Try out the no-equipment workout our national team surfers are using to get back in shape

Jun 10, 2020

OUR national surfers — who put on an amazing performance back in the SEA Games —are back in training.

Of course, the status of many surf competitions are up in the air — an especially painful blow in a year where surfing was supposed to make its first appearance in the Olympics.

Surfing itself, like many other sports, are also still not yet allowed under the nationwide general community quarantine guidelines.

But the surfers are getting into condition all the same.

Take a look at this screencap of three SEA Games medalists — Roger Casugay, Jay-R Esquivel, and Daisy Valdez — using potted plants as weights.

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The coach who shared the video with SPIN Life is a performance specialist at the Philippine Sports Institute (PSI). Ralph Tecson works closely with the surfing national team — as well as the teams for muay thai, windsurfing, fencing, and many other sports — to develop their physical and mental conditioning.

He chuckled as he told us about their unique workout equipment. But he was proud, too. “Dun mo makikita na yung mga atleta, gusto rin talaga nila to maintain and improve at their own capacity,” Tecson said.

The PSI (which operates under the Philippine Sports Commission) has been aiding these athletes out by sending them complete workout plans. Want to try it out? Here’s the first routine they have to do:

Vertical jump squat (stick the landing), 8 reps, 2 sets
1-leg vertical hop (stick the landing), 4 reps per side
Weighted goblet squat, 10 reps, 3 sets
Elbow plank with alternating forward arm reach, 10 reps, 3 sets
Single leg squat (from sit to stand), 10 reps, 3 sets
Pushup, 12 reps, 3 sets
Sissy squat (supported), 10 reps, 3 sets (see video for how to do this)
Hand plank with alternating shoulder tap, 10 reps, 3 sets
Sprint-jog interval run, 10 meter distance, 10 rounds

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This workout routine is just the first day of a 10-week exercise program that the PSI developed to get the surfers back in shape. It follows a step-by-step, or periodized, process, where the surfers work their way up from body adaptation to full-on power and endurance work.

While there are no workouts or exercises that are specific to a certain sport, “There are what we call exercises that predominantly transfer to a certain sport,” Tecson explained.

Take plyometrics. While it doesn’t initially seem to make sense for surfing (unlike, for say, a jump-heavy sport like basketball), Tecon explained: “Part of plyometrics is landing. So if you're coming off a paddle and you're going to drop off a four-foot wave, how would you land na stabilized ka pa rin from a four feet of height? So you have to control your landing.”


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Surfing may look easy, but it’s definitely not — even from a conditioning perspective.

“Pagka nakikita yung tao na nagsu-surf, tingin mo madali lang e. Actually it's not. Nakakapagod,” he said.

The PSI is also hoping that the national athletes would help bring more awareness for the need of physical fitness. If, for example, they would post their workouts on social media, the institute encourages them to hashtag the videos with #WeHealAsOne and #PhilippineNationalTeamAwareness.


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“Ito na yung help [ng isang atleta] sa sambayanan. You may not be feeding people, you may not be giving out money, donations, but you're doing a lot for the general public by just sharing your training. Because you're encouraging them [to become more active],” Tecson explained.

The hope is that by making fitness an even more integral part of a Filipino’s life, we can be even better prepared for COVID-19.

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