Knee Exercises For Surfers

Our knees need to be strong, flexible and stable for surfing. They help to generate power from a deep bottom turn, holding a drawn out cutback or squatting deep in a tube stance. They help to generate speed and flow pumping down the line or absorb large forces when landing an air.

In longboarding they are important for control and smoothness when cross stepping, or lunging backwards with your back foot in a drop knee cut back while turning the board.

With the progression of aerial surfing there is a greater risk for knee injuries. Having outstanding balance and ability to absorb impact on landing is crucial to keep your knee free from injury.

Below are examples of exercises that improve your knee mobility, strength, balance and stability so you can surf at your best.  

Knee Flexibility

Knee Straightening


Technique: Stand with your back against the wall. Squat/Slide down until your legs are at a 45 degree angle to the floor. Straighten your knee by pushing the back of your knee back towards the wall. 

Regression: Sit at the edge of your seat and place your foot stretch out in front of you on the floor. Straighten your knee by pushing the back of your knee down towards the floor. 

Progressions:  Press your knee backwards against a resistance band tied to vertical support i.e squat rack or heavy table

Half to Full Kneel


Technique:  Start in a half kneel position With your feet flat, flex your ankles and place your toes on the floor

Place your foot up on a chair or a high box or bench in the gym.



Progressions:  Change the angle of your foot to target the inside or outside of your ankle. 


Deep Squat


Technique: Feet shoulder width apart. Hold onto something for support as you sit your bodyweight all the way down into a deep squat. Your feet should be flat on the floor 


Regression:  Hold onto something if you lack balance. If you lack mobility improve your ankle mobility or hip mobility first.


Tube Stance Lunges


Start in a half kneel position With your feet flat, flex your ankles and place your toes on the floor



Knee Strength

Single Leg Squat


Technique:  Squat down on one leg. Perform a deep or shallow squat depending on your ability. Hold onto a vertical support if you are unsteady as you squat deeper. Your Knee should stay outside your 2nd toe as you squat.

Regression:  Double Leg Squat

Single Leg Squat to a chair

Progressions:  Band around your thighs as you squat.

Split Squat


Technique:  Place one foot behind you on a bench, chair or the couch.

Regression:  Sit to Stand or Single Leg Sit to Stand

Progressions:  Swiss Ball Split Squat for increased balance challenge.

Reverse Lunge with barbell at shoulder height, kettlebell or dumbbells for more load/power development

Single Leg Deadlift


Technique: Balance on one leg, with a weight in your opposite hand. Lower a weight down towards your ankle as you lift up your other leg straight behind you. 

Regression: Poor balance? Start with a Single Leg Deadlift to a chair so that you don’t have to go as deep. 

Progressions: Perform on a softer surface like a pillow, foam pad or yoga mat to increase demand on stability.

Lateral Lunge


Technique:  Take a large step out to the side. Lower your bodyweight down. Your Knee should stay outside your 2nd toe as you squat 

Regression: Poor balance or ankle mobility as you lunge? Start with ankle mobility exercises. 

Progressions: Hold a kettlebell out in front of you at chest height or have 2 dumbbells as you squat bring them down along both sides of your knee.

Hip Hinge


Technique:  Push your hips back towards the wall as you lean forward with your trunk in a neutral spine position. Your shin bones should stay vertical. You will feel the weight onto your heels, keep your toes on the ground. 

Regression:  Poor technique? Place a dowel, pole or broomstick on your back to give you feedback. Your head, middle back and pelvis should all be touching the stick. Common errors are squatting to much at the knees, where your shin bones start to go forwards or flexing too much at the lumbar spine (The stick comes off your pelvis). 

Progressions: Perform with a kettlebell lower it down in a straight line to the floor.

Deadlift with barbell (Only to be performed if you have great technique)

Knee Stability for Aerial Surfing

Vertical Box Jumps



Technique:  Get into a deep squat with your arms stretched out behind you. Explode your arms upwards as fast as you can as you jump up to the box.

Regression: Start from a chair if you struggle to get into a squat position.

Progressions:  Depth jump down from box up onto another box.

Jump Rotation Landings


Technique: Jump up from the ground perform a 180 degree or a 360 degree turn and land in a squat with good knee and ankle alignment.

Your feet should be shoulder width apart as you land, avoid buckling at the knees and land with your chest over your front knee.


Regression: Decrease height of jump

Progressions: From a box or bench to increase height of jump

Lateral Single Leg Jump


Technique: Jump sideways and land on one leg. Increase your height or distance to increase the challenge on your stability.

Regression: Land on 2 legs if you are too unstable on 1 leg.

Progressions: Use a BOSU ball to increase the height and length of your jump.  Land on 1 leg with good control, compress into a single leg squat to absorb the force.

Alley Oop Landing Lateral Jump From Box



Technique: Jump sideways and land on one leg. Increase your height or distance to increase the challenge on your stability.

Regression: Decrease height of box

Progressions: Land on a softer surface to increase demand on stability or a firmer surface to mimic the forces of landing in the flats.