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Dangers of waist rotation

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote racquetsforsale Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/22/2019 at 1:22pm
Originally posted by mickd mickd wrote:

Here's the video of my coach doing the feet thing.

He mentions at the very start there are 3 timings with the foot "leaning" towards the outside, in the middle then "leaning" towards the inside. Off memory earlier when he did it, he mentioned contacting the ball during the middle one.



It's likely he's over exaggerating it for demonstration purposes, but it's interesting because it's not just going for mostly flat foot to having the heel up with weight finishing on the front of the other foot.


As for the translation, I didn't mention anything that they didn't say. It definitely looks like hip rotation, but they didn't mention it specifically. They talked about rotating the body as if your body was a rod. So more like whole body rotation without leaning towards one side.

Interesting choice on your coach's part to demonstrate that. I've noticed players, both amateurs and pros roll on their back foot like that when hitting in place. I've seen clips of FZD doing that, but can't find that clip, but here's a very high level amateur doing it. He's got a monster FH by the way. Long video, so you have to seek to see the part with the side view of him hitting.


I just think these guys have very young and flexible ankle joints that can accommodate the slight rolling action. I've never thought the rolling actually contributes to the stroke quality. Therefore, it's important to know the context in which your coach shared this information or, if he indeed does, why he believes it's crucial to roll the foot like that at all. Other than warming up in place, more often than not, players don't nail and roll on their back foot like that.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote racquetsforsale Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/22/2019 at 1:47pm
I need to see back views of thoracic vs lumbar rotation side by side for comparison to confirm, but so far I've gathered that lumbar rotation involves the natural rotation of the lumber region relative to the pelvis, whereas isolated thoracic rotation involves contracting the core and immobilizing the lumber region/waist to minimize its rotation relative to the pelvis, and rotating the thoracic region only. Both involves rotation of the shoulders relative to the pelvis.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote FruitLoop Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/22/2019 at 2:42pm
Originally posted by blahness blahness wrote:

First try of thoracic rotation with waist bracing at the club. It was a bit unnatural at first, but I'm getting the hang of it. Played some matches and every single stroke had increased quality insanely. I was using the boxing technique of holding the breath in before the serve and maintaining it, exhaling sharply during strokes. Bracing the core just gave me so much control over my body that even my pushes were much spinnier than usual. When I did a FH using thoracic rotation, it was generally of a lot higher quality than my previous waist rotation technique, and the recovery was so easy. It was so fun to blast FHs with that! To be honest I still need to combine it with leg driven hip rotation properly (I was having so much fun with thoracic rotation that I forgot to rotate at the hips at times), and move better... 

But... most importantly my lower back felt so good bracing it all night (usually I will have a bit of lower back soreness, but tonight I just felt amazing there).

You should read about the valsalva maneuver, used extensively in weightlifting and powerlifting but really relevant to any sport where you need to stablisis the trunk.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote aerial Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/22/2019 at 4:17pm
after reading and watching the vids related to thoracic versus lumbar flexion, i think it's safe to say the former is better than the latter

also it got me thinking to the forehand loop videos of harimoto, ma long, fan zhendong, and zhang jike





from the looks of it, it looks like zjk is the only one that keeps his feet more pointed forwards, with little flaring to the side, whereas fzd flares a little bit, and ma long and harimoto pretty much make their right foot parallel with the table (right foot pointing right)

is it a coincidence that zjk is the one that is pretty much washed up due to injury of his lower back?

although, with ma long's recent knee injury... it seems like injuries are just a matter of time for all athletes 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/22/2019 at 4:58pm
Originally posted by FruitLoop FruitLoop wrote:

Originally posted by blahness blahness wrote:

First try of thoracic rotation with waist bracing at the club. It was a bit unnatural at first, but I'm getting the hang of it. Played some matches and every single stroke had increased quality insanely. I was using the boxing technique of holding the breath in before the serve and maintaining it, exhaling sharply during strokes. Bracing the core just gave me so much control over my body that even my pushes were much spinnier than usual. When I did a FH using thoracic rotation, it was generally of a lot higher quality than my previous waist rotation technique, and the recovery was so easy. It was so fun to blast FHs with that! To be honest I still need to combine it with leg driven hip rotation properly (I was having so much fun with thoracic rotation that I forgot to rotate at the hips at times), and move better... 

But... most importantly my lower back felt so good bracing it all night (usually I will have a bit of lower back soreness, but tonight I just felt amazing there).

You should read about the valsalva maneuver, used extensively in weightlifting and powerlifting but really relevant to any sport where you need to stablisis the trunk.

Yep the core bracing I used is pretty much the Valsalva maneuver I learnt in powerlifting, which is why I was talking about air management, you can't do a Valsalva without air in the diaphragm....

So I borrowed the boxing breathing techniques of breathing in deep before the point to perform the Valsalva, and then exhaling just a sharp burst of air with every exertion making sure to lose only a little air to maintain the Valsalva, and after about 5-6 exhalations when I'm left with about 50% air in the tank I breathed in deep again to strengthen the Valsalva again... This makes sure that my core is braced pretty much all the time and I'm able to get more than enough air.

Edit: I can see why Harimoto likes to shout lol...he's been trapping air inside his diaphragm for the entire point! It would feel good to let it all out in a shout hahaha....just joking of course


Edited by blahness - 03/22/2019 at 5:46pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/22/2019 at 5:26pm
Originally posted by aerial aerial wrote:

after reading and watching the vids related to thoracic versus lumbar flexion, i think it's safe to say the former is better than the latter

also it got me thinking to the forehand loop videos of harimoto, ma long, fan zhendong, and zhang jike

from the looks of it, it looks like zjk is the only one that keeps his feet more pointed forwards, with little flaring to the side, whereas fzd flares a little bit, and ma long and harimoto pretty much make their right foot parallel with the table (right foot pointing right)

is it a coincidence that zjk is the one that is pretty much washed up due to injury of his lower back?

although, with ma long's recent knee injury... it seems like injuries are just a matter of time for all athletes 

You can see ZJKs issue, he drops his right shoulder putting his trunk into flexion placing huge compessive forces on his right lumbar. It seems that Waldner, Timo and him do it a lot which explains why their lower backs have been damaged a lot more than other players. Fan Zhendong is mostly hip rotation with a bit of waist, Ma Long used to do waist rotation but he fixed it and now it's almost a pure hip rotation. Harimoto is the only one on the tour doing thoracic rotation, his waist is locked very tight if you look at the videos. Thoracic rotation has a signature, the shoulders will rotate about 45 degrees more than the hips (this is impossible with waist rotation) leaving the elbows very visible from the front view during the extreme end of the backswing,  also you can see a clear straight line through the waist and hips. I did mine in the mirror and it looks exactly like Harimoto...


Edited by blahness - 03/22/2019 at 5:28pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NextLevel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/22/2019 at 5:59pm
Originally posted by racquetsforsale racquetsforsale wrote:

Interesting choice on your coach's part to demonstrate that. I've noticed players, both amateurs and pros roll on their back foot like that when hitting in place. I've seen clips of FZD doing that, but can't find that clip, but here's a very high level amateur doing it. He's got a monster FH by the way. Long video, so you have to seek to see the part with the side view of him hitting.


I just think these guys have very young and flexible ankle joints that can accommodate the slight rolling action. I've never thought the rolling actually contributes to the stroke quality. Therefore, it's important to know the context in which your coach shared this information or, if he indeed does, why he believes it's crucial to roll the foot like that at all. Other than warming up in place, more often than not, players don't nail and roll on their back foot like that.

That guy looks a lot like a 2700+ player that was in the US for a while.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/22/2019 at 6:49pm
Originally posted by fatt fatt wrote:

are there items that help bracing the core for no lateral rotation of the torso? I have seen in gyms the core brace preventing a forward bending but lateral?

Hi fatt, the gym belts are way too heavy for TT, instead I tried an effective low tech solution last night. With your exercise shorts tighten the strings hard at the  waist so that it exerts a compressive force onto your waist, this helps in bracing the core and also you can feel it anytime you try to engage the waist.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote aerial Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/22/2019 at 7:12pm
this topic reminds me of the time i pulled my lower back on a loop off of a dead junk rubber floaty ball...

i definitely had a low backswing, dropping my shoulders and i didn't even make the shot and injured myself 

at this point that was like four to five years ago but the injury still haunts me

moral of the story is try to not have lower back flexion to prevent injury?

but then when looking at professional players looping against backspin, there is always going to be some level of dropped shoulder... but i guess the knees are bent low enough and the lower back is kept straight enough to not cause injury?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/22/2019 at 7:19pm
Originally posted by aerial aerial wrote:

this topic reminds me of the time i pulled my lower back on a loop off of a dead junk rubber floaty ball...

i definitely had a low backswing, dropping my shoulders and i didn't even make the shot and injured myself 

at this point that was like four to five years ago but the injury still haunts me

moral of the story is try to not have lower back flexion to prevent injury?

but then when looking at professional players looping against backspin, there is always going to be some level of dropped shoulder... but i guess the knees are bent low enough and the lower back is kept straight enough to not cause injury?

Thanks for the honesty in sharing your experience, as you can see players who dropped their shoulders often (Waldner, Timo Boll, Michael Maze, Zhang Jike) all eventually destroyed their lower backs. Professional and amateur players have been using the medically unsafe technique for decades. You can loop backspin without dropping your shoulders, by using the biggest muscles in your body ie your quads. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote FruitLoop Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/22/2019 at 9:10pm
Originally posted by blahness blahness wrote:

Originally posted by fatt fatt wrote:

are there items that help bracing the core for no lateral rotation of the torso? I have seen in gyms the core brace preventing a forward bending but lateral?

Hi fatt, the gym belts are way too heavy for TT, instead I tried an effective low tech solution last night. With your exercise shorts tighten the strings hard at the  waist so that it exerts a compressive force onto your waist, this helps in bracing the core and also you can feel it anytime you try to engage the waist.

Ideally youd almost want the opposite to this imo. Baggy waist that you have to brace into to stop your shorts falling down...lol. That's literally all weightlifting belts are for btw. Contrary to common belief they do no supporting of the lower back whatsoever themselves, it's the bracing of the abs against the belt that does the supporting.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/22/2019 at 9:34pm
Originally posted by FruitLoop FruitLoop wrote:

Originally posted by blahness blahness wrote:

Originally posted by fatt fatt wrote:

are there items that help bracing the core for no lateral rotation of the torso? I have seen in gyms the core brace preventing a forward bending but lateral?

Hi fatt, the gym belts are way too heavy for TT, instead I tried an effective low tech solution last night. With your exercise shorts tighten the strings hard at the  waist so that it exerts a compressive force onto your waist, this helps in bracing the core and also you can feel it anytime you try to engage the waist.

Ideally youd almost want the opposite to this imo. Baggy waist that you have to brace into to stop your shorts falling down...lol. That's literally all weightlifting belts are for btw. Contrary to common belief they do no supporting of the lower back whatsoever themselves, it's the bracing of the abs against the belt that does the supporting.

Wait what? That's mindblowing...so you're saying that actually it's my core that has been doing all the work and the tightened shorts didn't exactly help haha...it did serve a useful purpose though, having it tight makes it such that whenever I tried to rotate or bend my waist (bad habits die hard) I rub against the fabric which tells me I'm trying to do an illegal movement lol...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote racquetsforsale Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/22/2019 at 10:52pm
Originally posted by NextLevel NextLevel wrote:


That guy looks a lot like a 2700+ player that was in the US for a while.


I believe you're correct, judging by the pair of moles and his ears.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mickd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/23/2019 at 12:15pm
I was going to say... after seeing the video and his demonstration, that would have to be one of the best amateur players in the world lol. Makes sense he's 2700+.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote racquetsforsale Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/23/2019 at 2:25pm
Originally posted by mickd mickd wrote:

I was going to say... after seeing the video and his demonstration, that would have to be one of the best amateur players in the world lol. Makes sense he's 2700+.

Amateur in the sense that he doesn't play on the pro tour for a living. The amateur field in China is very deep indeed.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mykonos96 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/23/2019 at 5:22pm
Originally posted by racquetsforsale racquetsforsale wrote:

Originally posted by mickd mickd wrote:

I was going to say... after seeing the video and his demonstration, that would have to be one of the best amateur players in the world lol. Makes sense he's 2700+.

Amateur in the sense that he doesn't play on the pro tour for a living. The amateur field in China is very deep indeed.

How come he s amateur?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote maurice101 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/23/2019 at 7:43pm
What about wearing one of the neopreme elastic fabric belts designed for lower back issues? I got one and I am going to try it out. I think it will give me feedback when I do waist rotation that could be helpful.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/24/2019 at 5:08am
Originally posted by maurice101 maurice101 wrote:

What about wearing one of the neopreme elastic fabric belts designed for lower back issues? I got one and I am going to try it out. I think it will give me feedback when I do waist rotation that could be helpful.

Haha that's a bit extreme but I reckon it'll do the job of giving you useful signals!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote FruitLoop Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/24/2019 at 10:10am
Originally posted by maurice101 maurice101 wrote:

What about wearing one of the neopreme elastic fabric belts designed for lower back issues? I got one and I am going to try it out. I think it will give me feedback when I do waist rotation that could be helpful.

Quite a lot of veteran players use this type of thing.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/24/2019 at 5:30pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote le xex Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/24/2019 at 10:29pm
thanks for posting this topic... I have been having lower back issues lately as well so it has been good reading the replies. From my experience, backhand chop and forehand loop strokes have been the most problematic with lower back. I think I have to take a lot of time off and rethink my game and approach to table tennis. Especially as I am getting older and also not getting coaching from a regular basis to monitor my technique I notice a lot more body aches, mostly lower back and left knee and sometimes my right wrist. Perhaps it’s not worth playing this game given the potential consequences.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/24/2019 at 11:54pm
Originally posted by le xex le xex wrote:

thanks for posting this topic... I have been having lower back issues lately as well so it has been good reading the replies. From my experience, backhand chop and forehand loop strokes have been the most problematic with lower back. I think I have to take a lot of time off and rethink my game and approach to table tennis. Especially as I am getting older and also not getting coaching from a regular basis to monitor my technique I notice a lot more body aches, mostly lower back and left knee and sometimes my right wrist. Perhaps it’s not worth playing this game given the potential consequences.

That's sad to hear :( if you really love the game then retraining to adopt healthier techniques could be possible but will take some time. (That said it didn't take me that long to adopt thoracic rotation, just a week of shadow practice and one or two practice sessions)...

Knee issues could be due to inadequate rotation at the feet to support hip  rotation, like what many ppl said here...
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Originally posted by le xex le xex wrote:

thanks for posting this topic... I have been having lower back issues lately as well so it has been good reading the replies. From my experience, backhand chop and forehand loop strokes have been the most problematic with lower back. I think I have to take a lot of time off and rethink my game and approach to table tennis. Especially as I am getting older and also not getting coaching from a regular basis to monitor my technique I notice a lot more body aches, mostly lower back and left knee and sometimes my right wrist. Perhaps it’s not worth playing this game given the potential consequences.

I was having some issues with the backhand chop as well. What worked better for me was moving my feet first and actually going toward the ball, instead of staying planted and reaching out, twisting to contact the ball. That allows a more neutral spine on most of the shots and only on the very hard ones do I have to reach for. Doing so I changed the ratio though from twisting on most shots to maintaining a neutral spine on the majority 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/25/2019 at 5:32pm
Watched two videos recently on the hip rotation issue... I think he has a really good explanation (it's a Chinese video though)... The method of tying a long rod to the waist and the shoulders to illustrate the relative rotation is genius lol....

The only thing he's still recommending which is bad is dropping the right shoulder which is demonstrably unhealthy for the lower back...

He also demonstrates rolling the feet similar to mickd's video, and the way to push off the right foot, which is the same way that a basketball player pushes off the ground to make a slamdunk, and looks exactly like a kickboxer initiating a kick (hint it's not pushing off the heel!). Apparently he's saying that NBA players can produce a ton (1000kgf) of force just from that action aloneShocked

Edit: the best analogy of the push off i can think of is like going to a tiptoe position for your right foot. Checked a bit further and it's basically mobilizing your calves to help out. 

For the hip rotation, he says that many amateurs think of a more translation movement but aren't actually rotating, it's the rotation which is the most important and you can demonstrate it easily by tying a rod to the hips lol...

He also demonstrated an exercise for hip rotation using resistance bands which the CNT apparently are using, focusing on the hip rotation (you have to brace your core hard for this), the argument is that it's easy for us to do it wrong in table tennis because the ball is so light, once we increase the load it's more likely that the more inefficient methods will be eliminated)






Edited by blahness - 03/25/2019 at 9:06pm
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Some good stuff, alright! I've been using the thoracic rotation pretty much exclusively, with minimal hip involvement as I try to sort out the body mechanics. Anyway, have not had any issues with the low back anymore, whereas I normally would feel discomfort there and might even be hobbling around some after a lengthy playing session. Cancelling the lumbar rotation has really reduced, if not eliminated the back issues there.

Shot quality wise, I'm still tinkering to get my body working in unison (without overthinking and slowing down the movement...) but the loops and such are still quite powerful when needed. I don't feel any real loss of force when playing. The only short term problem I face now is the occasional brain lapse where I freeze before starting the stroke and wonder which part I'm supposed to be moving! Just try to remember, squeeze the gut and rotate the chest! 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/27/2019 at 3:30am
Originally posted by obesechopper obesechopper wrote:

Some good stuff, alright! I've been using the thoracic rotation pretty much exclusively, with minimal hip involvement as I try to sort out the body mechanics. Anyway, have not had any issues with the low back anymore, whereas I normally would feel discomfort there and might even be hobbling around some after a lengthy playing session. Cancelling the lumbar rotation has really reduced, if not eliminated the back issues there.

Shot quality wise, I'm still tinkering to get my body working in unison (without overthinking and slowing down the movement...) but the loops and such are still quite powerful when needed. I don't feel any real loss of force when playing. The only short term problem I face now is the occasional brain lapse where I freeze before starting the stroke and wonder which part I'm supposed to be moving! Just try to remember, squeeze the gut and rotate the chest! 

Glad I'm not the only one enjoying the benefits :) Same for me, I used to have some lower back soreness after playing, it just disappeared after I started to do thoracic rotation! Btw, this is a really fast switch of technique Clap Next on the list will be the hip rotation hahah....
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/27/2019 at 4:38pm
Originally posted by fatt fatt wrote:

So we have 3 axis: one going through the hips, one through the waist, one through the shoulders. The 2 lower ones ideally stay together and always point to the same direction. The top one may travel further than the 2 lower ones, either way.

Is that an acceptable simplification?

Hi fatt, yes this is indeed the case to ensure that we're not hurting our lower backs!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/27/2019 at 5:24pm
Originally posted by fatt fatt wrote:

Originally posted by blahness blahness wrote:

Originally posted by fatt fatt wrote:

So we have 3 axis: one going through the hips, one through the waist, one through the shoulders. The 2 lower ones ideally stay together and always point to the same direction. The top one may travel further than the 2 lower ones, either way.

Is that an acceptable simplification?

Hi fatt, yes this is indeed the case to ensure that we're not hurting our lower backs!
thanks a lot, I was off at some point, mixing the top 2 together. 
Adding the boxing analogy and the upper back safer rotation to explanations helped a lot to get the topic's big picture in simple words, again thank you for developing that topic, I feel like I understand the game better today and in a safer way.
For all the players we know they were injured because they are famous, how many are suffering anonymously because that danger was not acknowledged earlier? I will definitely introduce this when I coach people 1 on 1 at my place.

No worries fatt, i felt that it's definitely something important to acknowledge in the sport! Would definitely recommend making this thread a sticky to spread the knowledge more widely.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/27/2019 at 5:50pm
Originally posted by obesechopper obesechopper wrote:

Some good stuff, alright! I've been using the thoracic rotation pretty much exclusively, with minimal hip involvement as I try to sort out the body mechanics. Anyway, have not had any issues with the low back anymore, whereas I normally would feel discomfort there and might even be hobbling around some after a lengthy playing session. Cancelling the lumbar rotation has really reduced, if not eliminated the back issues there.

Shot quality wise, I'm still tinkering to get my body working in unison (without overthinking and slowing down the movement...) but the loops and such are still quite powerful when needed. I don't feel any real loss of force when playing. The only short term problem I face now is the occasional brain lapse where I freeze before starting the stroke and wonder which part I'm supposed to be moving! Just try to remember, squeeze the gut and rotate the chest! 

Btw am curious how are you bracing the core, I've been using the Valsalva maneuver which tbh maybe is too overkill and not the best way for TT (I had a blocked nose yesterday and didn't know how to breathe properly at all). Do you just contract your core  muscles without sucking in air?


Edited by blahness - 03/27/2019 at 6:18pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mickd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/27/2019 at 7:53pm
I feel like for most people, unless you're an aspiring junior or someone aiming for the top, the best would just be to rotate at the hips, keeping your waist and shoulders together.

During match play, you'll probably be out of position, so you'll end up rotating certain parts more or less depending on the incoming shot.

But during practice, keeping it all together seems like a safe compromise.

Also, maybe this is why I've heard Ishikawa Kasumi in the past say to tighten your core during shots.
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