Get a Lean, Surfer Body—No Board Required

Last Update: March 11, 2020

I love how strong and healthy surfers always look—they seem so comfortable and confident in their skin! What exercises can I do to get that same type of body? —Rhea D.

Whenever I think “surfer bod,” Cameron Diaz circa 2007 pops into my brain. The woman looked amazing out on her board, with her defined biceps, serious curves, which flew in the face of the “waif” look that was all over the red carpet those days—and she looked so happy. I think that’s one of the biggest reasons we aspire to look like the surfers out on the water—they seem to be genuinely  enjoying themselves, and their form of fun happens to be a great workout, too! (Obviously, Diaz looks just as good today as she did then.)

Scoring a surfer’s body—strong arms, powerful legs, and a killer core—doesn’t necessarily mean you have to paddle out and ride the waves. Work those same muscle groups a surfer needs to swim out to the waves, jump up on their board, and ride it in with this set of six exercises.  Don’t be fooled by how easy they make it look—surfing is a tough full-body workout. That’s why it yields such great results.

Whether you’re a longboard newbie or just a landlocked websurfer, these six moves will challenge and improve your balance, cardiovascular endurance, and overall strength. Surf’s up!

Surfer Body Workout

Equipment: Yoga mat, 10-15 pound kettlebell
Estimated time: 24 minutes, 2 times per week
Works: Biceps, triceps, abs, glutes, quads, hamstrings

Kneel to stand

As many times as possible for 2 minutes


Charleston balance

As many times as possible for 2 minutes balancing on the right leg; on the second round, switch to the left leg and repeat


Surfee (Surfer Burpee)

As many times as possible for 2 minutes

Plank reach

As many times as possible for 2 minutes


Knee to elbow press-up

As many times as possible for 2 minutes

Boat rocker

As many times as possible for 2 minutes
Repeat the entire sequence (remember to switch to the other leg on the Charleston balance).

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Michelle Pellizzon

Certified health coach and endorphin enthusiast, Michelle is an expert in healthy living and eating. When she's not writing you can find her running trails, reading about nutrition, and eating lots of guacamole.

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