Paddling Strength Exercises for the Surfer

by Amy Schultz, DPT, CSCS >> Request an Appointment


Weather has been warming up and summer vibes are nearly upon us. In order to prep for those long days in the water battling the crowded line ups, paddling strength is a must! Paddling is a movement that requires not only enough thoracic spine (mid back) mobility, but also core strength and shoulder stability. Below are a few exercises that will help make sure your body is in tip-top shape for paddling.


Roll Outs (2 x 5 reps working up to 3 x 10 reps)

This exercise targets the core, upper body strength and latissimus dorsi mobility - all areas that target paddling muscles to maximize paddling power. The further you roll the foam roll away from you and the closer your hips come to contacting the ground, the more difficult the exercise!

Make sure to keep your lumbar spine (low back) flat and your shoulder blades pinched back and down throughout the roll out.



Supermans (2 x 5 reps each side working up to 3 x 10 reps)

Part of paddling is incorporating the lower body for kicking. Supermans are the perfect exercise to practice dynamic core stability when integrating the use of the upper and lower body together.

Likewise to the roll outs, make sure to keep your lumbar spine (low back) flat and your shoulder blades pinched back and down throughout the exercise.



Renegade Row with Rotation (2 x 5 reps each side working up to 3 x 10 reps)

Here, we take the traditional renegade row exercise and add a twist - pun intended! Due to the incorporation of a rotation, we can target thoracic spine mobility and rotary core stability. The thoracic spine works hand in hand with our shoulders. Because of their relationship, the more movement you have in your mid back, the more range of motion your shoulders will have. This increased range of motion can allow our shoulders to work at a more functional range during paddling.

Make sure to keep your lumbar spine (low back) flat and your shoulder blades pinched back and down throughout during the plank.



Try these out and let us know what you think in the comments section!

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