“There was a loud snap and then hellish pain. My surfing career was basically over in 2004,” says Mick Fanning. The 33-year-old Australian was surfing in Indonesia when he tore his left hamstring right away from the bone. “I couldn’t even sit down for the first five to six weeks after the operation. But the rehab, which lasted for almost six months, was, in hindsight, vital to my career.
In that time I learnt a great deal about my body, including which muscles to work on and how in order to improve my performance as a surfer. Ever since, I’ve ensured that I have core muscle strength and that my legs have enough strength, flexibility and stamina. I have to have a flexible workout plan because it depends on the quality of the waves. There’s no better workout than surfing. If the waves are too small, I keep fit by going to the gym three or four times a week.”
Fanning swears by yoga and proper breathing technique. “Stretching and yoga are part of my daily workout. Yoga classics, such as the tree and the boat, are good exercises for improving your balance. Breathing technique exercises have helped me with my surfing enormously. If you breathe correctly while training or competing, it can have an enormously positive impact on how you control your body and mind.”
The Wood Chop
Ideal for all surfers: a dynamic exercise that simulates intense turns and strengthens your torso and legs. Ideally do three sets of 25 repetitions.