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SUP Pro Talk with Suzie Cooney

Improve Balance & Reaction Time: Indo Board Training Gear & Suzie on the New “Gigante” 24″ Disc

Maui Wave Action!

Waves are a force of nature like no other. Susan does a superb job to illustrate this and more. A great read!


Surf Stronger Order This!

Quick Exercise Video Tip with Suzie Cooney: Walking for Exercise

Quick Exercise Tip with Suzie Cooney: Walking for Exercise

“Just go!”

The benefits of walking for exercise are amazing. Besides not needing to go to a gym, or the need for equipment that’s the first thing. Second, by just simply striking the ground with your own body weight

with that natural force production on your muscles and joints, allows for a gentle and normal stress to the body. This alone can tone your entire body,especially your legs and butt.  The average speed of walking at a normal pace is about 2.5 to 3 miles per hour.  You’ll burn more calories if you walk faster and the other side of the shoe is you’ll build your endurance muscles and gain more muscle endurance if you walk a longer distance. Both is wonderful.

Benefits of Walking:

Help you lose weight
Preserve muscle tone and strength
Good for you mental health
Reduce heart risk
Increase your metabolism
Increase bone strength
Give you a healthier outlook on life
Is a great warm up or cool down for your main workout

We often take the most simple things for granted.  In 2003 I suffered serious back pain to where I could barely walk. I had had a previous back surgery from other injuries and had re injured it after a dirt bike accident here on Maui.  That was it. I was down a hole and had to have friends come over and take turns helping me to the bathroom and then taking turns to shop and feed me.

Walking was my friend and it was all I could do to even try. When I could complete 1 mile I was over the moon happy. Then over time, slowly but steady I rebuilt my strength. Then a freak accident occurred in 2009 where I broke my legs and had to start over again after I lost all the muscles in my legs.  My back was fine, and I knew this time I would walk again, it would just be a longer road then the last. I’m very grateful for my health and strength.

To increase your walking exercise to a higher level, simply walk faster for a short distance and then slow down to a normal pace and repeat.   You can also find a hill or two to add to the intensity. Remember to keep good posture as you begin to climb or as the elevation changes and keep your breath steady.

You can also give yourself little goals.For example time yourself or have a set distance in your mind and gradually add to that.  You’ll be amazed how great you’ll feel.

Drop a line and let me know if you’re a walker too. I’d love to hear from you.

All in all it’s still a great workout and in my book of training it counts! So go!

Mahalo and in good health,

To see all of my videos click here: 

Suzie Cooney
Suzie Trains Maui

Suzie Cooney

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Hop Aboard The Indo Board Balance Trainer My Favorite Training Gear FREE SHIPPING


If you’ve not tried the Indo Board Balance Trainer’s full line of training gear, it is the most “functional” fun you’ll ever have. Whether it’s a gift for you or someone you know, no matter what level of fitness or goals in your training you may have, this gear will deliver!

I’ve written so many articles about the benefits training with the Indo Board Balance Training equipment on how anyone can build their total body strength, no matter what level of fitness. Here’s one on leg strength. My clients and pro athletes range in so many arenas and levels of performance to the person returning to fitness.  This is also excellent for cross training for any athlete or sport.

Your legs, hips, abs, and even your upper body will benefit from all of the exercise you can perform on this training gear. You advance or progress accordingly to your currently level of strength and it’s so fun and easy. You can perform endless exercises and make your training program totally efficient. When you order your Indo Board Balance Training gear, it also comes with a helpful DVD.

Pro SUP paddlers Kody Kerbox and Casper Steinfaith showing off their strong leg training

My background is working directly with orthopedic sports surgeons, the patients and then myself. I broke both legs several years ago and the Indo Board Balance Trainer Gigante Cushion coupled with the Kicktail board was my main source of rehab. Granted I check in with my doc, but wow I was back to surfing amazingly and SUP and windsurfing with new found strength.

You hear of the “core”. What is the true definition of the “core” ? It is everything in your body excluding your extremities.  It’s not just your abs as many mistakenly thing. Your butt muscles, or “glutes” need to fire in addition your brain needs to send signals to the deep pelvic floor muscles and then to the main joint to stabilize the appendage you may be stressing.  See this article on more on the core.  Here I am with Indo Board’s founder and amazing surfer, Hunter Joslin:

Hunter Joslin and Suzie Cooney

Now THIS is core training:

I’m a believer in what is called “brain training” and this also allows you to incorporate the neuromuscular uses of all the finite muscles around the major joints, such as the hips, knees and ankles, to fire in the necessary pattern to help develop one’s sense of reaction to a platform that is always moving. This is also referred to as reaction training; the ultimate level of training that recruits the muscles that tend to be under-active to join in on the challenge.

Here Suzie is on the IndoBoard Gigante Flo Cushion and the Kicktail board


Bottom line, it’s SO fun you don’t even know you’re training. The sports that really notice the immediate cross-over affect are surfing, windsurfing, kiting and stand up paddling;- all sports that have the common element of water that is changing underneath you.

However, you do not need to do any of these sports to enjoy the benefits.

Hop aboard and order yours today! If you need help deciding on what you may need for your health and training needs or for someone else on your list, please feel free to contact me through this website. I’m happy to help.

Suzie Cooney, CPT

Owner of Suzie Trains Maui, LLC


My Own Personal Fitness Challenge:100 Squats Everyday for October 2012

Suzie Cooney, CPT

UPDATE: Nov 2, 2012:   Thank you everyone for helping me reach my goal of 3100 squats with 20lbs. I am continuing on with new found strength and am wondering why I took so long to do this. See, even trainers need a little help now and than. My legs are super strong AND my butt and legs got more toned!

 I am writing this blog entry today, October 9th, 2012 with 900 squats completed in my own training log. Today was proof, with a high surf advisory here on the N. shore of Maui, my legs held me up and helped me stick 2 head high waves at Kanaha. It was closing out all the way across and at first, I simply could not get out, then finally a small lull.  I felt confident and strong. YES!

Why in the world you may ask am I challenging myself to perform 100 squats a day with 10lb (20 total) dumbbells? Did you know that this is my LEAST favorite exercise to do?  I absolutely with my heart and soul detest doing squats. You’d never bet that would you?

Well guess what, I need to be motivated and challenged too. As a trainer I tell my clients that if you make a commitment and goal to yourself, then tell someone publicly; your trainer, spouse, friend or whatever, you will more likely make that goal.  Write it down, post it, let the world know.  You don’t want to let them down do you?

Have you heard of the 21day rule? If you do something for 21 days in a row it becomes habit. I will admit I think things are not only taking shape but it’s shaping my thought and my brain.

So, the main reason for me sharing this on Facebook the month of October 2012, is that I need your help.  You see, after busting my legs in April of 2009 (Maui Weekly Story) that 3 month wheelchair stint did a number on me. I mean, my legs turned to mush in two weeks.  My lower half atrophied in ways I’ve never ever experienced and even with all the training they are not quite the same legs they used to be and yes, I do run like a girl!-

That freak accident changed my life in so many amazing ways and here I am professing and confessing to you my weakest link!  Three years later I’m still trying. My left ankle is bigger than the left but you won’t notice at first, my strength is ( to me ) about 75% and I really want to be extra strong for surfing, stand up paddling, and long distance crossings.

I still have to wear a compression stalking on the left leg once in a while and it still swells up once in a while.  It feels great and maybe I’ll start a new trend!

Now I am accountable to you. I don’t want to let you down and simply by posting this blog, I have assigned accountability.  That is one of the many reasons people hire me is to hold them accountable and help them reach their goals. I get it. But did you know that even trainers come to me to get motivated, get a jump start and ask me to hold them accountable?  It is true.

I know that some of you are doing it with me and I really appreciate that. It helps more than you can know.  I will occasionally jump in here or on FB to keep you updated and please feel free to do the same.

I want to thank straight away Tracy Lynn Penny and son from Sunset Beach,  Hawaii , sales person for freesurfmagazine. Way to go Tracy! Also to Jennifer Gladwin, Jacqueline Tan-Barclay, Amie Engerbreston, Jenny Ryan, Suzi Tucker, Joel Edwards, Brian Coppedge, John Smalley, Carlita T., Marty Melum, Salma Ansari,  Elder SUP, Brianna Castillo, Mary Lynn Hershey, Nick De Meyer, Kimberly Sutton, Casey Gotcher, Blen Hinton, Jeffrey Zerkle, and many more.

Precautions/Important Notes:

Continue reading My Own Personal Fitness Challenge:100 Squats Everyday for October 2012

Maui SUP Surf Maliko Downwinder with Suzie Cooney and Dual GoPro Cameras

MAUI, Hawaii: June 8, 2012 For those who’ve wondered what it’s like to paddle out of the Maliko Gulch to the Harbor, well here ya go! Be sure to watch whole thing to see “what happens…”

Turn up the volume, sit back get inspired and see the action from two GoPro Cameras mounted on the Naish 14ft Glide. Full throttle…


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Capture your action, get the GoPro Hero2:

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Mahalo to GoPro, Naish, IndoBoard, Kaenon and Jon Ham and Jeremy Riggs for inspiring me.

Aloha Suzie Cooney, CPT Owner of Suzie Trains Maui, LLC

Also, to join my confidential mailing list and receive lots of great tips and more, go here:

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A Simple Training Tip For SUP to Maximize Leg Strength and Endurance with the Indo Board Training Gear

A Simple Training Tip For SUP to Maximize Leg Strength and Endurance with the Indo Board Training Gear

By Suzie Cooney, CPT Owner of Suzie Trains Maui

More and more people are stand up paddling and I get flooded with emails on how to strengthen the legs to help reduce fatigue, increase performance for distance, wave paddling and simply cruising. There is not one answer but I have a tip that can help all the above at some level.

From beginners to professional paddlers, everyone can benefit to learn how to maximize your leg strength and endurance to you can enjoy paddling longer, possibly reduce injury or to push your limits and improve your performance.

I’ve been a Team Rider for Indo Board for years now and love how the sport and gear have evolved together to allow for smooth paddling and more water time. I’ve had numerous major injuries over the years, and seriously, my Indo Board gear has brought me back faster and stronger than ever.

When folks are making transitions from flat water to wave paddling, it’s all footwork and water reading. It’s pretty awesome when you can train your body to connect to your brain’s intention and have it all right there.  Connect your body to the waves, bump or trough if downwind paddling.

This simple tip I offer will wake up all the fine muscles around the feet, ankle, knees and hips independently of your other leg. I like this exercise ( see blow ) because although all the muscles of your body work together, by breaking it down and loading up each joint; we can then maximize each point to perform with it’s own strength and consistency, then ultimately allowing for every joint to excel in unison.

Additionally, the strength you gain will then allow for quicker reaction times to changing conditions, increase muscle endurance and hopefully minimize injury or overuse syndromes and other compensations. ( I am not a physician but have worked in sports orthopedics. Always consult with your personal specialist with regards to any injuries or if embarking on a new fitness routine.)

Gear: Indo Board Balance Board ( pictured here: Indo Board Kicktail ) and Indo Board IndoFLO Gigante Cushion   In addition, to add to challenge add a 10-20lb Kettle Bell or dumb bell. Any of the Indo Board models will work well.

Even though I’m a “regular” surfer and paddler surfer, funny thing is I skateboard and snowboard “goofy”.  So fortunately I will benefit from training with left foot and right foot forward. My point is, even though you may be one or the other, train both legs.

Inflate the Gigante Flo Cushion with less air for more difficulty or more air to slow it down. Place the Indo Board Rocker or Indo Board Kicktail on top with nubby side up for maximum traction of board to cushion.  I also suggest that you kick off your shoes because any rubber will act as a false barrier between you and the real thing.

  1. Step onto board slowly in a surfer’s stance with kettle bell or dumbbell in the hand of the opposite side of the foot your approach with.  So if goofy or right foot, step up and hold weight in left hand.
  2. To maximize results, hold weight “above” the joints we intend to stress, so up to shoulder. My joint targets: ankles, knees and hips.
  3. I suggest “time” your set. For example, beginner would hold for 5-10 seconds, and advance to 30-60 seconds in each direction or with each foot.
  4. Lower body into squat position, gaze forward, breathe and hold. Burn to fatigue. Shaking is okay and expected.

You will begin to feel your ankle, knee and hip burn and or shake! This is good! Hold on to this position as best you can and time yourself now. See how low you can go. Relax your feet and don’t look down.

Rise up slowly, step off the back of board onto ground rest then switch it up over to the opposite leg. Repeat.

If you have the opportunity to try both boards, the Ying and Yang ( links here ) and then the Kicktail, wow what a difference. The Kicktail, which is my favorite, is very challenging and offers a lot more ankle and foot action.  This requires the small, tiny stabilizers to fire and fatigue, which is the result you want.

Again, the point I’m also attempting to illustrate is that by holding a weight over and above the joint or muscle group that you’d like to strengthen and train, you will maximize the benefit and outcome.  The fact that we also get to add the variable of an unstable platform gives us the ultimate opportunity for your training. If the weight is below or at joint level it will produce a different result.

This kind of training is efficient and I promise you that you will definitely notice a difference the minute you get on the water. People who train with me are blown away of how much easier it is to literally step onto the wave, or last longer in channel crossing, or for any distance paddling.

This particular exercise can also transfer well to surfing, kiting and windsurfing.

I hope you enjoyed this tip. Here is a link to other articles I’ve written for SUP Fitness.

If ever on Maui, I’m available for private specialized training and can show you all my training tips to maximize your results and SUP water performance. I also offer private and semi-private professional SUP lessons.

Don’t forget to order your Indo Board Equipment here.  Here is a photo of my training quiver from Indo Board. Having good balance, strength and leg endurance is key for more time on the water. Other articles  you may enjoy allows you to learn more SUP training applications.

Indo Board Training Equipment for Stand Up Paddle Training For Every Condition and Every Season  and

More on the Core: Increasing your Padding Power

Photos for Indo Board by Tracy Kraft Leboe

Rip it up, blade forward, dig in and charge ahead!

Aloha and see you on the water.

Suzie Cooney, CPT  Owner of Suzie Trains Maui

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INDO Board Gear for All of My Client’s Training Needs

Left to right: Gigante Disc, Suzie, smaller 12" disc, 6.5 in roller, 8.5 in roller, INDO Board Pro, Ying & Yang Rocker Board, Kicktail

Aloha! Everyone knows that trains with me or reads my blogs and articles that I ‘m a huge fan of the INDO Board. It has brought all my clients to new levels in fitness and is always exciting and fun; meanwhile allowing me to cater to each individual and their unique needs. I’ve been a team rider and contributor for INDO Board for some time, and their product development, trainer curriculum and application continues to blow me away. My surfers, stand up paddlers, kiters, windsurfers and those also coming off of injuries have enjoyed building their strength on the different INDO Boards and platforms. Even those reentering fitness again or for those who want to freshen up their routine, love the challenge and discover new things about their abilities which allows me at any level, help them reach their personal fitness goals.

Functional training is the key focus of my practice and it’s how I’m sure that when I’m training a surfer or a new mom, all of their kinetic checkpoints are tracking properly before we embark on any new fitness program. The INDO Board training equipment offers me the expansive opportunity to test, observe and ask folks to perform on different, unstable platforms and is part of every assessment for each individual. It allows me to really measure one’s core strength, balance and reaction ability while I’m developing their unique program in my mind, all the while watching them discover new abilities they thought they never had. As a trainer, this is my biggest reward!

Suzie Cooney on Gigante Disc photo by Darrell Wong 2011 All Rights Reserved

The Gigante Disc, which has been a dream come true not only for training my SUP clients on land before we train on the water, but I’ve discovered so many other modalities and exercises that I’ve never before knew one could do. I often make up a lot of this stuff as I go based on the individual’s ability. You will see this piece of gear as one of my favorites and now on Naish’s website with my fitness articles. My mind is always thinking in that direction as I develop more and more exercises and also combine other tools and weights in conjunction with. It’s literally exponential on what you can do for your own training.

My second favorite new deck is the simple INDO Board Kicktail and the INDO Board Ying & Yang Rocker Board, which is very loose and wide, offering my more advanced clients a lot more freestyle action on a larger surface, but I’ve already implemented other uses! For example, today, setting up my hard core windsurfer, Tim Ellison loves it when I place the INDO Board Kicktail board on top of a semi-inflated Gigante disc in the surfers stance. This is his way of practicing his foot work for wave sailing. Then I fire at him an 8lb medicine ball in all planes of motion. He loves it! The INDO Board Kicktail is narrow and challenging, while the Gigante forces him to keep his knees bent and manage the force production and movement caused by the weighted ball. He’s be happy and completey satisfied if we did this the entire session!

The photo above shows me on my Naish 9’0″ Hokua. This is quite a sassy quad fin and with the INDO Board Gigante disc inflated almost to the max, I’m able to push my body to the max. ( beginners, remove your fins and I may suggest you place two Gigantes with less air at first, one in front and one in the back of board ). Aquiring upper body endurance with a medicine ball or weighted bar, while at the same time challenging all the finite muscles from from my feet, ankles, knees, hips to the core. This will get your heart rate up and burn your legs! AWESOME!

If you want to see a few other INDO Board equipment exercises I’ve referenced, you can also check out my SUP Fitness Tips for Naish. Also, you can check out a recent article on advanced core training featuring my client Jules on the INDO Pro Board.She’s got a rock’n body and loves the

Advanced INDO Board Core Training. Not just for surfers or paddlers! Everyone can benefit!

core challenge.

SUP paddlers, you can take your paddling to the next level with just a few pieces of key INDO Board equipment. This kind of training REALLY transfers to many different types of water conditions. Flat water, to big waves, to Maliko down wind coast runs, require all muscles to fire and this type of training also known as “propreocetion” work is key. You want your body to respond quickly and naturally. That’s why this gear makes that difference. Be sure you take your time and train your brain with the new reaction benefits that will challenge you. Safety is paramount and as you progress in your leg, core and even upper body strength, go back to the basics and start from the top.

Progressions should be safe, managable and always proper form. Progressions are as simple as two legs to one, less air in disc(s) or more air. Tempo, speed shift, holding weights below your knees or resting on your shoulder as you might perform squats on top of the Gigante disc while standing on the Rocker Board.

Hunter Joslin, Chip and Georgette at INDO Board, thank you for all that you do to help us trainers help more of our clients and water sport enthusiasts, and putting smiles on thousands of hard training folks, and for providing a most excellent quiver of fun under the sun or studio lights!

Mahalo and in good health,

Suzie Cooney, CPT of Suzie Trains Maui

While visiting Maui, Suzie is available for professional private training sessions. These may include on and off water sessions should you like. She will take you through all the progressions based on your current level of fitness and assist you safely to success. Call at 808-283-2121 or go to:

For more information on the cool folks and gear at INDO Board products:


Strong SUP Legs for Flat Water, Waves and Gliding Power Part II: Strength

Strong SUP Legs for Flat Water, Waves and Gliding Power Part II: Strength

Suzie Cooney for Naish

Strength Exercises for your Legs
by Suzie Cooney, CPT of Suzie Trains Maui and Naish Team SUP Rider.

Last week we focused on recruiting the finite muscles around your feet, ankles, knees, inner thighs and hips to promote quicker reaction times and improve your stability and balance. This week, I’ll be walking you through exercises to improve your leg strength, endurance and power.Remember when you were first learning to stand up paddle? You may have felt like your legs were like jello and your feet and arches may have burned a little too while you were death-gripping the deck and trying to put it all together. That too shall pass as you develop and strengthen the muscles of your legs and simply spend more time on the water! 

Training Note: It’s your choice if you wear shoes or not, or if you train on an unstable surface such as the beach (which is more challenging). I try to train barefoot so that I can mimic the feel of the board. If working with weights, be careful not to drop them on your feet! Everyone’s training needs and experience will vary, so the number of sets/reps you perform is up to you. Typically, if you are just starting out, try 1-3 sets with 10-12 reps each, making sure you are always in perfect form.

This Week: Strength Exercises

Your glutes (larger butt muscles) and quads (front thigh muscles) are the very large muscles of the legs and offer tremendous power as you shift your body and change position on your board. If you want to kick some butt on the water…do lunges! Lots!

Again, I like to challenge myself when I’m at the beach, so I go shoes off. If you do train at the beach and are used to wearing shoes, you will really notice all the muscles in your feet working hard to stabilize you as you enter the exercise and as you push off. You can do these lunges with the same leg or alternate legs.

Exercise: Simple Lunges
Equipment: weights (optional)
Progression Variables: Weights at side or on top of shoulders

   To see all the photos and exercises go to:

Also to follow Suzie on Face Book  http://www.//

UP Your SUP Permformance Suzie Cooney for Naish on Combining Upper Body Paddle Endurance with Balance and Core Training

UP your SUP Performance by Combining Upper Body Paddle Endurance with Balance and Core Training for Naish International

by Suzie Cooney, CPT of Suzie Trains Maui and Naish Team SUP Rider

You can click here and go directly to the full article:


Whether you’re new to the sport of stand up paddling or preparing for an exciting Maui Maliko downwinder, having upper body paddling endurance and excellent balance will get you through the deepest troughs, maybe help you pass a competitor or help you enter bigger waves and swells with extra confidence and success!I like to be as efficient as possible when training, so combining the two is perfect.The following exercise is just a sample of what you can do to get stronger, develop faster reflexes, increase the rapid firing of your finite muscles that stabilizes your larger muscles, improve your timed runs and possibly reduce fatigue and/or risk of overuse injuries.It’s well known that SUP requires the entire body to perform and respond in unison. You’re never isolating one muscle group at any given moment.As you paddle, your entire shoulder complex, upper/lower back, feet, ankles, knees, hips and core (everything excluding your extremities) are executing each short or long stroke in a smooth, connected motion. Conditions can and do change, so adding some balance work is also a huge plus. I totally can tell that when I balance train, my reactions are sharp and quick.Based on your current level of fitness, ease into some of these more advanced moves and change the variables accordingly. You can simply start with your own paddle or select one of the suggested weights. I usually start light and advance to heavy, to fatigue. 

The Exercise: Balance/Weighted Paddle Stroke Repeats:

Equipment: A weight: 4-10 lb medicine ball, 9-12 lb body bar or regular dumbbell
A balance platform: a small 12” inflatable disc or BOSU, INDO Board 24” Gigante inflatable disc, INDO Board or your own SUP
Caution: if using an SUP board on a Gigante, you may want to remove the fins.

 To read the rest of the article and to see all the exercise photos of Suzie and her training go to:

Every month Suzie will provide Naish and their readers more helpful training tips for beginner to advanced stand up paddlers.

For more information or to book Suzie for an event, host a SUP Fitness Clinic or for private training/instruction e: or got to:


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Power Conditioning for Surfing, SUP and the Effects of Gravity by Suzie Cooney, CPT

photo by Simone Reddingius

photo by Simone Reddingius

stm_logo_email_waveAre you ready to basically free fall with a piece of fiberglass pushing back to you as the force of gravity is sucking you down? Sure, you’ve been paddling; you’ve got good core strength, but what about the legs?  Will you still be standing, and do you have the power to recoil your body to pump for the speed you need into the next turn?

Gravity and surfing, water drag, board buoyancy and you, are all opposing forces that join you as you make your drop down the face of a small wave, or if you’re one of the few brave enough to step into the trough of JAWS. Being well- conditioned and strong, along with cat-like reactions can make you or break you. 

Without getting too technical on the values of centripetal force, board speed, or if you’d like to learn what “C = gT/2LL” means, go to Leslie Brooks site and read more: 

Getting Physical  The Physics Behind Surfing, and read up on: C = Wave Speed       g = Acceleration caused by gravity (9.8 Square meters per second)   T =Wave Period   L =Wave Length        Test on Monday, so study!

Back to the “physical” aspect of what I do and know, I wanted to ask an expert!  I had the pleasure of talking with Dave Kalama , big wave surfer here on Maui on the subject that fascinates me;  how the g –force effects of gravity as you drop down the face of a wave and how you need your body, especially your legs to hold your line as gravity is pulling you down. He helped described to me the importance of training for leg strength for exactly this.  

Dave Kalama    Copyright: ©D.Wong

Dave Kalama Copyright: ©D.Wong

He said, “When you’re surfing down the face of a wave all muscles need to be firing at once. The slow twitch and fast twitch muscles must both engage.”  As a trainer, I get this. An example of slow twitch muscles that tend to be smaller in size, slower to fatigue and if we get scientific, increases oxygen delivery, vs. fast twitch, larger muscles and quicker to fatigue and basically are considered the power house muscles of your body.

Slow twitch muscles also include stabilizing muscles. Think of endurance, running a marathon, swimming laps vs. a power lifter will have fast twitch muscles to utilize for big bouts of serious lifting. Here I’m talking about quick, explosive reps, but only lasting a few seconds. For this, think of glutes and quads.

He agreed that most people spend a great deal of time on core and upper body training; but reemphasized the need to spend even more time increasing your leg strength.

For example, Dave does a minimum of 200 leg lunges, max 400 to 500 consecutive. Then a few sets of leg dips and some quick paced step and jump lunges followed by jump squats. Plus running up the sand hill backwards really warms him up. He trains a great deal in soft sand and is a firm believer that your toes, feet and ankles play a key role for board and rail control.

Dave explained it like this, “One can have board and rail control, but then you need to call upon power to take advantage of the control. Then there is board speed.  To get speed, you need to take advantage of the control and power. You’ll need to have powerful legs to pump the board to increase your speed. It’s all connected.”

Dave says, “If I had to pick any part of the body I’d train for surfing, it’d be legs over upper body. If you have bird legs it won’t do you much good.”

This makes good sense to me. I’ve seen Dave do some serious training here on Maui and it’s very inspiring. He also added that cycling is key to add to your training routine to help increase your power on big days.

Adding leg work to your routine seems easy enough, but its how you make the exercises extra challenging that be the ticket. There are lots of variables or things you can do to get those legs pumped up to help increase board speed.

Traditional squats, leg press and extension machines are great, but also add some plyometrics to the mix. Plyometrics is a term to describe the type of training that is explosive for speed and power. For example, I think of dropping down a wave I think of “Drop Jumping”. This exercise requires you to drop to the ground from a box or raised platform then immediately jumping up. I’d recommend starting on a platform that is not too high at first. Start with a 2 foot (24 inch) sturdy box, or simply standing on the ground and doing what I call tuck jumps.  You can change the “variable” by changing the speed of the movement. Also, jumping over and object like a bench, cones or a log at the beach or park:

Here are some basic explosive 2 legged hops. Remember soft landings, not flat footed. Use your body to propel you up:

Plyometric training can be worked into circuit training or can be as simple as skipping,  hopping or bounding. Keep in mind this type of training is pretty intense and requires one to have a pretty decent base of leg strength, knee stabilization and hip stabilization, and no known orthopedic challenges.

I will line up 2 BOSUs in a row and have my clients use  their own body’s inertia to hop up with two legs together as high as they can, land on the BOSU and then on to the next BOSU.  To make it more interesting, I may fire an 8lb medicine ball at them to catch in mid air to test their reaction.

BOSU Jumps: Forwards and Laterals


A sample plyometric routine might look like this:

Drop Jumps:  5-10    medium intensity              Rest: 45-60 seconds

Single Leg Step up to Bench with Dumb Bells: 10 -12 each leg 

Single leg lunges with dumbbells. I’m using 20lb each.


2 legged hops from Standing Position over bench, cone or other object: 10-12

Lateral or Forward 2 legged hop up to BOSU or across   10-12  

Repeat 2-3 times.   To increase intensity, reduce rest period, add more weight, increase drop box/bench height.

Or, take one of these exercises and work it into your regular training routines.

Pre Conditioning: As mentioned earlier, this type of training, requires a solid base of strength training, supportive athletic shoes and should be performed on padded surfaces such as grass or the beach, or in a padded area to absorb some of the shock.

Proper active or dynamic stretching should also be performed before your routine and of course the proper cool down to follow. I’d allow 2-3 days for recovery in-between a plyometric session.

To recap, surfing is the ultimate sport that demands so much of the body and if you want to be good, go deep and drive into the next turn, you better have the legs to do it.  This type of training is also excellent for stand up paddling small and big waves!

Cycling, plyometrics, soft sand running, lots of lunges, weight training is a great way to be ready for the action. 

You can check out a few more of my “surf fit tips at:

Thanks again Dave for adding to the topic! I hope you found this helpful and informative. We’ve just touched upon the very simple aspects of leg training for surfing here. If you want more information or want to train with me personally, let’s do it!  

I encourage to you to share your experiences, tips and big wave adventures with us.  Also, to learn more about Dave Kalama go to:

Also stay tuned for my SUP/Fitness Adventure clinic in Costa Rica next year.

Aloha and see you on the water!  Suzie Cooney, CPT

Suzie Trains Maui


Suzie is wearing the Olukai Kia’i’ Trainer’i%20Trainer_20127-3049.aspx



All photos and jewelry by Simone Reddingius. Check out more of her work at:

Check out Athleta_LogoATHLETA’s sporty cap, “Morning Run”


                        To see Naish’s new line for 2011 go to:




Indo Board Names Suzie Cooney “Rider of the Month” September 2009 Cool!

As you can see from some of my posts, I think using the Indo Board in my training sessions with people is really fun, challenging and raises a person’s confidence on and off the water. You don’t have to surf to enjoy the benefits of this great training tool.  For years, I’ve put clients on the Indo Board post op bilateral hip and knee replacements, and those reentering fitness; to help improve their reaction skills and of course balance skills too. It’s also great for toning your legs.

It’s so fun to see their big smiles and looks of focus and determination. I often will time people to the point of fatigue or failure. Then we hop on again for more endurance drills.  Putting a couple of dumbbells in your hands or kettle bells definitely add to the burn and fatigue AND challenge. I’m using a 10lb kettle bell in these photos.

You can easily modify in many different ways, the ways in which you progress yourself to more advanced moves.  Always take caution as to the type of surface you perform on. For beginners, I’ll throw a yoga mat underneath the drum to slow it down a bit. Or, simply put the board on a disc for my more elderly clients, and then have them hold onto me or a very stable object. 

It really makes a difference when you carve and as you push the rails or even on a windsurfer, or stand up paddle board. I can notice a huge transfer of control in strong or light winds and strength when I jibe into a turn, and when stand up paddling while trying to catch waves. I love it!

For fun, here’s Indo Boards September 2009  Newsletter to read more.  Thanks Indo Board, that was fun! Suzie  

My custom bathing suit by, Julie Stone of Posh Pua    

Come train with me and let’s ride!Follow Suzie on Face Book:

Suzie Trains Maui
Call me to ride the Indo Board