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3 workouts to improve your wave count

Norbert Ferenczi
13 of July 2023
3 workouts to improve your wave count
Have you ever been frustrated because of not catching as many waves as you wished for? 
We all know that feeling…but it’s not all of us who knows how to work on it!

In this article we introduce you to 3 exercises which you cannot skip if you would like to improve your wave count and surf more waves!

Only the upper body muscles are used to propel the board forward.

Therefore, it is important to build strength and mobility to ensure you are recruiting the proper upper body muscles to improve power while paddling.

The most important muscles to strengthen for surfing are located in the posterior shoulder (scapula) and upper back, including: Rotator cuffs,Scapula stabilizers,Latissimus dorsi,Trapezius

1, Weighted Paddle

What you need?

  • light weights or dumbbells (  water bottles can do the job too) 
  • An exercise ball or a high platform 


 Lay in a prone position on the exercise ball or platform off the floor with your head and leg raised and the unused arm by your side. Start with a small weight in your hand and tuck it close to your chest. Start the exercise off by moving the weighted arm behind you at first but then in a circle of rotation finished with the weight back at the starting point. Repeat this for both arms.

Do 10-12 reps with 3-5 rounds and pause about a minute in between rounds. Make sure that you stretch in your breaks. 


Similar to the paddling position, these slow weight contractions in the paddling movement improve all the major muscle groups used whilst paddling in the water, the advantage of this exercise is there it will help to give more precision to your paddle.

2, Chin ups

What you need?

  • a bar 
  • your own weight


Grab the bar with your hands right above your shoulders and let yourself hang. From this starting position, proceed to lift yourself until your chin gets above the bar. Ideally you would like to do 8-12 of it in 3-5 rounds but if you are not capable of doing it. Chin ups are very easy to alter to suit your ability level so you can lower the amount and set up your own goal. 


Chin ups will help you build stronger core muscles in your abdomen, back, and hips. These muscles are important for maintaining balance and posture, which means they can help you with your paddling power too and give you a healthy posture. 


What you need?

  • a yoga mat

Get into a push up position, with your elbows under your shoulders and your feet hip-width apart. Bend your elbows and rest your weight on your forearms and on your toes, keeping your body in a straight line. Hold for as long as possible or set up a goal. For example hold each plank until 30 sec keep a break of 1 minute then repeat 3-5 times. 

Planking will help you better engage your core and increase your upper body strength, which is exactly what you need when you are paddling for waves. 

Having a constant fitness routine that focuses on all these exercises will dramatically improve your surfing endurance, and pretty soon you’ll be able to ride the waves for hours on end.