Surfing can take its toll on your body. It requires an immense amount of core strength and will also place a lot of pressure on your shoulders and back.
Adding some yoga stretches to your routine can help keep you limber and loose when you surf. Yoga can reduce the risk of injury and will also make key muscles stronger and more flexible which can increase your surfing performance.
To help you prepare, we have created a list of the best stretches for surfers.
5 Yoga Moves & Stretches for Surfers
When performing the following stretches, try to complete the full range of motion if it’s comfortable to do so.
If you feel an intense or sharp pain at any point, stop.
It’s normal for your muscles to feel a little tight as they stretch, but it shouldn’t hurt.
Stand straight with your legs slightly apart.
Bend your left leg at the knee so that your calf touches your buttocks.
Reach around and grab it with your left hand.
Hold the position for several seconds, making sure the stretch/pull is on your quad muscles (the front thigh) and not the knee area.
Release and then switch to your right foot.
The cobra pose is often incorporated into yoga routines, especially sun salutations.
Simply get into a push-up position with your palms at chest height, your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle, and your chest and chin on the floor.
Steadily push down with your palms to raise your upper body.
Lock your elbows so that your upper body is off the floor, but your pelvic area is still touching it.
Get into the lunge position, with your left leg kneeling in front of you and your right leg behind you.
Lean forward and press your hands to the floor until you feel the stretch.
Hold it for a few seconds and then switch legs.
This is a good one for your hip flexors, but you need to be careful.
If you already feel the stretch just by getting into the lunge position, that’s as far as you should go.
Stand with your feet less than shoulder-length apart and your knees slightly bent.
Fold your arms over your chest and let your upper body hang forward.
Keep your shoulders relaxed and focus on bending with your core.
Relax, breathe deeply, and then return to a standing position.
Hold, relax, rest, and then repeat.
The frog stretch is another surfing stretch borrowed from yoga.
Get on all-fours and spread out your knees so that they are at a 90-degree angle to your hips.
Lower your upper body to your forearms (or further) and hold the position while taking deep breaths.
If you feel any back pain or knee pain while trying to perform this stretch, stop immediately. It’s not an easy one to get right and if you’re not very flexible, you’ll almost certainly get it wrong.
Is Yoga Good for Surfers?
Yoga is fantastic and can help you to improve your surfing game.
It’s all about core strength and calmness, two things that come in very useful when you’re battling those big waves.
Some of the poses that we mentioned above are actually yoga poses, and at its core, yoga is basically just a series of dynamic stretches.
It’s about moving fluidly from one stretch to another while breathing deeply and relaxing.
If you’re new to yoga, make sure you focus on beginner poses.
One of the biggest mistakes that beginners make is to look for general yoga poses, try to contort themselves into the same shape as the much more experienced instructor, and then suffer as a result.
It shouldn’t hurt.
You shouldn’t be stretching into awkward and uncomfortable positions, and if you find yourself doing any of those things then you need to take a step back and simplify your approach.
Some of the best yoga poses for surfers include:
- Downward Facing Dog: A classic yoga pose whereby the body forms an upside-down “v” shape, with both the palms and soles flat against the floor.
- Warrior Pose: Hold your arms out and turn to your right. Bend your right knee so that your right thigh is horizontal and place your leg out.
- Plank: A simple pose that essentially looks like a push-up with locked elbows.
How Do You Stretch Before Surfing?
You don’t need to perform all or even most of the above stretches before surfing.
All you need is a few minutes warming up your muscles before entering the water.
You should also stretch when you finish, as it will help you to warm down and potentially reduce muscle soreness and stiffness.
In addition, you should look to perform the above stretches during off-days and rest days.
They are designed to promote flexibility and core strength, keeping you limber and preparing you for those tough days on the surf.
Cardio and stretch workouts are also key.
Focus on a program that emphasizes strength and conditioning as opposed to size.
Use bodyweight exercises such as push-ups and pull-ups, as well as cardio that also works your back, legs, and core, such as rowing and boxing.
And remember, don’t overdo it!
It’s okay to stretch every day and you should also try to do some regular light cardio, but you shouldn’t be hitting the weights and surfing on the same day, nor should you be going hard in the gym every day.
Give your body time to heal.