Muscles for Surfers

October 3, 2017

What muscles do you use when you surf?

Well, this blog will be an informative science excerpt that will hopefully help you get a better understanding of surf anatomy as well as which muscles you should be strengthening to help prevent your body from injury. Lets start with paddling out through the waves. When a surfer paddles, he or she uses their triceps, biceps, deltoids, the trapezius, the rectus abdominis, the latissimus dorsi, and last but not least, the obliques. In other words, you are using your arms, shoulders, back and your outer core muscles. In order to prepare these muscles for the physical exertion they are going to engage in, you MUST stretch before. Using resistance bands to warm the muscles up is also a good pre-surf ritual. Stretching is also a good idea once you’ve made it through the break! Get out there into the line up, your muscles are warm and more willing to loosen up.

Once you are ready to take off and catch a wave, the muscles that you will engage are the pectoralis major, the deltoids, the triceps as well as the biceps. These will help lift your upper body before your legs get into the equation. Once your feet touch the board, you will be involving the quadriceps, gluteals, and the gastrocnemius. These are all lower body muscles that need to be strong to be successful. Your hip muscles are very important in surfing because they will be engaged to complete bottom-turns, carves, cutbacks, and aerials. They are often associated with torso rotations, which happen constantly while surfing.

So you’re probably reading this and saying to yourself, she could have saved a lot of time by just saying that you use your whole body while surfing, which is true, but I wanted to give you the breakdown. Each muscle is underrated in a lot of the activities and sports we put our bodies through. We just don’t realize it until we feel the soreness afterwards.

Stretching is not the only way to keep the body ready for surfing. Eating right and drinking water are two main factors. The muscle groups need oxygen as well. So take a step back from smoking if you want to give yourself the best opportunity to excel. A lot of surfers also participate in yoga. It may seem like part of the “surfer vibe” but it truly is an amazing way to keep your body healthy and your muscles in the right shape.


Surfers that train competitively will also do strength training alongside yoga to give themselves the best of both worlds and maximize their flexibility and power in the water. Hopefully this blog has given you a better idea of the muscles you use while surfing and how to maximize their performance!