Fit For Surf: HIIT For A Better Take Off

The Take Off is essential for surfing. If you can’t do it right, you will rarely get a wave. That is why I present a workout, with which you can effectively train the needed muscle groups and their interaction. You should note that a Take Off on land is different as an actual take-off on the water. However, it will help you to get better when you train the muscles that you need for your Take Off on dry land.

The Take Off is a complex motion sequence. First you need to powerfully push up yourself up from your board, which is not so easy, after the rapid paddling for the wave. An optimal body tension is important. You’ll need upper body and core strength. Then you have to jump explosively, but controlled on your board. You have to be quick here and twist your hips. At least for a stable stand on the board you’ll need lower body strength as well.

I created a HIIT – Workout to improve your Take Off and selected the following exercises to HI(I)T all of those muscle groups. (What was HIIT again? Read here)

Take Off HIIT – The Exercises

Make sure you perform the exercises as accurately as possible. Make controlled movements and listen to your body. P.S.: It will take a little while to load the pics.

Push up:

The push up is strengthen your chest and shoulder muscles. It will help you to push up powerfully from your board.

TakeOff_HIIT_Pushup

  • Start in a plank-position
    • keep your core stable, your body should form a straight line
  • Slowly bend your arms until the chest almost touches the floor
    • Keep your elbows close to your body
  • Push yourself back to the starting position

Squats:

Squats strengthen your entire lower body – perfect for the strong and stable stand base you need.

squat

  • Start in a shoulder wide stance, your feet are slightly turned out
    • Your weight is on the heels
  • Lower your butt down to the back and go slowly into a squat, just as deep that you can hold the position by your own power
    • Torso and back remain upright and straight, your knees go outside
  • Press yourself powerful and explosive from the heels back into the starting position
    • Push your hip forwards and tense your butt

Knee to elbow:

Knee-to-elbow is an exercise for a strong core and flexibility in your hips.

knee2elbow

  • Start in Plank position
    • your core is stable
  • Now move your right knee to your left elbow
    • Twist to the side but make sure you are still stable in your upper body
  • Go back to the starting position
  • Repeat now with your left knee to the right elbow

High Jumps with turn:

High Jumps with a turn will provide you the power to jump on your board and they’ll also increase your condition and your explosiveness. By the turn you simulate the movement of twisting yourself while doing a Take Off.

high_jump

  •  Start in an upright standing position
  • Jump now with both legs and pull up your knees while turning about 90 ° to the right
    • Knees outward, while landing roll on gently on your toes and foot pads
  • Repeat the exercise now turning to the left

Down-Dog Push Up to Up-Dog Flow

This exercise will strengthen your shoulder girdle and stretch your back. Perform it possibly in one fluid motion.

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  • Start in downward facing dog
    • Your body forms an inverted “V”. The feet are hip width apart
    • Drag the tailbone upwards while your heels pressing down
    • Let your head hang loose, shoulders and neck are relaxed
  • Make a push up from this position
  • Shift yourself forward into plank
  • Bend your arms until your chest touches the floor
  • Head, shoulders and your chest lift slowly from the ground into upward facing dog
    • in one fluid motion lift the whole body. Push from your hands to the back foot until your arms are fully straighten
  • Push yourself back into starting position

Push up – Take Off

Now we put it all together, this exercise prepares you perfectly for the Take Off on the water.

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  • Start with a Push Up
  • Push legs and arms explosively up and rotate your hip (actually do your Take Off)
  • Go back into Plank
  • Repeat the exercise to the other side

Take Off HIIT – The Workout

These six exercises you will do in an interval of 50/10 – that means 50 seconds pushing hard and 10 seconds rest. In the App Store, there are many HIIT- or Tabata timer, where you can set the intervals.

If you one round is enough for you, just stop here. However, two or three rounds would be perfect. This will give you a short but challenging and highly effective training, which will make you fit and prepare you for your Take Off on the water.

Please let me know how you liked this training and leave me a feedback. Do not hesitate to ask your questions, if you have some.

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How to: Make a plan – achieve your goals

Your next holiday is just around, you’re already counting the days. Right now is the perfect time to prepare yourself for the next surf – physically. In this post I’d like to show you, how start it so that you will reach your goals.

In fact, for me it’s almost time. In five weeks I will board a plane and head up for the sun again. This time I will focus on my take off. I already told you that it’s really slow. I have a new, smaller board and I really want to surf it, though. Although I had overcome my lack of motivation and already train regularly, but I want to focus my training and make it more targeted. And this is how I do it…

To achieve goals you first have to have some

Goals are very powerful. Because once you make it concrete something all your senses will be aimed. Be as specific as possible. Just to say, “I want to be fitter” is not enough here. How will you check it? Your goals need to be verified later. A simple example: “I want to be able to do 10 regular push ups in a row within the next four weeks.”
Next step: write it down! Only then your desire becomes something material. From the mere thought to a concrete statement of intent. It’s a little bit like making a contract with yourself. I have listed my goals on a whiteboard and placed it visible in my living room. Now I see it every time when I sit on my couch and I am reminded. A simple sheet of paper works also, of course.

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You have your goals – now you need a plan

Now that you have determined what you want to achieve, it is time for a plan.
First I set up rules which apply to the whole period. These include things like, go to work by bike or don’t drink alcohol.
In addition, I make a weekly schedule for the workouts. I always make a plan one week in advance. So I can consider my work and personal appointments and make fix appointments for my workout. (I wrote about a well balanced workout plan here)

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Take on a challenge

Maybe you’re more like a type that would rather stick to a predetermined plan. Look for a challenge. The Internet is full of it and it is available for almost everything: 30 days Yoga, 30 days Squat Challenge, 30 days Beach body… just to name a few. Quite apart from whether the promised results will be achieved or not, you have at least a workout for every day which you can stick to. Another advantage is, that you can network with other people who do it and motivate each other. But don’t forget to add the workouts in your schedule.

30 Tage Challenge Pic

Again the thing with the motivation

You have your goals, you have a plan. Now you only have to stick to it. It sounds so simple, unfortunately it isn’t in reality. What really helps me, is this simple sentence:

31 days as active as possible

And let me tell you why: it contains the following:

  • a time period that tells me: There are only – in this case – 31 days, then I can theoretically be lazy again. But these 31 days I will persevere.

  • On the other hand, it is a challenge for me: “as active as possible”. That forces me to reflect and ask myself, is it really everything you gave? Am I as active as possible or can I do more?

This works at least for me. You know better than me what works for you. And when you still need a motivation read this post again.

Push hard!

So, I have my plan! I am highly motivated and of course I will keep you updated. And I will also let you know if I will actually manage to surf a wave with my new board. If you have any questions, just write me!

When do you usually start with the sporty preparations for your surf trip? And what are you doing actually? How do you motivate yourself?

stay stoked and hang loose

Fit For Surf: Surfer’s HIIT – The Basics

You know already that HIIT is absolutely awesome. If not, read here quickly. Before we start with the first workout, I would like to explain you some of the basics a few exercises which will show up in nearly every workout.

  • Plank
  • Push up
  • Sit ups
  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Burpees
  • Cardio exercises

Plank:

The plank is a static exercise that will strengthen your core muscles. Without stable core muscles you wouldn’t be able to take off nor maneuver on your board, because they are the foundation for all movements. In the plank you train your balance and stabilize the shoulder belt by the holding the position.

Plank: How to

  • Start in all-fours position and place your hands directly under your shoulders, your arms are straight
  • Stretch back the legs, straighten the spine and stand on your feet.
    • Legs, pelvis and torso form a straight line
  • Tense your core muscles and gently pull the belly button towards your spine
    • Your butt is tensed and stays low
  • Hold the position
    • breathe calmly

Fit for surf Plank 1

Push up:

While doing push ups almost every muscle of the body is strengthened chest muscles, shoulders, back, triceps, biceps, body, even the buttocks. All muscles, you also need for surfing. By doing push ups you will take off more powerfully and increase your paddle power. In addition you train your sense of balance, your coordination skills and your agility.

Push up: How to

  • Start in the plank position (1)
    • Hold your core stable, your body should form a straight line
  • Slowly bend your arms until the chest almost touches the floor (2)
    • Keep your elbows close to your body, inhale
  • Push yourself back to the starting position (1)
    • Exhale

push up

Sit ups:

Sit ups are probably the most famous abdominal exercise. In the classic version, they strengthen especially the upper and middle abdominal muscles. Through numerous variations you can also take more muscles.

Sit ups: How to

  • Start lying on your back, place your feet in about 90 degrees on the mat and let the knees drop outside while your feet touches each other (1)
    • Avoid a hollow back, place it as flat as possible on the floor
  • Stretch your arm to the back
    • Upper arms beneath your ears, shoulders pull down
  • Lift your upper body upwards, slowly and without momentum (2)
    • Remember to tense your core all the time, lift until your torso is perpendicular to the floor. Exhale
  • Briefly touch the floor in the final position. (3)
    • Keep your head always as an extension of the spine
  • Bring your upper body gently back to the floor without releasing the tense in your core (1)
    • Inhale

situp

Squats:

Squats are great, because they train the entire lower body like no other exercise. You exercise the thigh muscles, the buttocks, lower back and hip flexors. Depending on the execution and intensity also abdominal, back and calf muscles are strengthened. The mobility of ankle, knee and hip is encouraged by this exercise.

Squats: How to

  • Start in a shoulder wide stance, your feet are slightly turned out. (1)
    • The weight is on your heels
  • Lower your butt down to the back and go slowly into a squat, just as deep that you can hold the position by your own power (2)
    • Torso and back remain upright and straight, your knees go outside
  • Press yourself powerful and explosive from the heels back into the starting position (1)
    • Push your hip forwards and tense your butt

squat

Lunges:

Lunges, in addition to squats, are also an effective exercises for legs and butt. They also contribute to the development of balance and coordination and the stability of the torso. They involve many joints, such as knee, hip and ankle.

Lunges: How to

  • Start in a hip wide stance (1)
  • Take a large step forwards
    • Note that the direction of movement is downward, not forward
  • In the final position your front knee is directly over your ankle. The back leg forms a right angle, the heel leaves the ground. (2, 3)
    • Keep your upper body straight
  • Push up forcefully from the heel of the front leg to get back to the starting position (1)

lunge

Mountain Climbers

Mountain Climbers are a combination of the plank and alternating jumps. They are great to train the muscular endurance and the explosive strength. Also, your muscles have to work really hard on this complex exercise. Abdominal and lower back muscles provide the necessary stabilization during the jumps, chest muscles and the triceps keep the upper body in a static position and legs and buttocks are responsible for the execution of the jumps.

Mountain Climbers: How to

  • Start in the plank position (1)
    • Arms directly under your shoulders, activate your core
  • Bend one leg and place it under your hip (2)
    • Your body remains straight, the butt remains deeply
  • Change legs dynamicly through jumping (3)
    • Head, neck and shoulders should move only minimally during this exercise
  • Keep alternating legs continualy (2,3)
    • Keep your hips stable. Avoid to swing to the left or right

mclb

Burpees:

Burpees are an effective full body exercise and real allrounders! They exercise you enormously, train the whole body and strengthen your muscles in legs, buttocks, torso, hip flexors, back, shoulder, chest as well as your cardiovascular system. A burpee is a combination of four exercises: Squat, Plank, Push up and straight jump, which are each exhausting by themselves. By combining the exercises not only your strength will increase, but also your endurance and also your coordination is trained.

Burpees: How to

  • Start in a standing position
  • Make a deep squat and touch the floor with your hands (1)
    • Remember a straight back
  • Jump back into plank position your arms are straight (2)
    • Stay stable in your core, don’t let the hips sag
  • Make a push up (3)
    • Elbows close to your body
  • Jump to the front, back into the squat (4)
  • Jump up powerfully (5)
    • Jump high! A small hop is not enough

burpee

Cardio exercises:

Your training is only balanced and even more exhausting if you add a few sweaty cardio exercises.

Here are some examples:

  • Butt Kickers
    • Standing position, bring your heels quickly alternating to your butt
  • High Knees
    • Standing position, bend your knees waist high quickly alternating
  • Jumping Jacks
    • Open and close the legs while jumping, clap your arms together above your head when your legs are opened, touch your thighs when your legs are closed
  • Powerjumps/Tuckjumps
    • Hipwide standing position, squat slightly and jump as high as you can while tucking your knees under your body
  • Starjumps
    • Standing position, feet closed. Jump high and spread your arms and legs in the air. Close again before landing
  • Lateral Jumps
    • Jump laterally over an imaginary barrier. Pendle back and forth rapidly

Now you are well prepared for the first workout, which is coming soon on this blog. In it we will modify these basics and approach the exercises even more to surfing. Until then:

stay stoked and hang loose

Fit for Surf: HIIT for Surfer

HIIT stands for High intesity interval training. But also for an effective training and it promises quick results. In a HIIT workout you switch constantly between intense exercise load and short regeneration phases. These workouts are short, intense and arduous – but also highly effective. In the exercise intervals you’ll push yourself almost to your physical limits. Thus, the metabolism and the cardiovascular system is challenged at the maximum.

Why HIIT for surfers?

The principles of HIIT come from the high-performance sports. In almost every sport you have to react quickly. Even when surfing: you see the wave, you have to turn your board quickly and paddle like a maniac, if you want to catch it. Quick reaction and power from zero to hundred – that‘re just two of the things you can train with HIIT. It also improves your speed and explosiveness and it increases endurance, which you need to paddle back to the line up.

More benefits of HIIT:

  • Increased muscle growth by release of growth hormones
  • Improvement of the oxygen uptake capacity
  • Improves the ability to regenerate
  • Increase speed and / or agility

And that helps you to surf better. HIIT controls and maximizes both, the aerobic and anaerobic fitness. Your body needs oxygen to produce energy in form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is the universal and immediately available energy source in cells and regulates energy-producing processes. This causes a faster regeneration of your muscles and also increases the energy supply. The High Intensity Interval Training achieve exactly this effect.

HIIT is awesome, because:

  • it saves time – 20 to 30 minutes are sufficient. Studies show that you can get better results with HIIT than with longer intervals in the aerobic-anaerobic threshold or with an intense cardio unit for example.
  • it is convenient – you can do the exercises at home, so you don’t have to go to the gym first.
  • it brings quick results – with HIIT you will see great results in a short time.
  • your endurance increases – your body is able to process more oxygen.
  • it is not getting boring – because there are numerous variations. Each HIIT is different, for instance you can change duration of the phases, in- or decrease the number of intervals and of course, vary the exercises.
  • and at least: It will make you fit for surf.

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Fit for surf with HIIT for surfer

The advantages are quite obvious. Now you just have to start and you’ll see very quick results – even on the surfboard! I will soon present you a few exercises and show you entire workouts. For so long…

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How to: Create your own Fit for Surf Workout Plan

Here you can read why it is so important to train constantly, if you like to be fit for surf. Now i am going to show you, how you can use the knowledge to create your personal “Fit for Surf-Workout Plan“.

Endurance + Strength + Flexibility + Balance = Fit for surf

In a surfspecific training you’ll make movements and exercises, which can help you to catch more waves and ride them longer. A well-balanced workout plan is the key to success. The relevant physical basics you need for surfing has to be trained in special workout units.

Strength

Surfing involves nearly all the muscles in your body. While you are paddling out with your surfboard, it takes a lot of energy, especially if you ‘re doing it several times. For catching the wave you need strength and endurance – as well for the take-off and even riding the wave. Regular strength training helps you to paddle faster, further and harder and gives you the ability to control your body better on the board. The major muscle groups are: shoulder, triceps, biceps, back and your core. In addition, a good inter- and intramuscular coordination, and strong muscles in your lower body are important.

Endurance

Surfing is paddling! Approximately about 80% of your session is just paddling. So if you do not want to be completely out of breath when you arrive the lineup, you have to train endurance. Basically, all endurance sports are good for that. Whether running, biking or the cross trainer – the main thing is that your cardiovascular system is stressed. For surfing swimming is ideal as endurance sport. Crawl style swimming trains the muscle groups you need while surfing as well. Even better, of course: You have a lake nearby and you can paddle with your surfboard.

Flexibility & Balancetraining

Flexibility is one of the most important elements in fitness, but it is often neglected or left out. If your muscles are not flexible enough your movements are limited. Balance and coordination are essential skills for surfing. They are the body’s ability to make controlled and purposeful movements in any position or action in a stabilized, upright posture – which is essential for surfing. With balance exercises you train not only your balance – it also affects on posture, improves coordination and relaxes tense muscles. The inter- and neuromuscular coordination will be improved – that means the muscles interact more effectively with each other and with the nervous system. Both, balance and flexibility, you can train in a good way with yoga. ( There will be another blog post soon). For Balancetraining I also use an Indoboard or I go longboarding.

Put it all together: Create your Fit for surf – Workoutplan

Your workout has to suite your personal goals and aspirations. Make sure that your goals are realistic and fit into your schedule. Since I just surf in my vacations, it is my goal to start again, where I stopped the last time surfing. Here we go:

  • Initially plan for 4 to 6 weeks with a specific focus (endurance, strength, balance or flexibility).
  • Every week should have contain at least one unit of endurance and strength training.
  • Flexibility and balance you can train every day – but at least once per week.
  • For your focus put one to two units per week in addition.
  • Mix the units! Do not train the same two days in a row.
  • Arrange restdays, so that your body can regenerate.
  • Stay flexible! You feel a little bit weak or tired today? Maybe better a relaxing yoga session, instead of strenuous strength training .
  • Listen to your body! Start slowly and increase. If something hurts, stop doing it.
  • After 4-6 weeks it is time for a new plan. This avoids boredom.

Here is a template that helps you to create your fit for surf – training plan (PDF-Reader required) and this is how my training plan looks like. In the next posts I will introduce you some exercises and show you complete workouts.

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.

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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.

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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?

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Fit for Surf: Dry-Land-Training for better surfing

Surfing is one of the best things in the world but it is really exhausting, isn’t it? It looks so easy… Paddle out, wait for the right wave and then …ride it smoothly. But to be honest: Surfing is hard work and it involves your whole body. It requires not only a good general fitness, but also strength, endurance, flexibility and balance. In addition, surfers should have a well-developed sense of balance and have good coordination skills .

Fit for Surf: Pro-surfers show you how

Professional surfers show how: Even if they have the possibility to surf the best waves all over the world anytime they want, they’re still working out and add a comprehensive dry-land training ashore. Hence you should not workout just when there is no surfable wave on your doorstep  is self-explanatory. To exercise regularly is easier said to be done. The list of excuses is long and your weaker-self is tough. So my training plan must fulfill specific requirements .

Requirement 1: variance and variety

The ideal workout contains it all – units for strength, endurance , flexibility and balance. Strength and endurance training will build up your muscles. A good flexibility prevents injuries and keeps growing up your range of motion. With balance training you will not just train your balance. It also benefits your posture and improves your cordination. These basic physical skills are relevant for surfing . If you serving all of them with appropriate training , not only your surfing skills will increase, but also the training schedule varied and you’re not bored so quickly.

Requirement 2: Quick but spicy

Not everyone has the time to go swimming or to the gym for three or four times a week.  A good workout needs to be easy integrated into daily routine and for me that means , it should not take too long. ” I don’t have time” is most common excuse for not working out. But you will have 20 or 30 minutes, haven’t you? That’s why I rely on short but intensive units. HIIT is the magic word. (What the benefits of this training are? I’ll explain to you in another post)

Requirement 3: Simple and  (almost) without Equipment

I do not want to go to the gym to workout. I appreciate not to buy any expensive equipment and then leave it in the corner. Using your own bodyweight (Functional Training or Freeletics ) and ” small ” equipment, such as a jump ropes or resistance bands, can lead to an effective and uncomplicated workout. The advantage of this: your muscles are not trained isolated, as in classical training. On a surfboard you don’t need only the biceps, then triceps and after that your trapezius muscles – all work effectively and functional together! In this training you workout many muscles of the same functional group simultaneously and in interaction.

Dry-land-Training will sustainably improve your surfing

In summary, a surf-specific workout needs to be practical, simple and effective. It must help you to surf better. If the workout-plan hits the above-mentioned requirements, I’ll stay motivated – not only much easier – in the long term, but will also be fit for surf!

How you can put it all together and customize your goals and needs, I am going to show you how you will make your own “Fit for surf” training plan.

no excuses

go out and have fun

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