Getting a quicker pop-up is something every surfer wants. That’s because a quick pop-up is what’s needed to get into the wave faster, so more of the wave can be ridden and more pure stoke can result!
A quick pop-up requires three things:
- Powerful shoulder and arm muscles (specifically, pectorals and triceps)
- A strong core, including hip flexors (to bring the legs up on the board, front foot under the torso)
- Coordination and balance (so the legs come up in a fluid, powerful, and coordinated manner, conserving energy)
The following consists of innovative variations on classical yoga poses:
1. Flowing Warrior 2 Combined with Triangle (Warm-Up)
With legs wide and arms extended, inhale as you bend your front knee to come into warrior 2; exhale as you straighten your leg. Inhale and move into triangle, with both legs straight; exhale and return to standing. Repeat 3 times per side.
Option: To work your shoulders, arms, and core, return to warrior 2, wrap the top arm behind your back and extend the bottom arm, pressing against your inner thigh. Hold for 3 breaths. Repeat sequence on other side.
2. Stability Ball Plank/Push-Up (Strength)
Using a stability ball, come into a push-up position, with the tops of your feet on the ball. This is a variation of chaturanga, a type of yoga push-up.
Inhale and bend your elbows, hug-ging the upper arms to your chest. This position directly mimics the arm position on your surfboard for your pop-up. Exhale as you press back up, powerfully, to starting position.
With your toes on the ball, engage your abdomen and lift your hips high, rolling the ball toward you for a hip lift. This activates the psoas, the hip flexor muscle respon-sible for bringing your legs under your torso for a quick pop-up. Roll the ball back to starting position and repeat the push-up sequence and hip lift 58 times.
Option: Repeat the sequence with one leg lifted for more of a challenge. Doing these moves on a stability ball helps you develop balance and coordination.
3. Warrior 3 with Triceps Extension (Strength and Balance)
This variation on warrior 3 builds core strength and balance while developing the back of the upper arm (triceps) for greater power when you push off the deck of your surfboard on the pop-up.
Use a pair of hand weights (5–8 pounds or your desired amount of resistance). Balance on one leg, extending your other leg behind you, strong and active, with the knee facing the ground. Extend your arms toward the ground, palms facing each other.
Inhale as you bend your elbows, bringing the weights toward your rib cage.
Exhale as you extend the weights toward your hips. Bend the elbows and return your arms to the starting position. Repeat 5 times before switching legs.
4. Side Plank (Core Balance)
Press into side plank as shown. Hold for 3–5 breaths. This pose strengthens the obliques (abdominal muscles on the sides of your body).
Option: Lift your top leg and hold for 3 breaths. Repeat sequence on the other side.
5. Standing Pigeon (Stretch)
Cross one ankle over your thigh and bend both knees. Stretch your torso be extending your arms overhead. Hold for 5 breaths and switch sides.
6. Standing Twist (Stretch)
This pose stretches your shoul-ders, chest, and spine. Lift one leg, bend the knee, and twist the torso toward the bent knee. Place the opposite hand on the outside of the raised thigh and extend the opposite arm while twisting the bent leg toward the opposite side of the body. Hold for 3–5 breaths and repeat on the other side.