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6 Stretches for Supple Surfing

Bodhi Surf + Yoga / Surf + Yoga Camp Blog / 6 Stretches for Supple Surfing

As a former college athlete and surfer, I’m all too familiar with the myriad limitations imposed by having tight muscles and stiff joints. To improve and maintain my mobility (and athletic performance) over the years, I’ve learned many stretches that have proved beneficial to my health and protected me from injury. In fact, I worked as a stretch therapist for some time prior to moving to Costa Rica and joining the Bodhi staff.

I have compiled a list of my six favorite stretches to perform before and/or after surfing, with accompanying photos, description of process, tie-in to surfing, and the muscles that each stretch is designed to target.

Neck stretch for Bodhi Surf + Yoga

1. Seated neck stretch


Sit on bench, couch, or chair. Place one hand under buttock. Use free hand to pull head toward opposite shoulder. Take chin down toward chest. Perform stretch for 30 seconds each side.

Relation to surfing

Neck and traps are engaged to hold head up while paddling.

Target muscles

  • Sternocleidomastoid
  • Trapezius
  • Scalenes
Tricep stretch for surf camp

2. Standing table triceps stretch


Stand in front of table or railing. Place elbows shoulder-width apart on table surface and press hands together. Lean forward and pull hands toward upper back. Sink into stretch for 30 seconds.

Relation to surfing

Triceps are engaged while pushing up to the feet from the prone position. Lats are engaged while paddling.

Target muscles

  • Triceps
  • Latissimus dorsi
Chest stretch for surfing

3. Standing corner chest stretch


Stand in front of corner between two walls. Take both arms up into 90 degree angles. Lean into corner while pressing hands into walls. Sink into stretch for 30 seconds.

Relation to surfing

Pecs and delts are engaged while paddling and pushing up to the feet.

Target muscles

  • Pectoralis major
  • Pectoralis minor
  • Anterior deltoids
Shoulder stretch surf camp preparation

4. Side-lying shoulder internal rotation


Lay on side with shoulder and elbow in line with ear. Create 90 degree angle between upper arm and lower arm. Pull hand toward the floor. Perform stretch for 30 seconds each side.

Relation to surfing

Shoulder mobility, especially internal rotation of the shoulder, is necessary for pain-free paddling.

Target muscles

  • Anterior deltoids
  • Biceps brachii
Spinal extension for surf camp prep

5. Upward facing dog


Lay on stomach in the prone position. Place hands next to chest and push into floor. Press thighs into floor and extend the spine. Hold stretch and breathe deeply for 30 seconds.

Relation to surfing

The spine is extended while paddling and transitioning to the feet.

Target muscles

  • Rectus abdominis
  • Erector spinae
  • Iliopsoas
Psoas stretch for surfing

6. Couch stretch w/ spinal rotation


Find couch, bench, or wall to place back leg up against. Bring front leg into 90 degree angle. Squeeze buttocks and tuck rib cage down (to prevent arching low back). Extend arms overhead. Twist toward front leg. Perform stretch for 30 seconds each side.

Relation to surfing

The hip flexors are engaged during the transition from prone to standing. Maintaining supple psoas muscles allows for proper spinal extension while paddling.

Target muscles

  • Quadriceps
  • Iliopsoas
  • Transverse abdominis

Written by Spencer Dunlap

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About the author

Bodhi Surf + Yoga

A surf and yoga camp providing community-engaged travel experiences in beautiful Uvita, Costa Rica. Learn about what makes Bodhi Surf + Yoga different and don't hesitate to contact us.

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