Assess Your Surfing Shape

The most important step to your surf fitness journey is to discover your current state of health so you can compare this starting point with yourself in the future. This means performing assessments that clearly tell you where you are when it comes to your strength, flexibility, balance, cardiovascular endurance, weight, lean muscle, body fat percentage, dynamic range of motion, core strength and overall neuromuscular coordination.

Below is an explanation of the assessments you will need to perform to get the best idea of your current fitness status:

Weight: Jump one a scale write it down.

Body Fat Percentage including Fat Weight and Lean Weight

This is one of the most important aspects of your status as it directly tells you how much fat you have on your body compared to total body weight. This allows you to know your lean weight which will determine an idea of how much muscle you have. If your lean weight goes up and your body fat goes down you’re on the right track.

There are a few methods of testing this.

  1. Skinfold Caliper Method. The gym you belong to most likely has a trainer that can quickly and accurately measure your body fat via skinfold calipers. In order to track this you will need to visit this link to input the skinfold thickness of each site: You can then write the results down on the Assessment Sheet below.
  2. Bio-Impedance. This sends electrical waves through your body and measures the speed at which they travel. The more fat one has, the faster the signal travels. A fat tracking scale can have this feature, and they are relatively cheap. There is also a handheld device called an Omron Body Fat Analyzer that can be purchased for only $35. This method is not very accurate but can be semi consistent for tracking Body Fat vs Muscle Mass.
  3. Underwater Weighing. Expensive but extremely accurate. $50 per measurement but worth it if you have a gung ho must know personality.
·         Vertical fold·         Posterior midline of the upper arm·         Halfway between the acromion (shoulder) and olecranon processes (elbow)·         Arm held freely to the side of the body
·         Diagonal fold·         Men: one-half the distance between the anterior axillary line (crease of the underarm) and the nipple·         Women: one-third of the distance between the anterior axillary line and the nipple
·         Vertical or Horizontal fold·         Midaxillary line at the level of the xiphoid process of the sternum
·         Diagonal fold·         1 to 2 cm below the inferior angle of the scapula
·         Diagonal fold· Anterior axillary line (modern technique)o    immediately superior to the iliac cresto    in line with the natural angle of the iliac crest taken·         Mid-axillary line (traditional technique)o    Superior to the iliac crest
·         Vertical (modern technique)o 2 cm or 1″ to the right side of the umbilicus·         Horizontal fold (traditional)o    2 cm to the right side of the umbilicus
·         Vertical fold·  Anterior midline of the thigh·         Midway between the proximal border of the patella (upper knee) and the inguinal crease (hip)

Before Photo

You can supplement body fat for a before photo if it is too much trouble. This will show you your current look compared to photos in the future. Be sure to take the photo in the same location wearing the same clothes. This will ensure the lighting is the same so no extra “fake definition” can show. One front view photo and one side view photo. Attach these to your Assessment Sheet below. You will be blown away how much you can change in one month.

Overhead Squat Assessment

This assessment measures you total body balance, coordination, postural strength and surfing flexibility. By having a mate video your squat you can analyze specific movement imbalances that can determine a customized flexibility and corrective exercise program. Perform 5 Squats from the front and side view with feet hip width apart and arms extended straight overhead. Below, fill in the chart for the specific movement imbalances you see.

To make this easier, we offer a free service that includes complete analysis of your two videos and development of your own specific flexibility and corrective exercise protocol. This is to be performed before each workout and, if possible, each surf session. Send videos to .

External Rotation Test and Shoulder Flexion Test

This tests your current flexibility in your internal rotators of the shoulder joint including Pec Major and Latissimus Dorsi, important paddling muscles. Most surfers have major tightness in these muscles due to constant use and relatively little stretching.

Max Push-Up Test: This strength test measures the ability of the chests and triceps to do endurance based work. Holding your body in a straight line, perform as many full range of motion push-ups where your chest touches the ground and elbows fully extend. Write down the total number to refer to after the first phase of the program.

Max Pull-Up Test:

Another strength test that measures the force producing endurance of the Lats. Start in the overhand hang position with elbows fully extended then pull up to where the eyes or chin break the plane of the bar. Write down total number to refer to after the first phase of the program.

25lb Should Press Test

How many reps can you push overhead with 25 lbs dumbbells? Start with the dumbbells touching each shoulder then press overhead to where the elbows fully extend. Write down the number of repetitions you get to compare to your future self.

Rockport Walk Test

This test measures your current cardio-respiratory endurance, which can be indicative of how “in shape” you feel during your surf session. You will be WALKING a mile as fast as you can on a treadmill. Once finishing the mile, write down your time and get your immediate heart rate. Type it in to this link for your results: Write down the results in the assessment sheet below.

Pistol Squat Test

This test is the ultimate test for balance, flexibility and strength. If you can perform a perfect pistol squat you have a great advantage in the game of athletics. Standing on one leg, lower yourself into full range of motion single leg squat, in which your heel stays on the floor. Include a small pause when your glutes contact your Achilles tendon then press back up without losing balance or the other foot touching the ground.

4 Min Plank Test

The plank test measures the stability and endurance of your core musculature, which is very important in surfing. We call this the 4 minute plank test as if you make it to 4 minutes you are in the top one percent in the world. Hold a plank from your elbows ensuring your legs hips and back are in a straight line. If your hips sag, end the test immediately. Whenever you fail, write down the time you failed at so you can compare your stamina to your future attempts.


Davies Test

The Davies Test measures the stability and neuromuscular coordination of your shoulder complex. Place tape 36 inches apart and align your middle finger with the tape while in push up position. Set your timer for 15 seconds and attempt to get as many alternating opposite hand touches as possible, ensuring each hand aligns with the tape. Write down your total hand touches in the 15 second time period. 30+ touches is a great score.



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