Training Rules For Surfers

For most of us, we need to keep a high baseline level of preparedness at all times.  Then gradually build from there.  Especially those who only surf once per week or month.

Because surfing is so reactive and it could be ‘on’ at any time.  This means we also need to build recovery into our training weeks and blocks – allowing you to continually build BUT carry no or minimal fatigue into the water when a swell does roll in.

The below images provide 5 training rules for surfers to live your training life by.  

This is by no means an exhaustive list.  But if you stick to just these 5 rules, you won’t go far wrong in terms of reaching a high baseline of preparedness for surfing.

In addition to the images, you will find some additional context and rationale – in case you’re wondering what the hell I’m on about.

surfing strength training rules


Rule 1

Broadly speaking, the primary reason for this is that high intensity (HI) activities use the same metabolic pathway to trigger adaptation. 

Training a mixture of HI (i.e. gym, intervals) and lower intensity (i.e. a long slow run) on the same day will still lead to gains of course.  

It’s just that theoretically they use different adaptation mechanisms – which is probably not optimal.

surf training rules

Allow 48 hours betwen high intensity training days

Rule 2

The central nervous system can be heavily impacted by HI training.

This is great IF you give it enough time to recover before the next session.

A fully (or as near as possible to) recovered CNS will allow you to access and stimulate those higher threshold motor units and coordinate your movements to improve force / power production.

surfing strength training

Allow at least 48 hours between your last night intensity day and any surf session

Rule 3

As a rule, you want to enter the water firing on all cylinders. 

This means carrying as little neuromuscular fatigue or muscular soreness as possible, for the reasons already mentioned above.

surf strength training rules

Select intensities based on specific adaptations and stick to them.

Rule 4

For example 30 seconds max effort provides an amazing glycolytic stimulus. 

30 seconds at 7/10 effort however does not!  

If you are chasing a specific adaptation, it’s important to stick to the prescribed intensities.

surf training rules

Training for performance is a process. Embrace it!

Rule 5:

Trust the process and have FUN.  It will work!

Bonus Rule:

Don’t exclusively train on wobbly stuff.

We hope you have enjoyed learning about my top 5 training rules for surfers.

Like what you see? Take a look at our FREE Mobility Manual For Surfers PDF.



Don’t allow a lack of mobility to limit your surfing, or your life! ‘The Surfing Mobility Manual’ was written by a coach working in professional sport. 

“Adrenaline Athlete was a complete game changer. Alan’s approach is so professional and not at all overwhelming…I’ve never felt so energised and confident in the line up and it’s all down to hard work and the correct guidance from Alan.” 

Chris / Longboarder