So it’s 1:20 AM on 1 April and I’m WIDE-AWAKE. I managed to get my sleep all buggered up by going out until 4 am last night, which was fun, but I spent most of the day as a demotivated zombie. Sleep is ESSENTIAL – at least for me. So, in typical Mike-fashion, I had a 6 hour siesta! If that isn’t Spanish then what is!
I’m going to keep this post short and sweet. Here are my goals for EUROPE, 2018. The kiting goals are just general goals – I won’t be doing the megaloop board-off until next year, but I’m working on the foundation now. Got to start somewhere!
So after my siesta and a lekker meal with the guys, I did some guided yoga and started working on correcting my rounded shoulders.
Here are the 2 videos I watched:
I’m feeling much more motivated and alert now that I’ve had my rest and accomplished something with my day! Tomorrow I’m going to be throwing down my best megaloops at Balneario and if there is enough wind I’ll do a kiteloop late-backroll! I’m feeling ready and I’m excited.
Thanks for reading. Please give my Facebook page a like to follow my progress and my coaching.
The one thing all the top kitesurfers in the world have in common is a knee brace. Some kiters wear them to prevent injury, others wear them to prevent further injury. The purpose of this post is to give you my 2 cents on how to avoid knee injury.
“You aren’t a kitesurfer until you’ve busted your knees” – Morne Oosthuizen
Luckily I haven’t busted my knees yet – not for lack of crashing. I think I crash just as hard as the worst of them. But there are two things that have saved my knees so far 1) having strong legs and 2) knowing how to fall. If you look at my skinny legs you might question their strength- but size can be deceiving.
The reality of big air kiting is that if you fall hard enough or wrong enough, you’re likely to bust your knees. My friend and team-rider Daryn du Preez just hard a gnarly crash, coming down from a big megaloop late-backroll and had this to say, “I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. It’s the single most painful thing I’ve felt in my whole life. The pain didn’t stop. It’s not like when you hurt yourself and the pain goes away.”
So yesterday was not the best of days..Every kiteboarder has a kitemare and yesterday it was my turn….Busted my left knee pretty badly..No broken bones but had to have a cast put on due to the extent of muscle tear so will only know any further ligament damage in 2 weeks time..No sacrifice No victory🤙🚀. Huge thanks to the family I kite with for getting me out the water safely and getting me to the Doc.. Can’t wait to be back soon🔥🚀. Going harder and bigger than ever before. #Naish_Sa #Naishdash #Monarch #Mystic_Sa #Kitemare #Shitgoeswrong #Nopainnogain #Kiteboarding #Kitesurfing #Family #Boosting #Flyhigh.
Daryn is strong as an ox and I don’t think there’s any training he could have done to avoid the injury- if you fall hard enough, shit’s going to hit the fan. But, being as strong as he is, he’s likely facing significantly less damage than any other person would have experienced from the same crach.
To quote The Stretch Coach, “Strength training improves the strength of the muscles, tendons, and even the ligaments and bones. The stronger muscles and tendons help hold the body in proper alignment and protect the bones and joints when moving or under impact. The bones become stronger due to the overload placed on them during training and the ligaments become more flexible and better at absorbing the shock applied to them during dynamic movements.”
Without further ado, I’m going to tell you what I do to keep my legs strong and in one piece- for now. *Touches wood*
This is the king of calisthenics leg training. Don’t try it if your knee strength is questionable. Also, don’t do it with bad form. It can do more harm than good. But for those who are capable of doing hundreds of weightless squats and require more resistance, this is an easy way to find it. My current record is 8 on each leg. Here’s a video of 12, that I filmed just for this post:
I started training pistol squats mid-2017, when I was traveling and didn’t have easy access to a gym. At first, my legs took some strain and my knees were a touch too worked out, but I have faith in my body and sure enough, I got stronger- and my knees stopped feeling any significant strain after a week or so of training. Here is a clip filmed in Bali last year:
- Stabilizer muscles: Over and above instantly working your bigger leg muscles like normal squats do, they also train your stabilizer muscles in your knees and ankles. Having to alternate legs means that you can develop the muscles in both of your legs evenly, rather than naturally getting some assistance from your stronger leg – like we all do when we do normal squats. Your legs aren’t the only muscles getting a workout. Your abs and lower back are essential in the move too.
- Co-ordination: Get your body working in-sync with your mind and other senses. Feel the floor on your feet; see the horizon with your eyes; get in touch with your sense of balance. Even if you have the strength and flexibility required to perform the move, a lot of people will struggle with the balance.
- Do it anywhere! You don’t need a gym to train your legs.
- Time-saver: It doesn’t take many sets to tire yourself out and still get a hypertrophic effect similar to what you would get from 4 sets in a squat rack.
How you do it:
You do a one-legged squat, right to the ground, keeping your other leg high (possibly gripping your toes). Focus on one point on the ground so as to keep your balance.
When am I ready:
Firstly: You need strong legs and knees. You need to be confident in them!
Secondly: You ought to be able to squat your body weight (in my case, 70+ kg), with ass-to-floor squats for 10 reps, minimum.
If you aren’t ready for the pistol squat, you can work your way up to the pistol squat by doing:
Assisted pistol squats
Bench assisted pistol squats
Bulgarian split squats
In short, the recipe for staying injury free is still the same: stretch often and train just a few times a week!
I started going to Yoga classes, only once a week or so, 2 years ago. Initially, it didn’t grip me like it has other people. But over time it grew on me, as I started to see the benefits. I never enjoyed stretching and found the process a bit painful. It was nearly impossible to touch my toes, which is a terrible state for a surfer and kitesurfer to be in. However, I noticed after a few yoga sessions that I was able to do much more than just touch my toes. I was able to wrap my fingers around the balls of my feet and hold them there, in a relaxed, comfortable state! It was damn incredible. The best part was that I didn’t feel any pain at all throughout the yoga! I was unconsciously giving myself a thorough stretch! Since then, I’ve been amazed by what 15 minutes of yoga a week can do. Sure, I prefer to do more, but I can still maintain my flexibility and prevent injury with just 15 minutes of self-love – and it is so important! I’ll tell you why:
Big air kitesurfing places an immense amount of strain on your lumbar region (your harness pulls you from this region), knees and ankles (landings and crash landings). Over the years I’ve learnt that your body needs to be able to move fluidly and unencumbered through certain motions in order to prevent injury. In particular, you need to be comfortable and familiar with extension and flexion movements, shown in this image:
For example, when you’re coming down hard and fast and you’re going to crash, as can be the case with a loop gone wrong, a) your body needs to be able to enter extreme ranges of motion and b) your muscles need to be strong enough to keep your body in one piece, preventing dislocation.
I practice some basic yoga that I’ve picked up over the years to loosen up my hamstrings and lower back – those regions are the focus, but as you can see, I also stretch my shoulders, neck, ankles etc.
It’s especially important to have stretched your hamstrings before a session, as these muscles link up with your lower back, and are an extremely common source of tension all along your body, in the modern man – considering how often most of us sit.
As for the strength part, I practice calisthenics and bouldering (technical rock climbing, at low heights, with pads underneath you to break your fall), but more on that in my next post!