Taking a Lesson in Functional Movement from Shakira

Could Taking A Lesson From Shakira Help You Surf Better?

In 2005 I worked as a surf instructor for beginner surfers in Nosara, Costa Rica. Almost every morning as we'd gather at the Casa Tucan, without fail, a music video from Shakira would pop up on the MTV screen. It always baffled me how one simple video of 'Hips Don't Lie" could completely stop 4-5 gung-ho novice surfers in their tracks, who just seconds before had been amped up to get out in the water.

I used to think I knew why this happened.

I, maybe, even used to get annoyed by the sheer gaping/drooling that occurred. But after several years as a physical therapist, I have convinced myself that despite her other captivating qualities, Shakira could have taught part of my surf class by demonstrating lower body and upper body dissociation.

Believe it or not, understanding how you could be more like Shakira, could actually help your backhand cutback top turn re-entry off the lip, and, quite possibly, even your low back pain.

How you say? Why yes.. Let me explain.

Shakira has this uncanny ability to do one thing with her hips, while her upper body and torso are doing something totally different.

Lets use the above picture as our example. We can see that this goofy footed surfer is looking and leading with his front hand down the wave. We can also see that his body is rotated relatively to the right compared to his rear leg. His rear leg is fixed, driving weight into the tail of his board, giving him stability to allow for rotation of his upper torso. 

Now lets imagine this surfer didn't have the ability to dissociate his upper and lower body. Let's pretend his rear leg/rear hip rotation was limited, and as a result, as he tried to rotate through his upper body to bottom turn, his rear leg came with him instead of acting as a base of support.

What would happen?

Chances are, he would probably have a resultant turn that looked more like a carving turn than a sharp or hacking turn, and, if he didn't, his body would find ways to compensate.

Generally, if the hips are limited in their mobility, and/or motor control and function, I find compensation patterns in the lumbar or thoracic spine. However, in many cases, hip mobility isn't the issue, it's simply the motor program that tells your hips and spine how to operate independently or dissociate that is the problem.

How can you figure out what issue you may be facing?

Well, you may want to start with a simple movement screen. You can check out Surf Body Connection's lower body movement screen simply by clicking HERE

If you are looking for solutions to stiff/tight hips before or after surfing, might I suggest checking out our 6-week interactive group coaching course, Back-to-SurfYou can also check out my Popping-Up course where we work to improve hip mobility. Or, grab the Whole Enchilada and receive access to this course and two more of my courses PLUS a 20 minute strategy call with me.

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