The Foundation for Power?…STRENGTH!
Strength is very simple: it’s the amount of force that someone can produce. Newton’s second law of motion teaches us that force is created when you accelerate a mass (mass x acceleration = force). When your body creates enough force it allows you to accelerate your body’s mass fast!
Your body cannot produce force if it has no force to produce. Force production is the foundation of all movement. I will use surfing for example because I appreciate the sport and the skill that it takes. To be able to perform a skilled maneuver such as the cutback, or an air maneuver (see videos below) one must generate incredible force and acceleration to perform these with POWER and EXPLOSIVENESS. If we train our muscles to be strong enough to produce a certain maximum force in a given athletic situation, that means we can accelerate our bodies or an external object similar in mass faster and with more power.
(Professional Surfer Kelly Slater- Top, Professional Surfer Gabriel Medina- Bottom)
For those of you who are more experienced with weight training, you’re probably thinking “many of those qualities are affected by different training stimuli,” and you’re definitely right. Explosive Strength (power) and Reactive Strength (plyometrics) are used to fine-tune your neuromuscular abilities by focusing the Maximum Strength that you have just built.
Explosive Strength focuses on increasing the Rate of Force Development (RFD), or how fast your muscles are able to produce force. This type of strength is especially important for power lifting, Olympic lifting, shot put, weight throw, baseball pitchers, javelin, and discus, as these sports are expressions of maximal explosiveness. If you can create the same maximal force that you have developed through your Maximal Strength phase faster, this will translate into performance. This is expressed through high-load speed strength (moving heavier loads, like a snatch) and low-load speed strength (moving your body weight, or lighter loads such as in discus).
Reactive Strength qualities are beneficial to athletes who are dynamic in their sport. This applies to most team sports and individual sports, including hockey, rugby, football, baseball, golf, tennis, squash, etc. Reactive Strength is the muscle’s ability to apply force quickly, after completing a Stretch Shortening Cycle (SSC). The SSC is the transition from, yep… you guessed it: being stretched, to being shortened. If you’re a soccer player running one direction and the ball zips by to your left, you want to get there as quickly as possible. Instead of stopping, turning left, and starting to run, we simply crossover and push off with our right foot, propelling our body to the left. We don’t do a full squat and jump to the left. We plant and push off, wasting no time at all. And if your SSC is faster and produces greater force than the defender, I think we can figure out who gets to the ball first.
References Hales, M (2011) Evaluating Common Weight Training Concepts Associated With Developing Muscular Strength: Truths or Myths? Strength and Conditioning Journal; February; 33 (1); pp. 91- 95.
Hori, N; Newton, R; Nosaka, K; Stone, M (2005). Weightlifting Exercises Enhance Athletic Performance That Requires High-Load Speed Strength. Strength and Conditioning Journal; August; 24 (4); pp. 50 – 55.
Top Picture: Julian Wilson, Bottom Picture: Carissa Moore, both are sponsored by Nike 6.0 which sponsor the talented youth of the Surfing industry today.
Today’s surfers aren’t beach bums who hang out in the water all day. They’re pure athletes who train hard to stand out in one of the toughest sports on the planet. Like all great athletes, modern surfers spend serious time in the weight room. Whether you’re a surfer or just want to train like one, add these four goals to your training regimen to get your body ready for the pounding surf.
Great surfing moments are made in just a few short seconds of explosive action. Give yourself the best chance to catch the biggest waves and pull off the maneuvers that impress judges and sponsors by focusing on explosive strength training. Instead of jogging long distances, sprint up hills. Instead of trying to build massive biceps, focus on quick, strong movements like Squat Jumps and Box Jumps. Start your training with these exercises:
Don’t miss the wave of your life because you couldn’t paddle back out to the breakers quickly enough; focus on endurance training to stay fresh in the water longer. Any surfer can work hard for the first few minutes of a competition, but champions are able to push through until the end. Build endurance through:
While core strength is crucial for any athlete, it’s especially important for surfers, who rely on their core to stay balanced and pull off tricky maneuvers. You’ll develop core stability naturally by performing lifts on your feet, but work on developing core strength specifically through:
While you’re developing your body in the weight room, make sure you get 100 percent from it during competition through proper nutrition. Running your body on an empty tank will cause it to shut down, and the ocean is an extremely dangerous place to lose control. The following articles contain great tips for proper athlete nutrition:
- Build Muscle and Lose Fat with 9 Healthy Eating Tips
- Why Protein Is Important for Athletes
- Three Tips for Eating Healthy on a Budget
As a surfer, don’t be afraid to hit the weight room. If you’ve only trained in water, you’ll be surprised by the difference a solid strength and conditioning program can make.
Shelton Stevens is a member of the strength staff at the University of Southern Mississippi. Prior to joining USM, he was the head strength coach at Nova Southeastern University (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.). He has also worked under LSU strength coach Tommy Moffitt, helping to train the Tigers’ nationally-ranked football team and their 2009 national champion baseball team. During his career, he has worked with four national champions, seven conference champions and 12 All-Americans. He is CSCCa, SCCC, USAW, NSCA and RSCC certified, and he holds a bachelor’s degree in exercise science and a master’s degree in athletic administration.
Is your program specific to the sport? How does your exercises mimic what the athlete does in his or her sport? These are questions that often Strength & Conditioning Coaches get asked by parents, athletes, and sports coaches. But a weight room is a facilitator to movement not an area to practice your specific skills, and a Strength & Conditioning coach’s job is to train athleticism not to work on sport specific skills. A strength program can only get so sports specific before it becomes an actual sports practice. As an athlete you need more strength and power in some sports, but the way you build it doesn’t change from sport to sport, it changes from athlete to athlete.
The problem is that what works for most athletes isn’t a good choice for every athlete. That’s when you have to make specific adjustments for individual athletes, or types of athletes. Sometimes this means adding targeted exercises to address imbalances and help prevent injuries. But more often, training specificity is defined by what you shouldn’t do with those special cases — avoiding exercises and movement patterns that create problems or that make existing problems worse (Michael Boyle, 2008). What Coach Boyle is trying to say here is why as Strength Coaches would we input movement patterns in our program that the athletes constantly mimic in their sport? This will only cause more imbalance within the body. Here are some examples I have personally encountered:
(These pictures are examples of what NOT to do)
Female Basketball Coach asks: Our basketball players seem to have trouble catching the ball, could we work on grip strength or practice catching heavy medicine balls?
A: The coach needs to realize this problem has nothing to do with the weight room, and maybe spending more time at practice with specific ball handling drills. And catching medicine balls your looking at an injury risk and possibly messing them up even more
Professional Surfer asks: I practice a lot of body movements that mimic what I do in the water. I also use an indo balance board to help with my surfing as well. Will this help me become a better surfer?
A: What this surfer is doing will only help to a certain extent. What they have to understand is that you can only gain so much practicing in the water, doing body weight exercises, and throwing around some medicine balls. An Indo-Board wont get the job done, LIFT WEIGHTS!
Soccer Coach: Is there anyway to add soccer balls into the workout? This will make the workout more sport specific.
A: FALSE, adding soccer balls will not help with what they are trying to accomplish in the weight room. Kicking, jumping for a header, soccer balls are all things that need to stay at practice.
As Strength Coaches we focus on developing the trainable attributes (Speed, Power, Strength, Endurance, and Agility), which can only be held together by setting a solid foundation (Flexibility & Core). Without having a strong core and good flexibility an athlete cannot progress.
Want to paddle harder, turn quicker, rip harder, and last longer in the water? WELL LISTEN UP!
Surfing is of course FUN! And yes it’s a great workout. But your time in the water and your technique isn’t enough if you want to become GREAT at what you’re trying to accomplish. You don’t realize there is a big piece of the puzzle that will help you reach your full athletic potential.
Do not rely on just surfing as your workout. In addition to making you a better surfer, a solid Strength and Conditioning program will allow you to recover much faster from your battles with the water. You will be less prone to injury and will have more stamina to stay in the water longer and actually having fun instead of struggling to breathe out there.
Let’s Get One Thing Straight
A lot of people think lifting weights is about gaining weight, getting bigger, losing flexibility, and looking like a bodybuilder. Actually it’s the total opposite, lifting weights will actually help you lose body fat, get leaner, gain flexibility, get stronger, and help with overall mental toughness, and of course look like an athlete. Strength & Conditioning training is about training like an athlete, it’s about performing exercises that will transfer over to your sport, which in this case is Surfing. Balancing on a physioball, crunches, and resistant band exercises just wont get the job done. Don’t get me wrong, there is always a time and place for this type of training but usually its when you’re trying to rehab from an injury. Weight Training and the right kind of Speed and Conditioning program will help you enhance your performance.
What Do You Need To Become A Better Surfer?
- 1. Explosive Power and Overall Strength
- 2. Muscle Endurance
- 3. Core Strength
- 4. Nutrition!!!!!
Explosive Power & Strength
You can gain these attributes by performing Plyometrics, Olympic Lifts, and just overall Resistance Training.
Note: Lifting weights and performing the right exercises will help you gain balance, coordination, and flexibility.
You can gain muscle endurance by Circuit Training, or as simple as cutting your rest period down between exercises and sets.
Crunches and Sit-ups are HORRIBLE when trying to gain core strength. You must perform specific core exercises such as Planks, Side Planks, Bird Dogs, Etc.
This could probably be the most important aspect of your training plan. If you do not eat right, all the training you’re doing is for nothing.
Use a Jet Ski for example, if those Jet Ski’s aren’t filled with plenty of fuel there is no way they are able to battle through those water’s to come save our asses. Same goes for our bodies, if we are constantly trying to perform on an empty tank or cheap gas we will not be able to perform to full potential and eventually shut down.
Remember: “Proper Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance”
CREATE YOUR LEGACY
Is Surfing a Sport?
Surfing is a SPORT, a hobby, a lifestyle, an addiction. Think of every sport you know of and what do all of them aim for; they aim to win. Surfing aims for the same things rather it be against a friend, yourself or in a contest where you compete. In surfing competitions surfers are scored on a scale from 1 to 10 based on the surfers ability to execute the most radical maneuvers with speed, power, and flow in the most critical sections of a wave.
Why is the SPORT of Surfing Hard? What Muscles are used?
People have to realize that water is constantly moving in all directions. Compare this to the sport of tennis. Tennis of course is a great sport that definitely gets you in shape, but doesn’t require the same extra challenges as the sport of surfing. Surfing requires you to have balance, stability, and of course mobility. It requires a great deal of upper body and core strength, which is mostly used in the sport. The posterior muscles of the body is constantly getting worked in the water, these muscles are neglected the most by people that workout in the normal gym or weight room. We as strength coaches understand the importance of the posterior side of the body and often call these our “go muscles”. The reason for this is because everybody wants to work the “show muscles” which is the muscles people like to look at in the mirror, but hardly help us move efficiently as athletes.
Below is a picture of our posterior muscles
Still Not Convinced?
ESPN recently ranked surfing the 23rd hardest sport in the world. This number is out of 60 total sports and judged by ten experts they have plated at many levels of sport including surfing. ESPN also reports that Hawaii has officially made surfing a high school sport starting in 2013.
Sports Personality Dan Patrick recently asked the question, “Should Kelly Slater be ranked among the worlds greatest athletes?” Kelly Slater has won 11 World Titles in the SPORT of surfing; he just recently turned 40 years of age and still competing for his 12th. Kelly Slater is also trying to make Surfing a competitive sport in the Olympics through his Wave Company project. Check out the videos below on Kelly Slater
Surfing Isn’t Just for Men
Here is a video of some of the up and coming female surfers. For many years guys have ruled the surf world, but people are now saying these girls are helping the surf industry grow. You can go to a local store and see CoCo Ho’s face representing Gatorade’s G-Series Fit (an athletic sports performance drink).
Video is sort of long but check it out