It’s no secret that wakeboarding is hard on the body. The average wakeboarder rides at 24 MPH. Factor in the speed of edging and throw in a back edge, and the water starts to feel a lot less like water and more like concrete. If you’re spending serious time on the water, you also might find yourself spending some time in a chiropractor’s office. Abby Delgoffe is not just the go-to doctor for all of Orlando’s wakeboarders, but she rips on a board too. Wakeboarding may seem like an unlikely sport for a chiropractor to pursue, but Abby is an expert at achieving balance in her life.
WW: How did you first get started in wakeboarding?
AD: I did gymnastics my whole life, so I’ve always been into sport. A few friends of mine in high-school took me out wakeboarding and got me hooked. I would get out and ride behind a Ski Ray outboard 75hp for fun. When I moved down to Florida for chiropractic school, I was introduced to a few people through WakeWorld that took me out riding. They got me to flip behind a boat with a big wake and I was like, “Cool, this seems like something I want to keep doing.”
WW: How did you get started in Chiropractic?
AD: Being a gymnast, I had quite a few back injuries growing up. I wanted to go to med school and I knew I wanted to be doctor. I just didn’t exactly know what field. I had a back injury in college and got introduced to this chiro that opened up a whole new world of physical medicine for me. They educated me on chiropractic and forever changed the course of my life. I looked into it and saw that there was sports related discipline and I switched my whole chiro career and ended up working at that particular office in between college and grad school.
WW: That’s awesome! What’s the most common wakeboard injury you see in your office?
AD: Lower back pain from compression is number one. I also see a lot of what could be considered whiplash from taking edges. A lot of rib pain, too. Everything really (laughs).
Check out this article on her blog for some
tips on strengthening the lower back.
WW: What measures can we take to prevent lower back pain?
AD: The most important is just listening to your body. Knowing that it’s okay to say I don’t want to do it if something doesn't feel right or you aren't having a great day. That will single handedly save you from injury. Secondly, undoing all the compression that accumulates from riding. That means yoga, stretching, foam rolling, and just strengthening in general. Doing exercise and things that are non-compressive really help take some of that stress off. Just generally being in shape and being strong helps a lot too. It is so important to cross-train so you are not prone to wake injuries.
WW: What’s the deal with stretching/foam rolling. How important is it really?
AD: Personally I am less focused on stretching and more on foam-rolling. Stretching temporarily lengthens your muscle. When you stretch immediately before an activity you actually decrease the ability to contract the muscle which therefore decreases the strength. However, when you foam roll you're achieving lengthened muscles through increased circulation and decreasing adhesion. The lengthening process will last longer and it won't decrease your strength.
I’m not telling anybody not to stretch. Being flexible is important, but dynamic stretching is more important. For example, swinging your legs would be more effective instead of just bending down and touching your toes. That would effectively loosen your hips more. I agree with yoga because its not just static holds. You’re holding, reaching, pulling, stretching and twisting instead of just holding.
WW: What’s good cross-training in the winter time?
AD: General plyometric and light weight training is ideal. Working through any previous injuries with corrective exercises and stabilization. Yoga, again.
WW: Going to the gym sucks. How do you stay motivated for the wake season to start again?
AD: I prefer group exercise, which may be meeting a friend or doing something like Crossfit, where you show up and are motivated by the group energy.
For me, I ride best when I feel the best in my body, so that’s how I keep my motivation through the off-season. It’s the best way to stay uninjured. The fitter you are off the water, the stronger you will feel on it.
WW: Let’s talk about Crossfit, a topic that brings much debate. As an avid crossfitter what is your take on it?
AD: I enjoy Crossfit, but you need to be a smart athlete to participate in it. You have to know when to say enough is enough and you have to be educated with your participation. Not all movements are for everybody. Knowing your limits and focusing on your form will achieve the best results.
I work with crossfitters daily. It is a very extreme workout, so it will magnify your old injuries. You need to stay body aware and if something starts bothering you you need to address it immediately.
Check out Abby’s blog at WakeDr.com for more advice on injury management and prevention. If you are
ever in Orlando, stop by her office at Orlando Sports Chiropractic and she will work wonders on your body.