Your shoulders are one of the most important areas of your body to keep strong and mobile for surfing. They are involved in power production during paddling to get out the back or sprinting to catch a wave. Your shoulders also help you to generate strength through pressing down when we duck dive or pop up quickly to your board. They can also aid you with balance through cutbacks, powerful top turn re-entries and opening up on backside bottom turns.
The shoulders are a mix of larger muscles used for movement and smaller muscles used for stabilization and to initiate movements for the back and chest. Unlike the legs, back and chest. It’s very difficult to do a single shoulder exercise that will strengthen all of the muscles in the shoulders at the same time.
You need a good variety of exercises and stretches to properly train and increase strength in your shoulder muscles. Below are examples of exercises that will improve your shoulder strength and develop your paddling muscles:
Chin Ups - Chin Ups are a fantastic way to develop lat strength. Having strong lats will enable you to develop better paddling power with sprint paddling which will increase your wave count.
Technique: Grab the bar and wrap thumbs under and around the bar onto your knuckles to make a proper fist grip. Keep your feet together, ideally relaxed hanging in neutral. Some people find it easier to cross legs. Inhale as you pull your chest up to the bar while drawing your elbows down and back.
Cable Pull Downs - Cable pull downs are another great way to develop your paddling power. Especially if you have an imbalance or weakness in one of your shoulders. Or don’t have sufficient strength to perform good quality chin-ups.
Technique: Position the cable up high at a 45 degree angle down to your shoulder. Feet shoulder width apart or in a split stance. Grab cable handle with palm facing down to floor, elbow slightly bent. Ideally you are not at full stretch you should have arm at 150 degrees flexion or 30 degrees off fully straight over head. Exhale as you pull down while drawing your elbow down and back. Straightening the elbow to improve the push phase of your paddling. Control the return of the weight slowly back up to the starting position.
You can also contact The Bali Physio for expert advice and the best solution to improve the strength all of your muscles in the shoulder.