What’s the best way to optimize overall fitness for surfing?
It’s a question I’ve been pondering since I took a crash course in human athletic performance at San Francisco CrossFit back in 2013. In about 17 collective months of surfing since–from being obliterated in Hawaii to washing up on various reefs as far away as Chile and Indonesia–I’ve had a lot more time to test the ideas. And more recently, last winter I spent 3 months surfing in the Canary Islands while trying to balance normal life and a somewhat demanding (if amateur) participation in the CrossFit Open.
If you read How I Broke my Body and Fixed it you know I’m a big fan of do-it-yourself physical therapy, but I’ve found very little information specific to surfing. Here are some tips on staying healthy during periods of intense activity in the water, something I originally wrote a few years ago during a month-long stay in the Mentawais Islands.
Feel free to skip directly to the breakdown.
If you’ve somehow missed the trend, here’s some background:
Human performance guru Kelly Starrett has gone so far as to write a book on the topic. He’s mentioned the single biggest thing we could do for public health is to eliminate sitting from schools by replacing school desks with stand-up tables.
And even during the short conversation we had in January at San Francisco CrossFit he threw in the suggestion: “dude, you have to stop sitting.” (more: How I broke my body and then fixed it.)Continue reading >>
While making time for it doesn’t always happen, I know that I’m only limited by the information in front of me.
As I’ve heard human performance expert Kelly Starrett quip (paraphrased): ‘In the past we didn’t know. Now we know: the best way to eat, the best way to train–all the information is available. If you’re not awesome now, it’s your own damn fault.’
So inhaling large amounts of information and integrating it always has to be part of the schedule. The only problem is that with limited time we have to make sure we’re focusing on the right information. That’s why I rely so heavily on recommendations, and why I thought this list might be useful.
A caveat: “best” is totally subjective and ignores the importance of timing and experience. The right message at the right time can change your life, and while most of the “best” books are important just for getting the same message in a slightly different way, they won’t blow the doors off your imagination if it isn’t new stuff.
That being said, here are the books that made a big impression on me last year (I’ve also included a few favorites from 2013 at the bottom.)Continue reading >>
My concentration broke long enough to see Kelly Starrett, owner of San Francisco CrossFit, grinning at me from across the room. He seemed pleased.
I was crouched in a deep squat, arms locked out, precariously balancing a weighted barbell overhead—not the best position to lose focus. I tried not to laugh, ground my feet into the ground, and stood up.
Upon arrival two days earlier I couldn’t perform a single air squat without hurting my right knee. I thought explosive movements like the ground-to-overhead Olympic lift I’d just performed would blow my joints apart.
Suddenly it seemed easy.
Three weeks later I would squat 205 lbs. like it was my job. Six weeks later I would press most of my bodyweight overhead and suddenly gain the ability to do free-standing handstand pushups—something I’d never done in my life, nagging shoulder injuries be damned.
After years spent as a broken mess I’d finally figured out why my body was broken and how to fix it. I also learned how to regain and exploit every last ounce of athletic potential I still have in the tank.
It turns out the answers had been right in front of me all along.Continue reading >>