Surfing fitness and paddling are one and the same as being able to swim. The benefits of being able to swim, especially ocean swim are numerous.
Anyone who surfs knows that paddling endurance is essential, arm, shoulder, core and basic overall strength and flexibility. We spend more time paddling than we do actually surfing on a wave. Plus, all leashes can break at some point so being a strong swimmer is crucial, especially if you are heading out into bigger waves.
Swimming requires plenty of stamina but surfers require stamina plus short bursts of energy and strength for paddle power to get out the back and onto waves. Because of this, surfers need something different from just traditional swim training if you want to build up stamina to continue paddling for wave after wave. Ideal training for surfing is swimming laps in a pool but you need some variation with drills. The best surfers in the world are all excellent swimmers. Get some good goggles and hit the pool and imagine yourself at the backline on a big day without a board. Designing your swim programs to help your surfing makes it easier to get motivated to jump in the pool and train.
Due to the physical nature of surfing, pool training usually involves some kind of breath work to improve lung capacity, cardiovascular health, which also helps in keeping calm through wipeouts. Yoga training also helps the body make efficient use of oxygen, as well.
Swimmers and surfers use essentially the same muscles for propulsion but for different purposes and in slightly different ways. Freestyle swimming involves pulling the body through the water, keeping the body line long and straight while rotating the torso and kicking with the legs for more propulsion.
Paddling a surfboard is similar to freestyle swimming with regard to the 'pulling' part of the stroke. Like swimming, the powerful muscles of the lats, back, arms and core are constantly engaged to paddle while keeping the body on the board and the head up.
If you want an individual swim program to help improve and enhance your surfing fitness and breath control
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Drills isolate the problem, help correct the problem, help ingrain the correction.
Drills are a useful part of working on form and technique in your swim. By stepping away from just swimming up and down the pool, you can focus on elements of your stroke and add the correct movement and control. You then give your speed the chance to improve through making elements of your stroke stronger.
Many novice swimmers who are just starting to swim can only manage a few lengths without taking a break. To improve your swimming by just continuing to do 500 metre sets may get you faster over time but will always be limited by inefficient form, also ingraining bad habits which will prevent you from getting faster and more efficient.
BUT drills and swim aids are only a tool and should be used properly and specifically. They are not to be used over mindless laps, use them with purpose to improve form and help with speed and fitness. Make sure you know why you are doing that drill and what it is aiming to improve.
Drills build awareness of what your body is doing and how important different elements of your stroke affect your overall body alignment, strength and efficiency.
Below is an example of the Fingertip Drag drill / Zip drill – Swim normal Freestyle dragging fingertips along the surface of water on the recovery. Focus on a high elbow recovery, which ensures proper hand and elbow position at your hand entry. You should also check your body position during this drill, focusing on good side-to-side rotation.
If you are looking to learn to swim or improve your technique and efficiency get in contact.