Lower Back & Abdominal Strength
By Clayton Beatty BSc
Picture watching yourself paddle out into the surf. You will notice that whilst you are paddling, your spine is in an extended position, meaning your shoulders are up off the board and your spine is no longer straight, but slightly bent back.
While you are in this position, you are constantly using your back muscles, and since you generally spend a lot of time paddling, these muscles can become fatigued. Some of you will even notice that after a long surf your lower back muscles will be tight and sore (no surprises really).
If you can strengthen these muscles, then they are less likely to fatigue, and your paddling will improve. The first exercise shown below is called a back extension, and will help strengthen the muscles that run down your spine.
The second exercise is for your abdominal strength. Abdominal strength is important to a surfer for a number of reasons. One of these relates to the take off. Your abdominal muscles are activated when bringing your knees toward your chest as you pop up because you are flexing your torso. Strengthening your abdominal muscles will therefore help you to perform smooth, clean takeoffs time after time.
You can do these exercises 2-3 times per week, and perform 2-3 sets of each.
- Lie on the stability ball with your feet against a wall for support.
- Keeping your back straight and your hands behind your head, slowly lower your trunk towards the floor bending from the hips and then slowly raise back to a straight body position.
- To make it harder, hold a weight plate above your head.
- Do 10-15 repetitions
Stability Ball Crunch
- Sit on top of the ball and roll slightly towards the front.
- Keep your feet wider than shoulder width to maintain your balance.
- Start with your body in a horizontal position and with your abdominals drawn in; raise your body up to almost vertical, then slowly lower back to the start.
- You can make it harder by holding a weight plate or medicine ball.
- Do 15 repetitions.
For more core strength exercises for surfers, visit totalsurfingfitness.com. Here you will find a complete functional training program designed specifically for surfers, which includes training for core strength, balance, cardiovascular fitness, upper & lower body strength and flexibility.
Clayton Beatty is the fitness expert behind TotalSurfingFitness.com, a website dedicated to functional training for surfers.
Clayton holds a BSc Degree in Human Movement, is a Certified Fitness Trainer and grew up surfing the Margaret River region in Western Australia . If you would like to learn more visit his website at www.totalsurfingfitness.com.