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Surfer under a big wave arching over him

5 Best Surfing Mobility & Lower Back Exercises

This is a guest post from Flatrock Wetsuits.

Do you feel like your surfing has stagnated in recent times?

One of the biggest barriers stopping surfers from improving is lack of mobility in the joints. Perhaps all that sitting at that office desk has tightened your hips and lower back so much that it’s stopping you from fulfilling your full surfing potential? If that’s the case, then perhaps it’s time to address your body’s overall mobility.

Mobility and Flexibility… What’s the difference?

Flexibility simply refers to how far your muscles can stretch. Mobility, on the other hand, is your joint’s ability to actively move through its intended range of motion.

High mobility does not just mean high flexibility. It requires strength, balance and correct posture too.

How Does Mobility Improve My Surfing?

  • Paddling: Shoulder mobility is of vital importance when paddling. An efficient paddle stroke requires smooth rotation of the shoulders in their sockets in order to pull your hands through the water (similar to the gears on a bike).
  • Standing Up: Those with tight hips and hamstrings tend to compensate while standing up by leaning their head off the side of the board to make room for their legs to tuck in beneath their body. A flexible lower body (i.e. hips, hamstrings and glutes) addresses this issue.
  • Riding: To maintain balance when riding the stabiliser muscles in your core, thighs and glutes are constantly activated. Strength and mobility in these areas will provide you with a balanced platform from which to surf.

Here are 5 lower back exercises that will improve your mobility and take your surfing to the next level:

1) Cat to Camel

Area of Surfing Improved: Paddling and Standing Up

Exercise Type: Dynamic

How to Perform This Exercise:

  1. Start on your hands and knees;
  2. Relax your head and allow it to drop down. Round your back up towards the ceiling until you fell a comfortable stretch. Hold for 15 seconds;
  3. Gently press your stomach towards the floor, lift your head and push your buttock towards the ceiling. Hold for 15 seconds; and
  4. Repeat 10 times.

2) Downward Dog

Area of Surfing Improved: Paddling

Exercise Type: Dynamic

How to Perform This Exercise:

  1. Start on your hands and knees;
  2. Raise your hips up to the sky and drop your head to look at the floor between your toes. Press down and forward in to the palms of your hands. You should feel the stretch in your upper back, as well as your hips and hamstrings;
  3. Gently return to the starting position on your hands and knees; and
  4. Repeat 10 times.

3) Lower Back Rotations

Area of Surfing Improved: Paddling and Standing up

Exercise Type: Dynamic

How to Perform This Exercise:

  1. Start by lying on your back with your feet tucked in and knees up;
  2. Roll your knees to your left hand side;
  3. Once your knees have reached the floor (or the limit of your mobility) gently lift your knees back over the centre of your body and towards your right hand side; and
  4. Repeat 10 times.

4) Knees-to-Chest

Area of Surfing Improved: Standing up

Exercise Type: Dynamic

How to Perform This Exercise:

  1. Start by lying on your back;
  2. Gently lift your knees to your chest. To complete the stretch hug your knees and gently pull them even closer to your chest; and
  3. Repeat 10 times.

5) The Cobra

Area of Surfing Improved: Standing up

Exercise Type: Dynamic

How to Perform This Exercise:

  1. Start by lying on your stomach;
  2. Place your hands on the floor in line with your shoulders. Keeping your hips and lower body relaxed, gently straighten your arms to lift your upper body up off the ground;
  3. Gently bend your arms to lower your upper body back down to the starting position; and
  4. Repeat 10 times.

About the Author: Angus Boyd is a long-time surfer and the founder of Sydney based wetsuit label “Flatrock Wetsuits”.

How can I improve my surf mobility?

Lost of the exercises resolve around flexibility, strengthening your core and losening your hips.

Is surfing bad for your lower back?

Surfers can put a lot of pressure on their lumbar vertebrae through over-arching when they lie on their board and paddle so it's very important to stretch before and after your surf.

About the author

About the author
STAFF WRITER

Mr Mark Jessen

Mark Jessen studied English at Brigham Young University, completing a double emphasis in creative writing and professional writing/editing. After graduating, Mark went to work for a small publisher as their book editor. After a brief time as a freelance writer, Mark entered the corporate world as a copywriter. These days, his hours are spent mostly in proofing and editing, though he continues to create content for a wide variety of projects. In 2017, Mark completed UCLA's Creative Writing Certification. A prolific writer, Mark has over 20 years of experience in journalism.