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Tone up with Toyah | Upper body strength

As you may know, surfing challenges your strength, power, speed, endurance, fluidity and flexibility. It’s the ultimate work-out! To be able to become a better surfer we need to keep up our physical state!

So we’ve teamed up with fitness enthusiast Toyah Marshall who will be creating some easy ‘do it at home’ workouts to help you tone up, improve your surfing and avoid faffing around with any equipment whatsoever! They can also be tailored for everyone, so get involved!

This month we are focusing on Upper Body Strength!


UPPER BODY STRENGTH

by Toyah Marshal

Let’s be honest. For most of us winter means less surfing. Whether it be fewer sessions because of the darker evenings or shorter sessions because it’s damn cold, we don’t all get as much water time as we would like. As a result, it’s easy to get frustrated and worry all that progress made before winter hit is going to go out of the window but that doesn’t have to be the case.

Land-based training is just as important to your surf fitness as water-based training is. Even the pros spend their time between sessions training so why shouldn’t you? Even if I spend a few weeks out of the water, my training keeps me strong and if anything, I have found my surfing has improved as a result of training alone.

Each month I’m going to go through a series of exercises that you can use to keep yourself surf fit or to improve your surf fitness.

One of the most essential things a surfer needs to have is upper body strength to pop up and paddle. For us girls upper body strength is usually a problem area that most will neglect in the gym. The usual reason I hear is that because they surf, they don’t need to work those muscles. Wrong! If anything, training upper body is just as important if not more so if you surf.Below I am going to take you through some basic bodyweight exercises you can do anywhere that will help build your upper body strength.

SAFETY FIRST

Before you begin here are some safety tips:

– Do these exercises on a mat, carpet or padded floor

– Make sure you warm up beforehand and stretch afterwards

– Start slow and do the adapted moves if you need to

– Do not do these if you are pregnant or recently had a baby without GP clearance.

THE FORMAT

Do the following exercises for 10-12 repetitions each then move on to the next one. Rest for 15

seconds between each exercise. Do a total of 4 rounds of all the exercises.

THE EXERCISES

Narrow push up

This mimics the pop up position so is a great exercise if you are struggling to really push yourself up!

 1. Start lying face down with your hands positioned close to your body either side of your chest and  your eyes looking at the floor just ahead of you.

1. Start lying face down with your hands positioned close to your body either side of your chest and your eyes looking at the floor just ahead of you.

 2. From here push your body up and keep a neutral spine. Your upper body should rise at the same  time as your hips- do not snake upwards by lifting your chest first and then your hips.

2. From here push your body up and keep a neutral spine. Your upper body should rise at the same time as your hips- do not snake upwards by lifting your chest first and then your hips.

 3. If you are a beginner then start on your knees.

3. If you are a beginner then start on your knees.


Pike Pushup

This is basically like downward -dog. You want to stand with your feet wider than hip width apart then walk your hands out in front of you until you are in this position. Your hands should be wider than shoulder width apart.

 From here you are going to aim to lower the top of your head to tap the floor between your hands so you should be looking back towards your feet. Bend your arms and lower as far as you can go then push back up.

From here you are going to aim to lower the top of your head to tap the floor between your hands so you should be looking back towards your feet. Bend your arms and lower as far as you can go then push back up.


Plank walks

These are good for upper body but also core strength.

 1. Start in a plank position with your arms straight.

1. Start in a plank position with your arms straight.

 2. Lower your right arm down to lie on your forearm and then the left.

2. Lower your right arm down to lie on your forearm and then the left.

 3. From here then push back up with your right arm and then your left to return to the plank. Next time lower the left arm first and so on.

3. From here then push back up with your right arm and then your left to return to the plank. Next time lower the left arm first and so on.

Your hips should be steady and still so if you find yourself swaying move your feet wider apart to stabilise yourself. Keep this movement slow and steady. This can also be done on your knees if you need to build up strength.


Hand-release Push Ups

Again, these are great as they mimic an aspect of the pop up.

 1. Start lying face down. Feet together and hands on the floor in a standard push up position.

1. Start lying face down. Feet together and hands on the floor in a standard push up position.

 2. From here you are going to lift your hands off the floor then with force slam them back to the floor and at the same time push yourself up.

2. From here you are going to lift your hands off the floor then with force slam them back to the floor and at the same time push yourself up.

 3.Hips and chest rise together. Lower yourself back down and raise hands again to start the next rep.

3.Hips and chest rise together. Lower yourself back down and raise hands again to start the next rep.

If you cannot do a full body push up you can do these on your knees.


Tricep Push up

Time to give those triceps a bit of attention.

 Start by lying on your left side. Cross your left arm across your chest and have your knees bent in front of you for stability.

Start by lying on your left side. Cross your left arm across your chest and have your knees bent in front of you for stability.

 Take your right arm and place your hand on the floor in front of your left shoulder. From here you want to push with your right arm to lift your upper body off the floor. Then release to lower. Once you have finished on this side turn over.

Take your right arm and place your hand on the floor in front of your left shoulder. From here you want to push with your right arm to lift your upper body off the floor. Then release to lower. Once you have finished on this side turn over.


Swimmers

Lying on your front extend your arms out in front of you, hands together in a diving position. Feet are together. From here lift your legs and upper body off the floor as you pull arms back tucking your elbows into your ribs and squeeze your shoulder blades together.

 Lying on your front extend your arms out in front of you, hands together in a diving position. Feet are together.

Lying on your front extend your arms out in front of you, hands together in a diving position. Feet are together.

 From here lift your legs and upper body off the floor as you pull arms back tucking your elbows into your ribs and squeeze your shoulder blades together.

From here lift your legs and upper body off the floor as you pull arms back tucking your elbows into your ribs and squeeze your shoulder blades together.

Return to the start lowering your legs and upper body before repeating.

And there you have it! Do the above exercises for 10-12 repetitions each then move on to the next one. Rest for 15 seconds between each exercise. Do a total of 4 rounds of all the exercises.

You can even do these moves whilst watching the TV!

Keep an eye out for next months work out with Toyah!

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