Legendary Surfer Laird Hamilton’s Workout Routine

August 6, 2007

Laird Hamilton quite possibly has the perfect physique…and is truly an amazing role model when it comes to fitness. He is in better shape than just about anyone on the planet and he gets there largely by leaving the gym and cross-training.

I have emphasized in my post, Athletes Have More Attractive Bodies Than Gym Rats, that you can’t get in peak condition just by working out in a gym…Laird is a living example of this. Laird also trains with weights, but his low body fat percentage comes largely because of how active he is outside of the gym. I saw a clip where he ran down the beach with a rope tied around his waist and a log tied to the other…the guy was dragging a 50 pound log down the beach!

Laird is probably the greatest surfer that has ever lived, but he refuses to compete in surfing contests. Hamilton was the guy who back in 1993, pioneered a new way of surfing…getting towed into the wave by a Jet Ski. You see…when a wave reaches 30-40+ feet, it moves too fast to catch by paddling!

Here is a video of Laird catching 40-50+ foot waves…totally insane!

So What Does Laird’s Typical Workout Week Look Like?

Monday: Circuit training with weights. He works the entire body in about 1.5 to 2 hours. He chooses 20 different exercises and does enough sets per exercise to get 105 reps (this is a rough workout, by the way).

Tuesday: Rides a mountain bike for 2 hours, followed by “sand training” (lunges, push-ups, log pull, sand dune sprints), and ends with “water activity” (surfing, wind surfing, kite surfing, etc.)

Wednesday: Circuit training…followed by a “short” bike ride of 1.5 hours.

Thursday: Bike (mountain or road for 2.5 hours), sand training(lunges, push-ups, log pull, sand dune sprints), and water activity (surfing, wind surfing, kite surfing, etc.)

Friday: Circuit training…followed by a “short” bike ride of 1.5 hours.

Saturday:Rest (surf if the waves are breaking nicely)

Sunday: Bike (mountain or road for 2.5 hours), sand training(lunges, push-ups, log pull, sand dune sprints), and water activity (surfing, wind surfing, kite surfing, etc.)

One More Amazing Video…Laird Pretty Much Catches a Tsunami Here! (turn up your speakers…this video will give you chills)

Wow…this guy is seriously active…and 10 times more studly than any bulky bodybuilder! Laird shows that in order to get in peak condition, you have to work the body in a number of different ways. I’m inspired to “think outside of the box” and change up my routine a bit. The main thing I’ve learned by looking at Laird’s workout routine, is to incorporate doing activities you enjoy into your workout(mountain biking, surfing, running on the beach, etc.)

If Laird Hamilton’s workout routine doesn’t motivate you, I don’t know what will!

Now go outside and burn some calories!

Laird Hamilton Workout

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{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

David August 8, 2007 at 7:01 pm

That’s not Laird in the second video. Its Mike Bradshaw from the Billabong Odyssey movie.

admin August 8, 2007 at 8:21 pm


My bad! They had is listed under Laird Hamilton on Youtube. I still have to keep it up there…that is the coolest video footage of a massive wave that I have ever seen!


Peter Crump August 11, 2007 at 9:34 pm

That’s unbelievable, you wouldn’t get me out there for all the money in the world.

admin August 13, 2007 at 3:03 am

Yeah…this one just makes me nervous when I watch the video. I agree with you!


David August 17, 2007 at 11:55 am

Yeah, definitely a good video. Its the Cortez Banks about 100 miles west of San Diego, which is an underwater mountain range. Supposedly, in perfect conditions, it can support a 1000 foot wave. That one is about 70 feet.

admin August 17, 2007 at 12:53 pm

WOW! It sounds like Cortez Banks could have the largest waves in the world. These guys are nuts, but I love watching thins stuff. I wonder what the world record for the largest wave ever surfed would be…100+ feet? I’m off to Google!

Jon September 13, 2007 at 4:17 am

I think that is Laird in the Second Video. If you watch All aboard the crazy train he talks/shows about a wipe out that looks like that. He is covered in white wash then spit out and consumed again. Check out the movie it’s great!

nelly November 10, 2007 at 10:13 pm

When you say Laird does 20 different exercises when he cross trains with weights does that mean he performs 1 set for each part per cycle or several sets for each part per cycle..e.g. 1 set of flat bench per cycle or 3 sets of flat bench per cycle than 3 sets of declines etc. Also, when he cross trains on wed and fri does he use weights or just smith machine. Thanks for your help my man!!!!

Brad February 7, 2008 at 11:56 am

Hey guys, this guy is crazy. His workout routine is amazing. I also have read several times that Laird eats 3 healthy meals per day. Just one more reason to switch over to 3 meals rather then 6!

mitch March 2, 2008 at 3:34 pm

all you can say is amazing really

chuck June 2, 2008 at 5:53 pm

Hey everyone, the second video is big wave surfer Mike Parsons
surfing a 66 ft wave at the cortes banks. (not MIke Bradshaw)
However, there is a Ken Bradshaw who has claimed to have ridden the biggest wave(85ft wave on jan 28th,1998 Outside Log Cabins) an outer reef north shore hawaii

admin June 2, 2008 at 11:47 pm


That second video is probably one of the coolest videos on Youtube. It gives me chills every time! Amazing stuff…these guys are brave!


scott February 19, 2009 at 8:27 pm

Just FYI: It’s actually not Laird or “Mike Bradshaw” (no such surfer). It is actually Mike Parsons surfing at JAWS off Maui. Being towed in by Brad Gerlach.

But thanks for posting Laird’s workout routine. Also if you like Laird, check out the article on Laird’s trainer, 75 year old Don Wildman in Esquire Magazine.

scott February 19, 2009 at 8:29 pm

… or maybe it’s Cortez Bank. Can’t remember…

Matt April 17, 2009 at 12:04 am

That wave is definately not jaws. Doesn’t look anything like Peahi

steve davis surf shots April 19, 2009 at 3:42 pm

opening footage ”billabong odessey”, cortez bank, mike parsons towed in by brad gerlach

martin May 16, 2009 at 1:19 pm

the wave definately is jaws-its mike parsons in world tow surf championship at jaws-there is now way anyone would ride cortes bank in boardies-the water is 10 degrees! mike parsons briefly held the record for biggest wave ever surfed on a 66 footer at cortes bank-but this clip is not that wave

Jon Ham June 29, 2009 at 8:53 am

Laird also does stand up paddle surfing nearly every day before he lifts or rides bikes. I’ve seen him out in Malibu and he truly is larger than life.

ben August 24, 2009 at 1:11 am

i wouldnt say laird hamilton is the greatest surfer to ever live. that title is yet to be decided between kelly slater, andy irons and the wct boys. laird is probably the greatest big wave surfer in the world.

JD September 4, 2009 at 1:46 pm

Umm whens the last time you saw someone ride cortes banks without a wetsuit? Its JAWS!!! Maui rules and so does Laird cause while all else are hanging on for dear life he is ripping

david October 26, 2009 at 7:21 pm

It’s actually Mike Parsons surfing a 66′ wave at the Cortes Bank in 2001, but he topped that in 2008 by surfing a 70 footer, again at the Cortes Bank. He claims in an interview, which you can see on youtube, that others caught 70’+ waves the same day in 2001, but they weren’t documented on film like his was.

bob February 19, 2010 at 12:04 pm

I’d like see Laird do some wakeboarding behind a boat. He’d probably be good at it and be fun to see him crash.

james nunamacher March 1, 2010 at 10:31 am

that is not Bradshaw niether, it is Mike Parson and the tow in which he scored a 10 on right after being smashed on his prior run….either way it is a sick vid, A sick Wave, and a sick ride!!!! Cheers

james nunamacher March 1, 2010 at 10:32 am

oh right on Dave, A 70 footer? Thats insane I couldnt even imagine!!!

james nunamacher March 1, 2010 at 10:33 am

it is Jaws!!!! Cortes Bank would be way too cold to be in w/o a wetsuit.

Rich October 24, 2010 at 9:57 pm

Jaws, Maui brah. Thats the opener from the Billabong Odyssey video.

Tanya - Rochester Exercise Equipment November 4, 2010 at 4:39 pm

Awesome videos! Wow, this guy certainly is in good shape – that workout regimen is insane!!

Hemmingway sizzler binge January 8, 2011 at 1:11 am

I thought this video was shot at jaws

Trent April 4, 2011 at 6:49 pm

The surfer in the second video is Mike Parsons (yes, that’s the wave from Billabong Odyssey) wave at Jaws on Maui. Ken Bradshaw caught a different, yet equally massive (just not as thick) wave at outer Log Cabins on the North Shore.

Trent April 4, 2011 at 6:51 pm

Sorry guys, didn’t see all the comments before I submitted mine. You guys already clarified everything. Cheers!

Hayden Rhodes July 31, 2011 at 7:25 am

Laird and Mike Parsons are both true water man legends and these videos show that. Lairds training for these situations seems pretty intense and long in duration for the average surfer or Pro Tour surfer, however for what he does and who he is – it obviously serves him well.

Aaron August 3, 2011 at 6:19 pm

Sorry, but this isn’t a practical solution to normal people with jobs.

Simon Wheeler August 22, 2011 at 11:19 pm

When you live near a surf beach, you can relate to what it means to see 40-50 foot waves. I agree this is insane!

Bill Davidson September 6, 2011 at 2:43 pm

i love laird, he is an incredible waterman. but Kelly Slater is the greatest surfer of all time!!!!

Tom April 10, 2012 at 12:13 pm

Laird shows you how much conditioning is required to perform at his level. I respect Laird a lot and I think he would really enjoy the new fitness board by Holoholo Board Sports . It is a great way to prep for surfing or to just stay in shape. There is alot more potential for the fitness users.
Below is a press release with more info on this board.
Tom Sullivan


New Indoor Fitness Board Creates Exciting Workouts For All Ages
El Dorado Hills, CA

Holoholo Board Sports, Inc. brings the excitement of surfing and snowboarding to the fitness world with a unique product that is fun and multifunctional to meet the needs of young and old.
The new patent pending design features allows the Holoholo Fitness Board to be ridden with or without a roller and the adjustable pipe roller allows for rider to secure and control the range of motion of the roller.

The Holoholo Fitness Board is unmatched in its ability to simulate many surfing and snowboarding board skill requirements so it is popular with action sports athletes and coaches but it is designed to open up board riding and balance skill training to a wider audience. The Holoholo Fitness board can also be integrated into yoga and body weight training workouts and it is just fun to play on.

The Holoholo Fitness Board is a fun way to work out and prepare for board sports indoors and although it is easy to learn, it is adjustable to challenge even the best athletes.

stefanos October 2, 2012 at 11:07 am

rider on the second video: rush randle

zzdoc October 25, 2012 at 12:10 pm

This is not fitness training for general health and well-being. This part and parcel of his occupation…what he requires to be prepared to do his job and do it well. What might be gleaned and applied to a more limited fitness program is certainly of value, but in the day to day workaday world of the private citizen involved in other pursuits, who has that kind of time?

Saltybrudda March 2, 2013 at 8:46 am

This may not be for you AAron, or ZZdoc, mainly because its a rad lifestyle more than it is a workout plan. Laird loves the ocean and centers his training around what he loves. WAlter Payton used to run the levee’s as a kid to become a great running back. Trail running, pulling an old tire around a feild or just find other creative ways to get outside and enjoy life. Laird is an awesome dude. I would like to see how he pulls the log, does anyone have a picture or link to check out?

Mike June 23, 2013 at 11:29 pm

This is Mike Parsons on the wave NOT Laird

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