Top Exercises to Improve Surfing Athleticism and Performance


Not many athletes are content with being mediocre. Whether we want to win more competitions, or we just want to be better overall, the desire to improve is within us all.  Surfers are certainly not exempt from this. The answer is to just surf more, right? Not necessarily. While spending more time catching waves can certainly improve your skills, there’s something to be said about doing additional work out of the water and in the gym. Performing exercises two to three times a week to increase your strength, flexibility, coordination, and control can go a long way to improving your surfing performance. Below you’ll find a list of drills and exercises for you to try. While this is not an exhaustive list, if you’re serious about improving your skills as a surfer this is an excellent place to start.

Exercises to Improve Surfing Athleticism and Performance

Front Squats and Squat Jumps

The area that you’ll need the most strength for surfing is your lower body. In order to have the control needed to handle even the roughest waves, you’ll also need healthy joints with a full range of motion. And the best ways to improve your lower body strength and flexibility is with front squats and squat jumps.  Front squats, when done correctly, help to build your core, strength in your back and knees, and flexibility. Squat jumps help you to build the coordination you need when loading up off the bottom of a wave without the risk of landing incorrectly. If you can master these jumps in the gym where it’s safer, you’ll have the muscle memory you need when out on the waves.


Surfing often requires pushing yourself up from the board and doing so quickly to catch the wave before it’s gone (or before it wipes you out). Performing pushups in the gym on a regular basis can help you to build the upper body strength you need to do this effortlessly in the water.