Which muscles are involved in surfing? Here is a visual guide showing the most important muscles used to catch waves.

When I came out of the water after my first surfing lesson, I learned how poorly my body was prepared for this activity. Years spent at the gym didn’t help a lot. Since then, I have changed my workouts routines, focusing on endurance, balance and strengthening those muscle groups that have to work the hardest in the water.

Depending on the stage of the surfing session, different muscle groups play a major role.


Strong arms are crucial when paddling out the back. Core muscles including abdominals provide stable position on the board.

Pop up

Couple of muscles groups work here. Those include: chest, abdominal and leg muscles as well as biceps and triceps.

On the wave

Once you manage to catch the wave and start to have fun, the muscles of your thighs, glutes and core play the key role.


In order to be able to surf effectively, it’s crucial to be aware of these muscles and keep them in good shape.

Here are three sets of exercises that will help you achieve this goal:

Surfing workout: better paddling and more waves

Surfing workout: stronger core and better maneuvering

Surfing workout: posture and balance

Photos: Kamil A. Krajewski

Thanks for reading. Now go surf!