‘I’m an Olympic Surfer, and I Swear by These Moves to Stretch and Strengthen My Tight Hips’

Photo: Caroline Marks | Graphic: W+G Creative
Yes, the Summer Olympics are happening, y'all, which means all the sports lovers (and those who only pay attention to sports every four years) can rejoice. Although the general public doesn't know too much about the logistics of the Tokyo 2021 Games, we're excited to watch the world's best athletes compete this summer. And pandemic aside, this year's Olympics will be different for a variety of reasons: For starters, no foreign fans areallowed to spectate, but also because new sports, including surfing will make their debut.

One athlete we have our eyes on is Caroline Marks, who qualified for Team U.S.A. as part of its surfing contingent. You could say, this is a moment she's been training for her entire life.  "Growing up, I wanted to impress my brothers and have them think I was cool, so that's why I got into surfing," says Marks. She finds the sport therapeutic—something she's come to appreciate even more over the past year. And despite the delay, she's feeling good about the Games. "The postponement allowed me to get stronger and more ready, and also led me to reflect on my life and how many cool places surfing has led me to," she says.

Right now, Marks' pre-Olympics training schedule typically includes four hours of surfing and a hour of strength training every day. Unsurprisingly, given how intense her fitness routine is, recovery is a non-negotiable for her. "As a surfer, opening up your hips is very important since they get tight from sitting on the board and using a lot of your lower body," she explains. To relieve hip tightness, Marks incorporates exercises that also double as hip-opening stretches (think: Romanian lunges on a bench with dumbbells and Bulgarian split squats) into her strength routine.

After you've tried Caroline Marks' strength exercises, give your hips some extra love with this 24-minute hip-opening yoga flow:

Another area of her body Marks always makes sure is in tip-top shape? Her eyes. It's hard to catch waves without them, you see. And since eye health is so important to her, it makes sense that she's a partner of the American Optometric Association. To make sure her peepers are up to par and as healthy as can be, Marks practices the 20-20-20 rule: For every 20 minutes you spend looking at a screen, you should look 20 feet away from where you're at for 20 seconds. She also makes sure to wear blue light glasses in addition to staying up to date with her annual eye exams.

Can't wait to watch her in action this summer.

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