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!

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!