The move I love to hate: Surfer Paige Alms' ball toss, on a ball
Big-wave surfer Paige Alms is at the peak of her fitness. Born in Canada, she now calls Maui home -- and she just won her second consecutive title at the Pe'ahi Challenge in Hawaii.
The big wave event was held at the surf spot known as Jaws (yes, after the shark) because of the unpredictability of the waves, which can exceed 60 feet in the winter months. This year's conditions were a test of both Alms' skill and strength -- a strength she's building up during her annual six-week training camp. She shared one of the moves she swears by during her gym sessions:
The move: I guess you could call this a lot of things, but basically it is standing on a stability ball and doing a ball toss. To me, it's one of my favorite stabilization exercises.
How to do it: When you are learning to stand on a stability ball, it is really good to have someone help you up or stand behind you in case you fall. Using something above you like monkey bars also helps. It takes a little practice getting used to just standing there and having all of your little muscles firing to keep you stable. It is good to progress from standing, to squats and twists, then to the ball toss.
You can start by using light balls and having your partner throw them slowly, then progress to faster and thrown in different directions. Here we are using slightly weighted balls and you can see that Nik starts off by throwing them rather predictably, but then progresses into unpredictable throws.
When I do it: It really depends. We do a lot of stability ball work while training. Right now I am on week 4 of a winter prep training block with Deep2Peak Performance Training Center and probably do two days out of six that involve actual ball work.
That being said, we do stability training a lot, it is something very important especially when surfing in big waves. This specific exercise I get to do whenever I have someone willing to throw the balls for me!
Why I do it: I find it to be one of my favorite yet most challenging exercises. Besides being a hard stability workout, it utilizes quick decision making while being on an unstable surface, ultimately simulating what it is like to be on a wave. Standing on a ball that is constantly moving then having things thrown at you and you have to react quickly -- that is basically what it is like going down a big wave and hitting a chop or seeing you need to adjust your line. It is great brain food. The more training you can do on land -- pushing yourself to your limits, making yourself feel extremely uncomfortable -- the better you will feel in the water when s--- hits the fan. I like to know I have done everything possible to be prepared physically and mentally.
Why it's so killer: As a professional surfer, we do a lot of stability work in the gym. This is one of the most challenging exercises, yet specific to what we have to do on a wave. Split second decision-making while constantly moving. It's a great leg workout that really gets everything firing!