Actually a better way to put it would be….
Can I Improve Balance for Surfing.
And the answer is yes. Many people think that balance is one of those things that you either have or you don’t. How many times have you heard that someone has ‘natural balance’?
I heard it just this morning and, once upon a time, people might occasionally say it about me, but in reality it all comes down to practice.
You probably will have heard the 10,000 hour rule that is often attributed to Malcolm Gladwell that suggests there is no such thing as a ‘natural’ at anything and once examined most ‘natural athletes’ have roughly 10,000 hours of practice behind them.
The same theory applies to any physical activity and while most of us won’t be able to spare the 10,000 hours to master a technique, every little helps if you want to improve balance for surfing.
Any exercise that increases your core strength will have a positive effect on your overall fitness and your balance.
So where do you begin? Well…….
Start with a Single Leg Balance.
A single leg balance will help you work on strengthening your lower body and improving overall balance.
- Stand, keeping your feet hip-width apart, and distribute your weight equally between both legs. Shift your weight to the right and lift your left foot off the floor. Hold this position as long as you can, aiming for around 30 seconds.
- Place your hands on your hips, lift your left leg to the side, and bend your leg back at the knee. Hold this for 30 seconds and then return to the starting position.
- Repeat on the other side. Do three reps on each side and either increase the reps or the time as you feel more comfortable.
Too easy? Try it with your eyes closed.
Single Leg Balance with Ball Toss
Do exactly the same as above but either:
- throw a tennis ball up in the air and catch it
- or throw a tennis ball against a wall and catch it
Keep your eyes open at all times for this one!
Exercises to Increase your Core Strength and Balance
I can sense your eyes are going to glaze over when I mention press ups and sit ups but the following program was suggested to me by Vicky Church from VFit. She is a Muay Thai World Champion who knows a thing or two about fitness and balance (as well as kicking people in the head), so when she talks I listen. I have done this myself every other day as part of my recovery from an appendix op but it’s also great to do to keep your core ticking over when we have a flat spell.
Try this cycle (you can see examples of these press ups at builtlean.com):
- 10 wide press ups (arms straight out from shoulders, elbows at 90°)
- 10 diamond press ups (both hands make the shape of a diamond)
- 10 staggered press ups (one arm higher than the other – 5 on each side)
- 10 tricep press ups (arms tucked in, touching your sides)
- 10 sit ups
Try a couple of reps of the cycle to start with. Each cycle won’t actually take up too much of your time, probably between 2-5 minutes each depending on fitness, but the benefits are staggering. Well worth it.
To start with it may appear that these press ups are only working your arms and shoulders but by the 80th one you’ll be feeling it in your core too – especially if you keep your back straight throughout!
If you find this easy incorporate a swiss ball into the exercises.
Now Get Cracking!
Core strength and balance go hand in hand together – unfortunately you can’t have one without the other but I promise you that if you do this you will see a noticeable improvement in your balance in a week or two. All of the exercises can be performed without any props other than a tennis ball or a swiss ball, they just need a bit of time and commitment.
I hope this has given you a few ideas to be getting in along with. Let me know how you are doing in the comments section below.