The 50 pop up challenge


Not a day goes by in the fitness world when we’re not issued with a new challenge, whether its squats or burpees, planks or crunches.  So I’m upping the ante with a pop up challenge.  Dry land pop ups are one of the best ways for women to improve their surfing, but it’s a bit like going on a diet … we know it’s good for us, but we don’t want to have to do nasty, boring things like eat salad.  So that’s why this challenge mixes up doing pop ups with other exercises, to keep it more engaging….

What you’ll need:

1) A watch or a phone with a timer, or a fitness timer.  I use this one from Gymboss…



Set the timer to one minute intervals with 10 seconds rest between each interval.


2) A kickass playlist on your ipod.  I also usually put a surf dvd like Leave a Message on mute as added inspiration

The workout:

  • 10 pop ups
  • Wall sit
  • 10 pop ups
  • Side lunges
  • 10 pop ups
  • Yoga tree balance – right side
  • 10 pop ups
  • Yoga tree balance – left side
  • 10 pop ups
  • Russian ab twists

This workout only lasts 11 and a half minutes, and phew, you’ve done 50 popups.  However it is pretty brutal so if you’re new to surfing just start by aiming for 10 popups.  If you find yourself clutching the mantelpiece and groaning “OOOff”, then you’ve gone too far.  Allow yourself time to build up strength and stamina.  The good thing about this workout is that you can put whatever exercises you like into it.  Mix it up, for example I really like standing on my indoboard between the popups.  You can also use equipment like a medicine ball, a swiss ball, a trx, kettlebell or weights.  Whatever you darn well like.  You could even throw in a bit of hula hooping.

Keep a record of how many pop ups you manage to do, and track your progress.  Try to look right or left as your popping up and imagine yourself looking along the wave face.  If you’re a superstar you can try popping up switch stance, that is if you’re regular footed try to include some goofy pop ups and vice versa.   The real motivation will come when you feel your surfing in the ocean improving.  Repetition is vital in surfing, it’s all about muscle memory, so dry land training can really help you get good technique stuck into your muscles.

Having preached all this, I need to admit that I don’t do this workout nearly as often as I should do.  My own pop up often resembles that of a dancing pig with Bell’s Palsy.  But I find if I just manage to bust our 10 pop ups on the sand before getting in the water, it makes a big difference.  I want to eventually turn this blog into a vlog.  blog + video = vlog (don’t say this blog is not informative) but first I need to coerce some of my more videogenic friends to don their spandex.

popups with dog

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