20-minute workout: surf training

This workout from Don Straub will help you gain strength and stability for better sessions.

While you can carve a tantalizingly toned body in less than a half hour, we’re here to tell you what you already know: To reap the rewards—increased calorie burn, strength, power, blissful endorphin high—truncated workouts must be insanely intense. So we asked a team of Equinox trainers and group fitness instructors what they would do if they were given just 20 minutes to have at it. Here is the latest in the series.

The Pro: Don Straub, a Tier 3+ trainer and surfer

The Club: La Costa in San Diego, California

The Workout:Anyone who has ever tried surfing knows that core stability is an essential part of making it happen. But it’s not the only prerequisite to successfully paddling out and crushing some waves. “This particular workout focuses on strengthening your lats and core, while also improving your balance, stability and mobility—all of which you’ll need on the water,” says Straub. Before you begin, jump on a rowing machine for 5 to 10 minutes, and then warm up* with a short mobility/flexibility session. The workout itself should be performed as a circuit, moving quickly from one exercise to the next. Repeat the circuit up to three times.

(*You could also complete this as a cool-down.)


Lats and Triceps Roll-Out:Grab a foam roller and lie on your right side. Place roller horizontally under right armpit. Starting at your lat, roll down a few inches, then back up. Continue for 1 minute. Then move on to your tricep: Lie facedown with arms extended overhead and the foam roller placed under right arm, just above your armpit. Press down on your right arm with left hand, then roll down slowly to elbow and back up. Continue for 1 minute. Switch arms and repeat.

Asia Squat:Stand with feet hip-width apart and squat, lowering butt as close to ground as possible, while keeping torso upright and toes pointed forward. Press elbows against knees and gently rotate hips from left to right. Return to start and repeat, but this time with feet shoulder-width apart. Then again, with feet more than shoulder-width apart.

Prone Shoulder Rotation:Lie facedown on floor, holding a taut resistance band overhead with a wide grip. Slowly lift arms and move band in arcing motion toward butt. Reverse motion back to start. Repeat a few times, trying to narrow your grip slightly with each rep.

Wall Angel:Stand with back flush against a wall, feet hip-width apart, and bend knees 90 degrees so you’re in a sitting position. Lift arms overhead and bend elbows to shoulder level, forming a goalpost with arms, fingers pointed toward ceiling. Press backs of arms and hands against the wall. Slowly slide elbows down toward waist, then lift arms overhead, all while maintaining connection with wall, keeping back flat and abs engaged. Repeat.


Push-up to Lunge/Overhead Reach:Lie facedown with elbows bent by sides, hands under shoulders, palms flat on floor. Push yourself up into plank, then step right leg forward, placing foot in between hands. Keeping lower body still, lift torso as you reach arms toward ceiling. Reverse motion back to start and repeat on left side. Continue alternating sides for 20 reps total.

Dead Bug Unilateral Cable Pull:Lower the handle on an adjustable cable machine until it’s about 1 foot off floor. Lie down about a foot in front of machine with legs extended in opposite direction. Lift knees over hips (dead bug position), keeping back flat against floor, reach right arm overhead and grab handle. While maintaining dead bug position, pull handle down toward your waist; return to start and repeat. Do 15 reps; switch sides and repeat.

ViPR Pistol Squat:Stand in front of a bench, holding a ViPR by the middle handles in front of you. Bend elbows by sides, bringing ViPR to just above your chest. Extend right leg in front of you, and then slowly squat down, bending left knee, until your butt taps the bench; stand back up and repeat. Do 8 reps; switch legs and repeat.

Lunge to Upward VIPR Chop:Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a ViPR by the middle handles in front of you, elbows bent by sides. Lunge right leg forward as you swing/chop ViPR diagonally up and over to right, above right shoulder. Reverse motion back to start and repeat on left side. Continue alternating sides for 20 reps total. Then repeat entire sequence, but this time swing/chop ViPR over opposite leg (ie, to left when lunging right; right when lunging left).

Inchworm:Stand with feet together, arms by sides. Reach down and place hands on floor in front of you, then slowly walk hands forward, keeping legs straight, until you are in plank position. Slowly walk feet forward to meet hands, keeping legs straight. Return to standing and repeat. Do 10 reps.

Lateral Slide:Stand on a wood or other slick floor with feet shoulder-width apart, a towel under your right foot, elbows bent by sides. Slowly slide right leg out to side, bending right knee, keeping left leg straight, until you’re in a full side lunge position. Slowly slide foot back in to start; repeat. Do 12 reps, switch sides and repeat.

Straight Arm Lat Pushdown:Connect a bar to the top of a pulldown machine. Stand in front of machine, grip bar with both hands at shoulder-width apart, then step back a couple of feet. Hinge forward slightly from waist, arms extended in front of you. Engage abs and exhale as you push bar down until hands are by sides of thighs, keeping back flat. Slowly return to start; repeat. Do 15 reps.