Surfing Take-Off/Pop-up Problems?

After several months away from surfing (or as you get older), many people complain about take-off/pop-up problems. They are too slow getting up and their timing is off. A big part of the problem is weak muscles.
How often during the course of a day, week, month or year does

your normal daily routine include standing up from a prone position? For most, almost never. To take-off/pop-up, you must stand up from a prone position. You need to develop/strengthen the muscles used to stand up from a prone position.
My go to take-off/pop-up training was squat thrusts.
My separate additional workout was, and still is, push-ups and sit-ups (combined).
But lately the squat thrusts have felt a bit “high impact.” My wrist and hand joints ache the day after the workout. For many, their knees have problems too because squat thrusts are very dynamic.
Several months ago I came up with a new take-off/pop-up training exercise. For lack of a better name, I call it a “Semi-Prone Stand-Up (SPSU).” This exercise is low impact and can be done as slow as you like.

  1. You begin with your arms extended in the “up position” of a push-up (both legs and feet are extended back), body flat in a plank-like position.
  2. Bring one leg forward, knee under your shoulder (knee as close to your collar bone as possible).
  3. Bring the other leg forward, knee to the same position as your first leg.
  4. Stand up.
  5. Return to the push-up “up position” you started with (arms extended, legs and feet back).
  6. Repeat. Bring the alternate leg forward first this time.

Do as many reps as you can tolerate. Divide total number of reps into 4 sets. Take 3-minute rest intervals after each set. Ultimately, do as many reps as the number of waves you want to catch in a session (3X/week). Increase difficulty by increasing speed.
To get maximum take-of/pop-up benefit from SPSUs, add push-ups as a separate exercise.
As always, before starting a new exercise, check with your physician to see if you are healthy enough to do it.
BTW I do several other workouts — eight more beyond SPSUs, push-ups and sit-ups.

Why doesn’t the photo show up at the end of the post where I wanted it?
Unable to edit photo (remove and re-post).

Great advices. Thats the only way. Yoga exercise aré good too. Greetings

The biggest thing that works for me regarding the pop up is hanging leg raises as pictured below. I usually do them in sets of 20-30 and I try to do them explosively. Its the motion of pulling your legs up under you which is a combination of abs and the muscles of the upper legs. When you do this exercise you might be surprised to find the muscles around your hips and upper legs burning as much or more than your abs. Being able to get your legs up under you quickly is the key. Other than that I focus on barbell bench press and lat pull downs both doing lighter weights and a high number of reps. Basically I set the weight so I’m gassed at 15 reps and I’ll do 5 sets.

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I really like your leg lifts Mako. I will definitely add them to the several exercises I already do.
I think you’d be surprised at how challenging SPSUs are.
I’m 71 and have been working out for over 53 years.
At 25, I was inspired by the Silverback Gorilla and Gibbons at the San Antonio Zoo. After seeing them, I abandoned weight lifting (spinal compression exercises). Started using my own body weight, or less, only (chin-ups, pull-ups, dips, push-ups, step-ups, sit-ups, Shotokan, Chi Kung, and swim/row/kayak-paddle [weight & pulley] machine I built). Over the last few years, I have modified all of my exercises around 2017 Mayo Clinic Research.


BTW I played around with different ways to do leg raises.
You can do them from a standing position (alternating) one leg at a time also.
No equipment required.

I discovered this also as a way to maintain not just strength but hip flexibility.

My understanding of the scientific literature is that tendons and ligaments adapt to the stress of resistance training. I just adopted barbell work after injuring my back. I’m 62. Deadlifts, squats, overhead presses, rows and lunges, with relatively light weights

Also, why not just do pop ups? I was told 3 sets of five once a day. I haven’t been doing them, but I do one set of push ups to failure (for me about 35) every morning. I also do squats into the tube stance because, besides slow pop ups what I notice is silver surfers can’t tuck into tubes, which is my favorite thing to do.

Do you have a link to the Mayo Clinic research you refer too?

First, I should probably add a very brief biographical summary of my background.

I am a retired professional scientist (71). I spent 2.3 years as a medical student at UT Southwestern Medical School. My doctoral degree at TX A&M was in Aquatic Science. My research for that degree was in the area of Applied Theoretical Physiology.

Yes the human body restructures around the appropriate types of exercise — muscle, blood vessels, bones, nerves, connective tissue, etc. Those who are aging, may find exercises like pop ups, squat thrusts, running (etc.) hard on the joints. Pop-ups are helpful for maintaining the quickness needed for take offs. However, tendons and such become more brittle with age, especially when not used as much.

The exercise shown above can be done slowly with minimal joint impact, developing needed strength and stamina. Do pop-ups as well if/when you can

For resistance training, twice a week, I do 48 push-ups and 48 sit-ups 18 minutes after chin-ups and pull-ups (36 each) as well as 72 modified dips (all of these exercises done over a 2-hr period).

But my main Mayo HIIT training is step-ups, done as fast as I can tolerate, 4 min (X4) each 4 min step-up interval followed by 3 min of no resistance pedaling. Eighteen minutes after the step-up HIIT workout, I do 4, 4-min swim-row-kayak exercise on my pulley/weight machine (each 4 min interval followed by 3 min of no resistance, seated, overhead swim stroke).

I will try to dig up those Mayo Clinic links for you.


Cell Metabolism (journal article from 2017 Mayo Clinic Research)

IMO Below are the important points from the NY Times article that summarized the 2017 Mayo Clinic exercise research:
( The Best Exercise for Aging Muscles
Gretchen Reynolds – MARCH 23, 2017)

[See p. 582, paragraph 4 in Cell Metab. for an accurate description of 3 min. rest interval:
“HIIT was 3 days per week of cycling (4 3
4 min at >90% of peak oxygen consumption [VO 2 peak ] with
3 min pedaling at no load) and 2 days per week of treadmill
walking (45 min at 70% of VO 2 peak ).”]

"In general, everyone experienced improvements in fitness and an ability to regulate blood sugar…

interval training three times a week on stationary bicycles (pedaling hard for four minutes, resting for three and then repeating that sequence three more times)…

But more unexpected results were found in the biopsied muscle cells. Among the younger subjects who went through interval training, the activity levels had changed in 274 genes, compared with 170 genes for those who exercised more moderately and 74 for the weight lifters. Among the older cohort, almost 400 genes were working differently now, compared with 33 for the weight lifters and only 19 for the moderate exercisers.
Many of these affected genes, especially in the cells of the interval trainers, are believed to influence the ability of mitochondria to produce energy for muscle cells; the subjects who did the interval workouts showed increases in the number and health of their mitochondria — an impact that was particularly pronounced among the older cyclists.

It seems as if the decline in the cellular health of muscles associated with aging was “corrected” with exercise, especially if it was intense…"

This AHA link is useful for gauging an appropriate intensity for exercise.
After I recommended the 2017 Mayo HIIT workout to a friend, he used the vigorous exercise heart rate from this link I sent him for his stationary bike HIIT workout. He has seen significant improvement in his medical test results. (BTW he is/was very fit. He teaches the martial arts and holds a 7th degree black belt in karate and a 1st degree black belt in weapons.)

FYI the video at this link shows the way I do Step-Ups. I do them faster than shown in the video. My platform is 7.25" tall. I do 2, 4-min intervals with the Right Leg and 2, 4-min intervals with the Left Leg. (I don’t do the High Step though.)

Your video link doesn’t seem to be working.

Now I accidently deleted the whole post.

INtersting point (among many) in video- recommneds hitting max heart rate at least once a week for amultitue of benefits. (1:51:15 in video)

I’ll take a look at the podcast.
In general, after his podcast demonizing alcohol consumption, I’m not a big fan of Huberman. While he presented facts, he also dealt in opinions, generalizations and half-truths. The problem with a lot of medical research is that it frequently relies on “meta-analyses” which can have substantial variability among data sets, many uncontrolled variables and often relies on anecdotal (subjective) case histories.

BTW I believe the No-resistance (N-R) Pedaling rest interval is a critical factor in the 2017 Mayo HIIT research. The legs are the single biggest venous return pumps in the human body. The N-R pedaling increases blood return to the heart. This in turn increases cardiac output without placing a significant work load (stress) on the heart. End result is improved circulation to heart and muscles during the 3-min N-R rest interval.

The work about aging by distinguished Harvard Med School geneticist, Dr. David Sinclair, suggests to me that some of the genes activated by the 2017 Mayo HIIT workout are responsible for DNA repair.

BTW I believe The Huberman podcast is funded/subsidized by a company in the the nutritional supplements industry.

I don’t know much of the background of Huberman but it is mostly his guest, Dr. Galpin, talking.

I saw that Huberman was interviewing Dr. Galpin. I am interested in hearing what Galpin has to say.

Beyond adding Mayo-based HIIT workouts, I forgot to mention the primary modification I made to “all” of my workouts/exercises. I added 3-min No-Resistance Pedaling rest intervals immediately following each exercise set. Most of my exercises are done in 4 sets.

This modification is directly related to my previous comment:

“I believe the No-resistance (N-R) Pedaling rest interval is a critical factor in the 2017 Mayo HIIT research. The legs are the single biggest venous return pumps in the human body. The N-R pedaling increases blood return to the heart. This in turn increases cardiac output without placing a significant work load (stress) on the heart. End result is improved circulation to heart and muscles during the 3-min N-R rest interval.”

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Thanks for sharing. I appreciate the input of someone who studied “applied theoretical physiology” although “applied theoretical” sounds kind of like an oxymoron.

My background. I got very interested in exercise and health after a scary diagnosis and then an injury. My dad died at 58 of a heart attack. His dad died at 58 (of a non heart related desease). At 57 I started feeling chest tightness when I would run. I was running a lot. When I turned 50 my response to the “mid life cisis” was to run a marathon and then I did 8 in a row. The chest tightness was diagnosed as a myocardial bridge- the LAD -left anterior descending artery- aka widowmaker, dips under the heart muscle causing reduced flow during the systolic phase of the heartbeat. A lot of people have it in a benign form. Other times it can be very debilitating and even fatal. It tends to manifest symptoms in ACTIVE older adults because the elasticity of the artery deteriorates with age and recovers more slowly from the compression of the heart muscle (systole), causing angina or worse. Preliminary treatment is with beta blockers which relax the endothelium (artery) and slows the heart rate, lengthening the diastyolic phase where blood can get through. In severe cases they do “unbridging”- cutting away the heart muscle over the artery. I’m on beta blockers.

Then just before the pandemic I injured my back surfing and could not surf for 6 months and surfed like a beginner for another 6 months (and yes, the thing most affected was the pop up). I went down the rabbit hole of back pain management…and reflections on mortality.

So just for sake of argument, stress (exercise/training) causes adaptation (strength). I was told your body adapts very quickly to body weight exercises and then no further adaptation occurs. The only way to drive adaptation with body weight exercise is to to go all the way to failure, which takes time and is therefore inefficient. …and taxing.

Applied Theoretical = applying (physiological) theory
At least, that’s what it means to me.

You have brought up some good points for discussion. But I just finished my new added day of Tai Chi warm ups followed by Shotokan kata. Too tired to get into detailed discussion now. Need to down a couple of those demonized beers.

But food for thought.

First, with body weight workouts you don’t have to exercise to failure to increase demand/stress loads. I have another method for increasing muscle work load. Also exercising to failure isn’t necessarily going beyond maximum muscle capacity. You are just increasing lactic acid in your muscles beyond your body’s capacity to clear it. (Another reason I like N-R pedaling after every resistance exercise set.)

Second, how much length of your LAD is impinged? If not too much, you may be able to develop collateral flow. Also read up on angiogenesis/arteriolargenesis.

BTW all of my current approach to exercising is to deal with my heart and vascular issues too. My father died of a massive MI at 72. And my mother had PAD.

More extended discussion later.

Well…I mentioned my grandfather died at 58. It was from cirrhosis of the liver due to alcohol consumption. So I have a healthy respect for the dangers of alcohol. He lost his business in SF when he and his family were put in internment camps in WWII. He never really recovered. Couldn’t restart his business. My grandmother supported the family by house cleaning. It was a blow to his pride and he resorted to drinking.

When I got my diagnosis the MD said to cut way back or eliminate alcohol. My salvation was/is non alcoholic beer which has gotten a lot better then the old Near Beer. I also still sneak in a glass of red wine very now and then.

My bridge is “significant” according to the MD. I had anomolous symptoms. I wouild get chest tightness at the beginning of the runs that would go away after five minutes or so. The fact that it would go away rather than get worse stunped the MDs. The theories provided me were- the other arteries take up the slack (collateral flow?) or, endorphins produced by the exercise mask the pain. I would have had to do a kind of angiogram while on the treadmill (I forget the exact name of the test) to determine what exactly is going on. But since my symptoms have gone away with the beta blocker therapy they felt it was not necessary.

I still run twice a week- 10k with intervals, hill climbs and stairc limbs and either another 10k steady pace or a 13 mile easy pace. No chest pain the last couple years. Like one of your above article states, I think the interval work, getting up to near max heart rate, is very benficial. At first I was avoiding it but MD’s advice was if you feel chest pain just walk or stop. I always run with doses of aspirin and beta blocker just in case.

Oh one other thing re max or target heart rate. Mine is way above the 220-age formula. I used the method outlined in this article (not the calculator).

Did you get your max heart rate while doing intervals as they describe? Sounds like they use interval training very similar to that used in the 2017 Mayo Clinic study.
You can stimulate collateral flow development which is what my primary objective is. I’ve got 50-60% blockage in one of my coronary arteries and atherosclerosis in several non-cardiac arteries elsewhere in my body. (Also in theory, I am trying to stimulate angiogenesis — it is a multi-factorial process).

How to Turn the Capillary Network Into Collaterals

“When there is increasing traffic volume on a highway, it may make sense to make the highway into a larger freeway to allow a higher traffic volume. In short, the same happens to the coronary arteries: When blood flow is increased, the inner layer of vessel cells (endothelial cells) sense this necessity and start the process of enlarging from capillaries into genuine collateral vessels. In response to endurance exercise training (such as running, bicycling, swimming, and hiking), blood flow is increased, which leads to a conversion from capillaries into collaterals. This is a very elegant treatment everybody can accomplish. It reduces the chances of the occurrence of angina pectoris, myocardial infarctions, and death. Beyond the interventional, surgical, and medical treatments against coronary artery disease, this collateral training is a natural and valuable therapy that many patients can apply by themselves, for themselves, if only they are aware of it.”

Also, the work done about aging by distinguished Harvard Med School geneticist, Dr. David Sinclair, suggests to me that some of the genes activated by the 2017 Mayo HIIT workout are responsible for DNA repair.

I read Sinclair’s book, “Lifespan: Why we age — and why we don’t have to.” One of the big things he found was proteins that repair the DNA damage that occurs with aging – one group of those proteins is sirtuins. Most genes have the code for synthesizing one protein. The Mayo HIIT research showed that the HIIT workout activated almost 400 genes in the older age group.

BTW I do my best to cap my daily alcohol consumption to the ABV of 2 domestic beers. Some studies, albeit case history based, have shown consuming the alcohol equivalent of 2 beers as having longevity promoting benefit.

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