Developing reactive stability and kinetic chain strength is important for athletes looking to perform their best. The Surge offers a great challenge to the human body through the use of water resistance. The free flowing water insidethe Surge provides a unique stimulus with several applications for sport and training..
    Begin in an isometric split squat position holding
    the Surge against the chest with a neutral grip. Be sure the trunk is upright and the front foot is facing forward. Once the trunk is stable, slowly extend the elbows pushing the Surge away front the chest. Pause at full extension and then return to the start position. Focus on keeping the Surge parallel to the floor and resisting the natural tipping motion that ensues as the water moves back and forth.

    Repeat this sequence for 5-10 repetitions. Vary the cadence according to fatigue and ability to adequately control the movement. Rest 30-60 seconds, and then repeat with the other leg forward. As fatigue sets in and form starts to falter, consider reducing the pressing range of motion to maintain proper alignment or simply stopping if compensatory patterns emerge.

    1. Traditional split squat with horizontal press - begin in an upright position and perform the press on the descent.
    2. Ipsilateral reverse lunge with horizontal press - begin with feet together and step back with one leg while pressing during the descent. Repeat 5-10 times with the same leg.
    3. Alternate leg reverse lunge with horizontal press - same as above only alternating the leg stepping back.
    4. Single leg squat with horizontal press - squat and press as the unsupported leg trails behind and provides a counterbalance to the Surge

    1. Isometric split squat with limited pressing range of motion.
    2. Isometric split squat with small oscillating horizontal presses (only a few inches from the chest)
    3. Isometric split squat with isometric press and hold a few inches away from the chest
    4. Isometric split squat with isometric hold against the chest (neutral grip)
    5. Isometric split squat with isometric hold and arms beneath the Surge (palms up and supported by the forearms)


    The Surge challenges coordination, stability and kinetic chain strength/awareness as the water is moving continuously inside the apparatus. It allows for a progressive challenge via different designated fill lines (15 to 30#) and offers a multitude of options for training reactive stability, body control and multi-planar strength. This particular exercise series is an effective way to train trunk/hip/knee/ankle stability along with improving upper body, torso and lower body strength.

    Initially, I suggest starting with less water and a limited range of motion in order to maximize form and safety. In addition to the physical demand, performing this exercise requires consistent mental focus to be successful. The Surge also provides immediate tactile feedback to grade your performance and promote motor learning. Using a full length mirror will also be helpful in assessing movement quality.

    This exercise is ideal for athletes encountering physical contact (lineman, wrestlers, hockey players, boxers, etc), gymnasts, clients involved in hand-to-hand combat, or anyone seeking a fun, unique way to train the whole body with an unstable apparatus. The water is always moving, and it offers varying degrees of difficulty for users with a broad spectrum of physical ability and capacity.

    Brian Schiff, PT, OCS, CSCS, is a licensed physical therapist, respected author and fitness professional. Currently, he serves as the supervisor for EXOS API at Raleigh Orthopaedic. Brian conducts live continuing education webinars and presents nationally at professional conferences and seminars on injury prevention, rehab and sport-specific training. For more information on his products and services, visit