Though the surfing and paddle-boarding season might be over, training season is open year round. Here are some training methods for board-athletes and stay-up paddlers to do in the off season in order to keep your muscles and skills in-tact and make sure you're ready to rip come next season.
For strength training you don't necessarily need to be lifting massively heavy weights in a gym (you can, but it certainly isn't necessary), but you do have to keep your muscles strong and building up strength can only help you. Push-ups are a great exercise that can both build muscle strength and muscle endurance, depending on the number of reps and set you perform. Military push-ups are the closest push-up to getting up on your board and work your pectorals, deltoids and triceps.
Try alternating between sets of 15-25 and quick sets of 5-8 as fast as you can safely go; this interval training and muscle confusion will give you some of the best results and you'll be able to take advantage of the speed out on the water. You can also do some more isolated exercises to target specific muscles groups like shoulder presses, deep swimmers (pictured below), and upright rows for deltoids and traps; back flys and lat pull-downs will help with your back muscles; squats, wall sits and lunges will build up the muscles in your legs needed to keep you balanced while on the board.
Your toes, one of the most used muscles needed to keep you affixed to your board, need exercise, too. While they don't make many machines that will help develop your toe strength, sand is a free option and simply running barefoot on dry sand is one of the best exercises you'll have for your digits.
Your core contains some of the most necessary muscles groups for surfers and paddlers as it's used in everything from paddling to standing to keeping your balance to swimming back to your board after a fall—for paddle-boarders, having a stronger core is more important than having massive shoulders or being able to crush a soda can with your bicep. Try some lower back extensions with a fitness ball positioned under your hips, your body facing the ground. Raise your head to a position where you feel the flex in your lower back, lower and repeat for 10-12 reps (you can also do this with small weights held to your chest). Make sure your lower back and obliques get a lot of attention. Obliques can be worked with side raises but will benefit the most from resistance training as that's what you're dealing with on the water.
Yoga, too, can help you train—the Vinyasa flow might seem eerily familiar to standing—and their balance postures will translate easily to surfing and paddle-boarding; plus the fine muscles exercised will keep your whole body tuned up, making you more flexible and limber as well. You can also up your balance by using Indo boards, fitness balls and other balancing equipment. A good exercise involves standing on the Indo board and catching balls thrown to you by a partner.
With these exercises you should be able to mitigate any lag that might come over you as you get back on the board next season. This means you'll have more time to have fun and challenge yourself instead of making up for the absence.
About the Author: Mike Walters has been writing about health and wellness for over a decade. When he isn’t busy writing about the benefits of wellness programs, he spends off days on the beach with his dog and his girlfriend Anna.