There are a lot of reasons why this can happen ranging from arthritis and pain to limited agility, decreased core strength, or decreased motor control.
With that being said, I’ve found most of my clients who struggle with their pop up tend to have a hip mobility, low back, or core strength issue that contributes to their popping up difficulty.
Pulling from my background with Selective Functional Movement Analysis and introductory yoga, I wanted to come up with a few simple exercises you can do to help with your pop up. The first 2-3 exercises work on primary movement patterns, lumbar stability and motor control, while the latter 2 exercises are focused more on hip mobility, balance, and leg strength.
Exercise Philosophy: This exercise moves you from a more primitive pattern (moving from hands and knees/quadruped) to a symmetrical more complex pattern.
What Muscles: This exercise helps you to recruit and engage transverse abdominal muscles, gluteus maximus as your hips move from a flexed to extended pattern.
Why: This exercise is an effective way to work on the latter half of your hip mobility during your pop up, without having to move through full range of motion in the hip. It also promotes core control and stability, while reinforcing movement patterns and agility needed in your hips.
Exercise Philosophy: Using SFMA philosophy this exercise moves you from a primitive (almost crawling) pattern to an introductory asymmetrical movement pattern. This is a more challenging movement pattern than exercise #1 because of the split stance that you land in, requiring more motor control and balance than a symmetrical kneeling position.
What Muscles: This exercise helps you to recruit and engage transverse abdominal muscles, obliques, gluteus minimum and gluteus maximus as your hips move from a flexed position to a split posture pattern
Why: This exercise more closely mimics popping up, while keeping your center of gravity closer to the ground. As with the first exercise, this is an effective way to work on the latter half of your hip mobility during your pop up, without having to move through full range of motion in the hip. It also promotes core control and stability, rotational stability, while getting you comfortable with an asymmetrical standing pattern. For best results, practice this exercise so that your front foot in surfing is the front foot in your kneeling pattern.
*Variations: Try This exercise with a resistance band tied above knees for movement pattern assistance, take band off to make exercise more challenging.
Exercise Philosophy: practicing crescent lunge with a yoga strap helps you to improve rear leg flexibility while integrating balance, core, hip and leg strength. This pose will help you to also stretch your rear leg’s hip flexor and quadriceps, which is a critical pitfall found in most surfers click HERE to learn more.
What Muscles: This exercise helps you to stretch muscle groups such as latissimus dorsi, iliopsoas and quadriceps, while activating and strengthening transverse abdominal muscles, obliques, gluteus medius and maximus, aductor magnus as well as your rotator cuff muscles and biceps for overhead movement.
Why: This exercise is geared more towards mobility and flexibility of hip muscles while in an asymmetrical movement pattern.
Exercise Philosophy: Practicing Warrior 2 with use of the yoga strap allows you to sink deeper into self hip mobilization of your front leg.
What Muscles: This exercise helps you to self mobilize your front hip joint while stretching muscle groups in your rear leg as in exercise 3.
Why: If you have stiff hips, or difficulty getting your front leg forwards without making a pit stop on your knee, this could be a great exercise to practice. How do you know if you need more hip mobility? Check out this video for more information.
Exercise Philosophy: Similar to Exercise 4, however now we add a upper body postural strengthening component.
What Muscles: In addition to muscles mentioned in exercise 3 and 4, you are adding middle trap and rhomboid strengthening as well as pectoralis major and minor stretching.
Why: Adding upper body shoulder blade strength is a key in paddling and popping up. Without shoulder blade stability, your rotator cuff can end up over working, leading you with pain or impingement in your shoulders over the long haul.
Here's the shopping list for the yoga props featured in this blog post.
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