Madi’s Top 3 Functional Surf Specific Exercises

Madi’s Top 3 Functional Surf Specific Exercises



With Madi Quinn

(TOP – Leah Dawson photo by Hatsumi Surf)


There are my top 3 surf specific movements that are guaranteed to improve your surfing and total body strength & fitness. They are based on my own experience as an ‘everyday surfer’. These exercises aren’t recommended for people who don’t surf regularly or do not have a moderate level of fitness.


(DISCLAIMER * The Mermaid Society/Madi Quinn take no responsibility for injury resulting from these exercises. If you are unsure about how to execute the exercises correctly please consult a professional Personal Trainer or Physiologist. Madi Quinn is a qualified Personal Trainer based in Australia)

You can do these exercises almost anywhere, at the beach, at the gym or in your own backyard. They all target big muscle groups and are functional, meaning they utilise as many muscles as possible to carry out an everyday movement.

Surfing comprises of a combination of strength and aerobic fitness so the best way to maximise your development is to work on elements that will improve in each area.


Shuttle Runs with drop/pop

It’s basic – 20 metre shuttle run with a drop & pop at each end. T

his movement uses both arms and legs and replicates the movements of jumping up on a wave.

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Box Jumps

Personally the first place my body fatigues when surfing a good long break (in comparison to the shorter waves) are my legs.

As the legs start to fatigue you find it impossible to complete turns.

Deep squat box jumps are perfect to strengthen these legs muscles which can be done almost anywhere; using a box in a gym, park bench at the beach, or on a solid platform at home.


High Russian Twist

The Russian twist is a great way to strengthen all abdominal muscles and obliques, which help with stability while surfing. These can be done anywhere and can be done with or without a weight.

Any type of weight can be used, tin cans at home, medballs in the gym or sandbags at the beach.

What ever you chose make sure you maintain good posture and activate abdominal muscles at all times.

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  • 8x body weight squats
  • 6x push up
  • 6x sit up
  • 4x shuttle run (repeat X2)
  • 4x shuttle run with drop&pop
  • 6x Box jumps
  • 16x High Russian twists with medball
  • 2x 4minute AMRAP
    (as many reps as possible-continue exercises for 4 minutes)
  • 2 min rest between sets
  • 4x 20m shuttle drop&pop
  • 6x deep squat box jump
  • 16x high Russian twist with weight


  • 2x 1 min plank
  • 1x max plank


Thanks to THE CUBE GYM in Brookvale NSW. Cube Gym is the perfect place to energise your surf/water skills on land. Check them out online




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