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Is tennis, beachvolleyball, snowboarding and surfing back for your back? Should you have an anteverted pelvis in these sports?

Bjornv's picture
Last seen:
7 months 3 weeks ago
09/07/2020 - 12:33am
Is tennis, beachvolleyball, snowboarding and surfing back for your back? Should you have an anteverted pelvis in these sports?

Hello Teachers,

I have a few questions but they don't all belong in this group. My most important question is: Do you think tennis, beachvolleyball and snowboarding are bad for your back? In my case, are they going to make my disc problems worse if I practice them 1 or 2 times per week? 

I am 31 years old and I used to do a lot of sports: football, tennis, beachvolleyball, snowboarding, surfing, ... When I was 28 my back pain got worse and in about 3 months I quit all of these sports. I didn't get a lot of pain while doing them, but I got a lot of pain in the next days with a peak on the 3rd day. The pain never subsided completely and it took me a while to discover what was causing my problems: SI joint, hips, gluteus, piriformis, discs, ... ? It took me 1,5 years to find some techniques that relieved my pain a lot. Now that I know how to relief my pain, thanks to for example McKenzie, Egoscue and especially the Gokhale method. 

Now that I have less pain and I feel fitter, I am wondering if I could start all of these sports again. I would try to build it up gradually, like do 2 sports per week, and after a few months then try to do 2 or 3 per week. The only thing that keeps me in doubt is whether these are healthy for a person with back pain? It's not like swimming, cycling, ... It's bending and twisting: Tennis serve, snowboard stance is always a bit rotated, surfing trains your back muscles but might shorten them because you are in that (over)extended position when paddling on your board, smashing in beachvolleyball, ...

I asked my PT and he told me to listen to my body, an answer I could expect off course. I would just like to know whether I would make my disc problems much worse by, for example, practicing 1 of these sports twice a week.


Another question I have is this one: Should you use the Gokhale principles also when practicing sports? Like the anteverted pelvis in snowboarding, is that always possible ? I uploaded some pictures to know if you think this is possible? Can you always snowboard with a straight back? And can you play beachvolleyball using the Gokhale method? Any advice or tips about this?

Other things I am very curious about is which pillow most teachers use for sleeping, especially side sleeping. And maybe what foods you try to eat a lot to get/protect a healthy spine. 

Thank you in advance and have a great day!



Last seen:
1 day 8 hours ago
11/12/2018 - 2:54pm

The short answer, yes with the Gokhale filter on you can ease back in to the sports you enjoy so long as pain is not the result. If those photos are you, it looks to me like your pelvis is retroverted or tucked and with impact over and over whether through any sport, you're back will get whacked and you'll pay for it later.

With lots of practice with the Gokhale Method you can learn to reshape and maneuver in more skillful ways and you will actually be stronger in your body because of it. It has helped me with generally all my activities due to more flexibility and better body structure. 

The stronger your inner coset is, the more flexible your spine can be, within reason, and your neck would be included in that as well. looks like it needs to come back a bit and lengthening / strengthening the spine can be done within many sports and in a straight fashion. 

Nutrient dense diet is always recommended for a strong body inside and out!

Kathleen King

Last seen:
23 hours 51 min ago
08/26/2018 - 4:08am

Hi Bjornv,

To add to Kathleen's answer, yes you absolutely can snowboard, play beach volleyball and play tennis with a j-spine. Yes, it is possible to always have an anteverted pelvis while snowboarding. Hiphinging is what enables you to keep your anteverted pelvis and j-spine while doing all these sports. And as Kathleen mentioned, using your inner corset muscles to elongate your spine is the most important way of protecting your discs before doing any rotational movements. I haven't done any surfing so I am trying to imagine paddling on a board, and I think using the rib anchor could help you with keeping your lower back lengthened in this activity.

I highly recommend you take a Gokhale Method Foundations Course, if you haven't already. If there are no teachers in your area the Elements Course is the online version of this. Practicing all these things with the help of a teacher, and getting feedback on what you are doing and making changes to improve this will all help to answer your questions and give you confidence in knowing how to look after your body while doing the activities you want to do.

Rachel Margaret

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