I am getting ready to take a surfing trip this winter in Costa Rica. I live in the mid-west and have no opportunities to train in actual surfing conditions, but would like to be ready to surf in whatever conditions we find, however extreme. What steps do I take to get in the best shape possible?

Much of what we do as personal trainers is to train our clients for events that they are unable to recreate themselves. Whether it is extreme skiing, hiking in the Grand Canyon, or preparing for golf season in February in Michigan, we find ways to get our clients in the best shape possible. Surfing takes an enormous amount of skill and technique as you know. The most important aspects of surfing are balance, core strength, cardiovascular capacity and upper body strength. The best way to train is to increase you cardiovascular and lung capacity by swimming, as you would be in open water. Doing a combination of interval training in the pool along with long endurance swims would allow you to gain the cardiovascular endurance needed to withstand long days on the water. Overall strength, balance and coordination can be accomplished through a series of exercises performed by using various training aids such as balance boards, foam rollers and stability balls. I would incorporate all of your traditional strength exercises and perform them on the stability ball to enhance your overall core strength, which would also strengthen your upper body. Lastly, since there is no way to predict what real-world situations you will encounter, flexibility training is very important for injury prevention.

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