Here at West of Wild, we are all about getting outside in nature and out of the studio or gym. However, we value the power of building strength and flexibility in a controlled environment before venturing into the wild. That’s why we’ve put together a short guide on our favorite ways to get in shape for surfing. So you can maximize your time out of the water, and have more fun once you’re in it.
Here are some of our favorite ways to get in shape for surfing before paddling out.
Get in Shape for Surfing With Pilates
Developed in the early twentieth century by Joseph Pilates, (after 20 years of self study and apprenticeships in yoga, zen, and ancient Greek and Roman physical regimens), Pilates is one of our favorite ways to get in shape before getting in the water. Thanks to its series of controlled and systematic movements, Pilates is one of the most effective methods for transforming a weak and destabilized core into a stabilized and balanced ‘powerhouse’.
Whether it’s done on a reformer or a mat, committing to a consistent routine of Pilates conditioning can reap huge rewards when your paddling out. By strengthening your core, the focus point of the pilates method, you are gaining mobility, balance, and stability. All three of which are crucial for achieving a graceful style in the water.
We also love that pilates helps to counteract years of bad posture by stabilizing both back and core muscles. This in turn helps to promote total body awareness.
Practice Your Flow With Vinyasa Yoga
Vinyasa yoga is synonymous with movement initiated by the breath. During a Vinyasa sequence -which can vary greatly from class to class- you are using your breath in concert with your body to create strength, mobility, and awareness. All elements that you can take with you off the mat and into the water.
Due to the use of Ujjayi breath, Vinyasa yoga can generate heat and increase your heart rate -adding a cardio component to the practice. Our favorite part? Vinyasa Yoga, also referred to as flow yoga, can induce a blissful state of flow.
Flow is defined as being fully absorbed in what you are doing. Where every breath and movement feels effortless and seamless. This is a lot like surfing, where you have to remain completely present in order to stay safe.
Whether it’s duck diving under a crashing wave, taking off at the right time, or carving a line on the face of a wave, you have to be in tune with the water moving around you. Achieving a state of flow in the water helps you manuever the water with grace. It generally takes years of practice or consistent time spent on the mat or in the water to achieve a state of flow, but getting there is half the fun.
Build Strength and Flexibility With Barre
Barre is a full body workout inspired by other disciplines such as ballet, yoga, and pilates. We love that barre has the ability to tone, tighten, and balance your body into it’s optimal state of mobility. Each class can vary greatly depending on the studio you go to or the teacher leading the class. So if you don’t like one, just try another. With so many options these days, there’s no reason not to go for it.
We especially love barre for surfing because we always come out of class feeling stronger and more limber. Both are great attributes for paddling out with confidence and popping up quickly on your board.
Feeling as light as a feather when we glide out onto the water makes surfing that much more fun. Having fun keeps us coming back for more. During class, the addition of the barre as a prop for stretching and balance allows for a deeper and more focused burn.
And boy do we feel it.
Get HIT Fit With Tabata
Tabata is a form of high intensity interval training that we love to get our heart rates up, increase strength, and improve mobility before we hit the water. Tabata can be done at home or in a class. We love it when we’re pressed for time, but still want to get our heart rate up in a meaningful way.
The structure of Tabata is essentially four minutes on and one minute off (4/1). Within those four minutes you are performing eight sets of 20 second on followed by ten second of rest (20/10). You can perform a wide range of exercises in Tabata, and some of our favorites are push-ups, squats, burpees, mountain climbers, and ski jumps.
Tabata is great training for surfing because, similar to surfing, you are expending short bursts of energy followed by short periods of rest. This is repeated multiple times. Making Tababta a quick but effective way to get your heart rate up during the work week.