How I seriously improved my lower back by Wakeboarding Legend Darin Shapiro

darin shapiro

Darin Shapiro
Mexican Jeep tow-in

Wakeboarding is an impact sport and I have earned my badges in the world of hard landings. Jumping off of things and landing on hard surfaces means compression for your body and especially, your lower back. I have caused quite a bit of compression in my lower lumbar, namely, L5 and S1. I was nearly convinced that I would just have deal with a messed up lower back forever until Kai Fusser introduced me to “pelvic tilt.” Pelvic tilt has changed my life as far as feeling physically capable and being void of stiffness and pain.

Here is what I have learned…

Injury prevention starts with good movement control. And that starts with the pelvic tilt.

What is pelvic tilt?

The pelvic tilt is broken down into front and rear tilting. Although the movement is quite simple, it can get confusing because of how the pelvis sits, crossing from front to rear of the body. Anterior (front) tilt refers to the front of the pelvis moving down, and the back of the pelvis moving up. In posterior (back) tilt, the opposite occurs: the back of the pelvis moves down and the front moves up.

Kai Fusser explains, “the pelvic tilt achieved through the engaging of the abs will also result in the engaging of the gluteus. This way the gluteus can take the brunt of the forces off of the back. The pelvic tilt also helps to align the vertebras to be parallel to each other which will reduce peak pressure on the discs.”

When I am doing many of my exercises I use pelvic tilt to support my lower back. For example, if I am doing push ups I am keeping my pelvic tilted by pushing my lower back towards the ceiling and pulling my pubic bone towards my chin.

Practice while you stand side-on to a mirror, making sure you can clearly see your lower back, bum and pelvis. The easiest way to explain this is that you are rotating your pubic bone up and pushing your tailbone down throughout the movement.

I began to notice as I continued to use my core as the basis of every movement, my lower back felt better and better. So many of my standing movements begin with first doing a pelvic tilt and then beginning the exercise. I even begin stretching with a pelvic tilt. I have learned that so many of our daily routines can be achieved through better movement which helps us feel better and avoid injury.

Incorporating the use of a foam roller to roll out my legs and back has made a huge difference as well. Be sure to hit your inner legs to access your adductors as well as your outer legs to pound on your iliotibial bands as these areas can hold a lot of tension in your hips and lower back. Everything is connected.

It took a couple of months for me to really dial this into every part of my activities but, it has been totally worth it!

Thank you Kai Fusser for teaching me about better movement, it’s made all the difference!

5 tips on eating like an athlete by Wakeboarding Legend Darin Shapiro

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Darin Shapiro Tree House Ramp pic:Lipscomb

Here some tips on eating like an athlete by World Wakeboarding Champion Darin Shapiro. We eat primarily vegetarian in our home but do occasionally eat animal products.

1.  Carbohydrates. If your doing intense workouts for more than 90 minutes load up on carbohydrates. Carbs are an athletes main fuel.When you exercise, your body changes glycogen into energy. If you exercise for under 90 minutes, you have enough glycogen in your muscles, even for high-intensity activities. This philosophy is primarily for endurance athletes.

Replenish carbs, minerals, and water during long exercise sessions. Eat a snack and drink fluid every 15 to 20 minutes. Refined carbohydrates (with sugar or flour) pass quickly into the bloodstream, where they fuel working muscles. Many athletes prefer sports bars, sports drinks, or gels, since they’re so convenient. But fruit and fruit juice are also excellent choices.

2. Protein. Getting too much protein can put a strain on your kidneys Instead of protein supplements, eat high-quality protein, such as lean meats, fish, poultry, nuts, beans, eggs, or milk. In our house we heavily favor nuts, fish and eggs.

What do you need? The average person needs 1.2 to 1.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. That’s about 88 grams of protein for a 150-pound person. A strength athlete may need up to 1.7 grams per kilogram of body weight. That’s about 150 grams of protein for a 200-pound athlete for men.

3. Healthy fats.

Most athletes get all the fat they need eating mostly unsaturated fat from foods such as nuts, avocados, olives, vegetable oils, and fatty fish like salmon and tuna. When it comes to these healthy fats, these foods are the best way to go.

4. Replace Lost Electrolytes

Sweating removes both fluids and electrolytes. Electrolytes help transmit nerve signals in your body. To replenish them, reach for sports drinks. If you’re also losing a lot of fluid as you sweat, dilute sports drinks with equal amounts of water to get the best balance of fluid and electrolytes.

5. Nutritional supplements. Athletic supplements do have a role. They “supplement” our hopefully already healthy eating regimen.  People should primarily be focused on good fundamentals, like eating a healthy diet and getting enough rest. They’re going to do a lot more for your athletic performance than a supplement but, supplements help us complete the full spectrum of increased nutritional requirements which athletes need for healing and recovery.


Wakeboarding Legend Darin Shapiro on H.I.T. training and Fitness

Darin Shapiro wakeboarding

World Champion Wakeboarder Darin Shapiro  “Afterburner” Pic: Tanya Pavlis

H.I.T. (high intensity training) Training is one of the newer training techniques happening right now. I particularly like this type of training because it only takes 4 minutes to get your cardio session finished! I know this sounds crazy but this is what the new science is telling us.

HIT consists of short, intense bursts of exercise with either active recovery (less intense in between) or complete rest in between. Cardio and strength routines both qualify -they can both get your heart pumping and get your metabolism fired up which leads to a solid afterburn. This is because it increases the amount of time your body takes to recover AFTER you have finished your exercise session. For maximum results you must go for maximum effort on the high intensity intervals, not simply a higher heart rate. HIT causes metabolic changes that enable you to use more fat as fuel. This will improve your athletic endurance as well as fat burning potential.

Here is what I do for my HIT training thanks to my training time with personal trainer Kai Fusser. I NEVER do any more than 4 minutes of cardio in the gym. Training more than 4 minutes of cardio raises cortisol levels and puts the body into survival mode which slows down your calorie burn and reduces maximum results.

1. Get on a treadmill. Leave it off! Use your phone as a stop watch in a visible place.

2. Push the treadmill at a medium walking pace for 30 seconds.

3. When you reach 30 seconds run at maximum intensity for 10 seconds.

4. Repeat walking at a medium pace pushing the treadmill steadily for 30 seconds.

5. Repeat running at maximum intensity for 10 seconds.

Continue this 30 second low intensity 10 second high intensity interval until you reach 4 minutes. Your Done! This workout can be done twice per week, if you can handle it three times per week is even better but more than that isn’t necessarily recommended.

This is not as easy as it sounds! Make sure your body is warmed up first, I do this at the end of my workout. If done correctly, you don’t need to do another lick of cardio at all! Make sure your shoes are laced tight!

I urge anyone interested in this type of workout to do their own research and learn about this method of training!

Go Get it!



RESURGENCE with Darin Shapiro, by Sidewayz Films

It has been 8 years since Ronn Seidenglanz made a wakeboarding film. Darin Shapiro’s Resurgence to wakeboarding is also his resurgence to wakeboarding.
“It’s been fun going back to my roots and working with an old friend.”

100% of the money donated to the vimeo “tip jar” will be divided equally between Matt Manzari and Brad Smeele to help with expenses during their recoveries.

Produced by Sidewayz Films
Photos from Tanya Pavlis

Darin Shapiro

Matt Manzari

Brad Smeele

“Life is about the journey” by Wakeboard World Champion Darin Shapiro


darin shapiro

Darin Shapiro 48 degrees
Pic: Tanya Pavlis

Never ever give up. To be is to do. You need a team to reach your peak, surround yourself with the best there is in everything. Life is about the journey not the destination. How much life is there left? Lets face it, we are all on a one way street. What are we going to do so as we go forward to have no regrets looking back? Let people sit back in their comfortable chairs and be the critic, the observer, while the brave one gets in the ring and engages, and gets bloody and dirty and fails over and over and isn’t timid and lives life in a bold way. The journey itself is worthwhile taking. Find a way. Make a spark, let it become your flame. If you have a dream then you will have obstacles in front of you as we all do. None of us gets through this life without heartache, pain and turmoil. If you believe and have faith and can get knocked down and get up again and believe in perseverance then you can find a way. How? Why? Does your pride ask if you can do it? What a tremendous foundation you can lay down and character that can be built by reaching for the horizon. Every epic journey can fulfill your life once you undertake it and once you’ve committed to it. Every day of our lives is epic. Have action behind your words. Chase your dream whatever your age. Your labor and sweat will allow you to see what you couldn’t have seen from another perspective. That is what wake boarding has given me, that perspective. When you achieve your dreams its not what you’ve accomplished so much as it is what you have become along the way. I walk around tall as I have become a bold, fearless person and that is what I’ll be everyday until my days are done.