work with swim-plans. And today I am going to show you how to do it.


I don’t know what about you, but before I started surfing I hated to crawl – much too hectic, too exhausting , less relaxed. But paddling is what you’re doing the most during your surf session, so let’s face it! And meanwhile I kind of like to crawl. Just stick to it, even if you can’t crawl for a long distance in the beginning. Everybody has to start somewhere, just increase continuously. When I started pyramid training helped me a lot.

How to make a swimplan?

Warm up and technique-drills

It is really important to warm up your muscles first. For that I usually swim 200 to 300 m breaststroke. Now it’s time to focus on techniques to develop a more efficient swim stroke. These are drills like single-arm-crawl, catch-ups or swimming with your fingers closed into a fist. I usually do 4 different exercises each for one lane of 50 m. I am going to describe you a few of those exercises soon.

Main part: swim, swim, swim

Ready for the actual swim training? Honestly …? It is just about crawl lane after lane, the more the merrier. Thus, it’s not going to be boring, you have several options:

  • Pyramid training. Pyramid sets are a great way to add variety and difficulty into your workouts. To create a Pyramid set start with a short swim (one lane/50m). Then build in increments to a longer swim (like a 300 or 400) and decrease in the same increments back to your starting swim distance. In between you can add a lane breaststrokes or you can simply rest for a minute. You’ll notice very quickly progress.
  • Distance-swimming. Pretty simple: Swim freestyle until you no longer can, and then swim 50m more! Although this is not very varied but it helps to improve your basic endurance and also shows your progress. It makes a little proud, to increase from an initial 8 lanes to over 20 …
  • Interval training. Think about a distance or number of lanes fixed and how often you want to swim this interval. For example:200m for 5 times. Between the intervals you either one-minute rest or you do an active rest while breaststroke loosely 100 m before you start the next interval. This type of training can vary a lot – you can use equipment, vary arm strokes and leg-kicks, increase speed, etc. Interval training is much fun for me.

Power-sprints and cool down

If you are not yet exhausted through the main part of your training, you can still add a few sprints (this can be part of the technical training aswell). Just paddle as fast as you can, as were the perfect wave right behind you. Keep the pace over 10-15 meters and then swim through. Short break (30-60 seconds) and then goagain. 2-3 lanes should suffice (for the beginning). Finally, you have to cool down, swim loose breaststrokes …

… and then you “already” did it.


You should swim as often and as much as possible. In addition to the benefits for surfing is a sport with many other benefits, including:

  • Movement with joint relief
  • Ideal back strengthening , prevention of intervertebral discs -problems
  • Cardiovascular workout without stress on the musculoskeletal system

An alternative by the way is paddle – training on a lake nearby you.

Over to you: How about your swim training?



One thought on “Fit for surf: swimming

  1. Pingback: How to: Create your own Fit for Surf Workout Plan | wavehuntress

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