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HealthTraining & Performance

Dave Kalama's Five Exercises for Every Athlete

The surf legend's crucial exercises to achieve full-body strength for any athlete

(Photo: Franck Berthuot)
dave kalama workout training surfing exercises best exercises for surfing

“It’s essential that you make your workout something you don’t dread,” Kalama says. One way to do that: use your surroundings. “When you go to a gym, it’s one-dimensional. But when you go to a mountain or a park or a beach, the workout is being drawn more from your will. Use the trees, use the park benches, use logs lying on the ground, use curbs, use whatever you’ve got. My whole life has been dictated by fun.”


Kalama’s peak-fitness beach workout would crush the average athlete. But add in the five exercises below three times a week and you’ll notice a marked improvement in strength. Increase the number of reps by 1 to 2 percent as you get stronger.


LUNGES: Do 30, taking ten normal steps between each set of ten. Why? “Lunges build power, strength, and a solid foundation.” (See a demonstration video here)



MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS: Do 20 to 30, with each alternation counting as one. Start in a peaked push-up position with your glutes in the air, hands flat on the ground shoulder width apart, and stomach drawn in. Then hop your right and left legs back and forth as quickly as you can—your feet should come between your hands—without raising your butt too high. Why? “These work the whole ball of wax,” Kalama says. “They activate from your upper thigh all the way to your shoulder, connecting the power from your lower body to your upper body.” (See a demonstration video here)



PULL-UPS: Do three sets of three to six. Why? “These are for arms and shoulders, which are important for paddling, climbing, rowing, and any sport that requires upper-body strength.” (See a demonstration video here)



PUSH-UPS: Do 55 (five sets of 15, 10, 10, 10, and 10), with five minutes of jogging in between. Why? “They provide shoulder, core, and hip strength.” (See a demonstration video here)



BICYCLE CRUNCHES: Start with 50. Lying in a sit-up position, bring your left elbow to your right knee, straighten your left leg, then alternate to the other side, touching right elbow to left knee and straightening your right leg. Keep your neck flat, looking straight up. Build up to 450 more in other variations. Why? “To strengthen the core, which is essential in paddling and all sports. Most of your power comes from your core.” (See a demonstration video here)

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Filed To: SurfingStrength and Power Training
Lead Photo: Franck Berthuot