Fitness Tips

The Surfer Burpee Adds an Oblique-Targeting Twist to the Traditional Version of the Move

Zoe Weiner

Photo: Getty Images/Kristina Lindberg
When a surfer pops up on their board, they make the movement look effortless. In one fluid motion, they're able to lift and rotate their bodies so that they're ready to #shred—but trust me, it's not as easy as it looks. Doing the move properly requires you to work your core and upper- and lower-body muscles all at the same time, which means that surfers are getting a serious full-body workout before they've even caught their first wave. Want to reap these same strengthening benefits on dry land? The surfer burpee has got you covered.

Surfer burpees mimic the motion of good, old-fashioned burpees, but with a (literal) added twist. Instead of popping straight up to stand, you rotate your body 90 degrees so that it mimics the motion of a surfer coming into a standing position on your board. So in addition to working your core, glutes, and chest, it also packs an extra punch for your obliques.

"With surfing, you're constantly always turning with your core so making sure that's really strong is very important," Olympic surfer Caroline Marks previously told Well+Good. Even if you're not spending your afternoons on a surfboard, strengthening your obliques is important for moving comfortably through your everyday life. They help build stability throughout the sides of your body and work to support the healthy twisting of your spine.

How to do a surfer burpee

  1. To work your obliques, surfer style, start in a standing position.
  2. Bend your legs to come into a squat, then place your hands on the ground and jump (or, for a modification, step) your feet back into a high plank pose. Depending on how high you're looking to spike your heart rate, either hold your plank or lower down into a push-up or all the way to the floor, then push your body back up.
  3. In one fluid motion, jump your feet to stand and twist through your core so that one leg is in front of the other and your toes are facing the side of the mat. You'll know you've got it right if your body has rotated 90 degrees from its starting point.
  4. From this position, repeat the move, only this time when you jump to stand, twist to the other side. Repeat for 30 to 40 seconds with 10 to 20 seconds of rest, then try it again for a total of three rounds.

You'll be well on your way to catching waves in no time.

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