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!