April 14, 2008 5:36 AM   Subscribe

Surf's-up-filter: I need the body of a surf god, for mainly functional purposes (although I'm sure the side benefits will be great, too).

Recently picked up surfing again after about a decade off, for the most part, and I've realized I am completely not in shape - after getting out for 3 or 4 rides in rough surf I am toast for the day - and that's on a long board, sadly enough.

I run about 6 miles a day so I'm in great aerobic shape, but my upper body strength has completely dropped off - no lifting or anything in the last few years. I'll likely be back in NYC for the next year, where my window for surf is relatively small, but hoping to move back to California after that, doing grad school somewhere near enough to the ocean to surf every morning. I want to be in shape before I get there though.

So, for one year in the city, with limited time to devote to actual surfing, what are the best work-out tactics / diet-tricks to be in peak physical condition to start shredding when I move back west?

So far I plan to look for a lap pool and start replacing about half of my running with swimming, so suggestions for a cheap, decent pool in the city are welcome. Beyond that, dropping some of the perpetual junk food from the diet and getting more fiber / protein and fruits / veggies. What are your top tricks for getting ripped to ride?

Thanks wave-riders.
posted by allkindsoftime to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
When you say you're toast for the day - what's sore? Exercise those muscles. There's any number of weightlifting threads here on the 'filter.

That said, swimming will likely be the best thing you could do for yourself. I've recently discovered, which gives you workouts as often as you ask for 'em, thereby keeping the boredom at bay.
posted by notsnot at 5:55 AM on April 14, 2008

Just keep surfing until you get into better shape. Is that not like the ultimate exercise program? ;)
posted by caddis at 6:34 AM on April 14, 2008

Guys, he's said he can't do much actual surfing where he lives now. This is a question about off-season training, basically.
posted by grouse at 6:47 AM on April 14, 2008

Best answer: Some NYC rec centers have year round/indoor pools. Yearly membership is $75.
posted by jefftang at 7:17 AM on April 14, 2008

Best answer: /me struggles to remember. Pain when beginning to surf from most acute to least: neck, shoulders, triceps, "core", deltoids. The arching causes the neck and core soreness, but that goes away quicker than that caused by the actual paddling motion. Surfing was never cardio-intensive to me, other than having sufficient breath function to feel confident when you're held under so I might point the running time into upper body workout if you're really trying to minimize the ramp-up when you return to California. However, surfing is sufficiently different enough from swimming or weight lifting that there isn't a massive amount that will carry over. Focus on low intensity, many reps to come close to the paddle out.

As for diet? Over half the "surf gods" Diamond Head and Kailua that I remember carried sizeable guts, especially the long-boarding tribe. A diet of loco-moco for lunch and dinner over a span of 2 weeks should be helpful for that physique.

More seriously, your plan is good. Combine it with some kind of an arching exercise (could be as simple as finding the right yoga studio) and you'll be ready. Plus on the yoga supplement would be increasing the fluidity of your motions.

Good luck surviving the lack of waves. Right now, I'm looking longingly at Lake Michigan.
posted by minedev at 7:44 AM on April 14, 2008

Best answer: I have run into the same problem as you. I am in an area not known for it's consistency so I used to do everything in my power to surf whenever there was a swell but recently work has gotten in the way. I also used to be a gym rat, tended to focus on heavy lifts minimum cardio. Needless to say, this did not help me when I was in the water.

I have been doing some cross training type exercises for almost a year now. High intensity stuff for 30 minutes or so, and if I am doing it consistently then I notice I don't fatigue as quickly when hitting the water. I started by following this Mens Health workout. I still feel it's a great workout and seems to cover all your bases. I have since moved on to CrossFit. I don't want to come off as a crossfit preacher so I will just leave it at that.

I think the principal of the above workout is geared pretty well to just getting in all around good shape. Its quick, very intense, and relies a lot on body weight so you can some of the workouts anywhere. To mix it up I would consider some HIIT cardio. High intensity interval training. Jog/sprint/walk/...jog/sprint/walk....

One other thing to consider if you are not able to get to a pool, is to pick up skateboarding. I ride a longboard skateboard, quite a bit. It helps your balance and is also just really fun. I know NYC isnt too conducive to skating down the streets but I am pretty sure there is a group of skaters that hit central park a lot. Might be some info on here.
posted by WickedPissah at 8:43 AM on April 14, 2008

Best answer: If you have gym access and need to really burn up your upper body, I would seriously consider focusing on 5, 15, 25, and 30+ rep sets of compound exercises, as heavy as you can manage for that rep range.

- Flat, incline, and decline barbell bench press
- Overhead press
- Seated row, bent over barbell row, lateral cable pulldown
- Deadlift, Romanian deadlift, goodmorning
- Power cleans, barbell shrugs

If you're running distances up to 6mi, your lower body strength and endurance should definitely be above par already. Stick with the compound movements for your upper body, you cover all the bases and be completely ready when the time comes.

If you were to cover the aforementioned movements, maybe 2-3 hard lifting days a week, for a year? Assuming you ate right as well, you'd probably be more than ready for some surfing, not to mention ripped.

Problem is, I suppose.. that the quickest ways to power/strength/speed/endurance are all the most difficult ones. Good luck.
posted by crunch buttsteak at 9:28 AM on April 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

But, again, you already run 6mi daily - I find that more tedious to do than moving thousands of lbs 5 days a week. So I think you're probably a great candidate for hard training.
posted by crunch buttsteak at 9:30 AM on April 14, 2008

Buy this Book
posted by tiburon at 10:10 AM on April 14, 2008

Best answer: Practice popups at home on the floor. Pushups too. And yoga.

Also, when you swim, do some laps with the little foamy knee thing so you are required to engage your core and only use your arms to go.

And if the surf is crap (which it often is in the bay area), use that time to work on paddle technique or swim against the current, or whatever you can do to get a workout and salvage the fact that the conditions aren't working out.
posted by iamkimiam at 10:18 AM on April 14, 2008

Best answer: Push-ups Training Program! I'm starting this week.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:29 AM on April 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

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