We all want to perform better when we surf, from the groms starting out to the pros right at the top of their game. Think about the amount of times you’ve wanted to hack the top off a wave, pull a floater on that closeout section or just simply ride a wave into shore without wiping out. We all have goals we want to achieve, but the chances are that too many of us simply don’t realize that it could be our own body that’s holding us back.
Listening to Cris Mills will make you think about just how much you could, even should, be doing to keep surf fit. Cris veered off his career path in law to follow his passion for a holistic approach to surf fitness, learning everything he could about the human body in the process. “As soon as you start working with the body it is cavernous, you need such a vast array of knowledge to really work with people as a whole,” explains Cris.
Growing up in Florida, surfing Cocoa Beach and hitting the road for surf trips across Central America, Cris started out by getting his basic personal trainer certification and things just snowballed from there. If he didn’t know something he had to find out more about it, and with so much interconnectivity within the human body he had his work cut out for him. At this stage he just wanted to know for himself, so he could keep his own body in good shape, but as his knowledge and qualifications grew alongside his passion for surfing he saw a way he could combine the two.
“I realized I was able to relate my professionalism towards this incredible hobby I have, and share it with others. Now I’ve applied my full background of training, rehab, soft tissue treatment, and nutritional coaching into working with surfers,” reveals Cris.
He’s created his own surf training programs, written a whole bunch of books and offers one-on-one coaching for surfers. He wants to make his approach to surf fitness and training as accessible as possible, explaining, “I take the realm of fitness, health, training and rehab, and try to make it digestible for the average person, to explain what they can do to help their body for surfing.”
Cris also creates his own videos, and we asked him to send us a few that could make a positive change for a surfer who wants to try some exercises that could improve their surfing. So if you don’t have any fitness regime to keep yourself surf fit then get started with these pointers.
First up is some warm up stretches, because even if you look like a kook while doing these on the beach you’re guaranteed to surf better after giving your body a good stretch! Read more about dynamic surfer stretches here.
We all know just how much shoulders can ache after a long surf, so here are some awesome tips for easing tight muscles and keeping your upper body in check.
To finish off here’s a great demonstration video on how to squat correctly, and a good squat can make a huge difference to your surfing. If you’re surfing right you’ll spend most of your time somewhere between a half squat and quarter position, so it’s good to get used to it on land.
To find out more about Cris and his training programs head over to his website, surfstrengthcoach.com, and check out his blog for his latest surf fitness tips. If all this has got you thinking and you need some recommended reading, head straight over to Better Surfing – Develop a Movement Practice.
Featured image: Cris Mills @surfstrengthcoach via Instagram