Surfing is difficult enough without adding a fight against a limited and stiff body. Truth is, one of the best ways to improve your surfing (and long-term overall physical wellbeing) is to become more mobile.
Shoulder mobility is vital to increasing your time out in the water and your surfing abilities. An efficient paddle stroke requires smooth rotation of the shoulders in their sockets in order to pull your hands through the water (like the gears on a bike). If you can’t paddle strong, fast, or well, you aren’t going to be catching waves.
Shoulder mobility is not only important for surfers. With many of us in sedentary jobs, we can experience a tight upper back or shoulders from our regular work posture.
Here are my favourite simple shoulder mobility exercises to incorporate into your pre-surf warmup or regular workout routine.
10 Reps Each
THREAD THE NEEDLE ARM EXTENSIONS
From tabletop position extend right arm to the side and up towards the sky, rotate shoulder open. Thread right arm underneath left, hover arm, head and shoulder above the earth. Hold. Extend right arm back to sky. Repeat Left side.
DOWNWARD DOG TO PLANK MODULATIONS
From downward dog, roll forward into plank pose. Hold. Bend knees and lift hips back towards the sky to return to downward dog.
SHOULDER ROTATIONS WITH STRAP
Start gripping strap approx. 1 foot wider than shoulders. Raise arms up towards sky, overhead and down towards base of spine. Raise arms back towards sky, overhead and down towards hips. Move grip on strap closer together to increase tension.
GODDESS SHOULDER DIPS
Start in goddess pose (horse stance). Place hands on knees and dip right should down towards midline. Repeat left side
TABLETOP SHOULDER DIPS
Start in tabletop position, drop chest towards the floor dipping into shoulders. Return to a neutral spine position. Repeat.
REVERSE INTERLACED ARM EXTENSIONS
Interlace fingers at the base of spine. Draw shoulders down and back, lift chest. Extend arms up and back, return to base of spine. Repeat.
Try this alongside my hip mobility exercises for 14 days and see the difference for yourself.