Can Elle Woods's 'Bend and Snap' Move Literally Bend and Snap Your Back?
In honor of the 15th anniversary of "Legally Blonde," we called licensed chiropractors to find out.
Screengrab via YouTube
Today marks the 15th anniversary of the comedy classic Legally Blonde. Since its release in 2001, the beloved movie has grossed nearly $150 million, spawned a Broadway musical, and been hailed as the ultimate "feminist romance between a woman and her own best self."
After being unceremoniously dumped by a Patrick Bateman look-a-like, Elle Woods, played by a pink-clad Reese Witherspoon, follows her ex-boyfriend to Harvard Law School with the intention of getting him back. But she soon realizes that law rules and boys drool, and proves that an esoteric knowledge of fashion and haircare can pay off in the courtroom, despite what they think.
Read more: Shonda Rimes on the Making of 'Crossroads'
Woods dazzles with pithy one-liners as she navigates the elite world of Ivy League postgraduate education, chihuahua in hand. But the movie's defining moment is a not a line, but a movement. When Elle teaches a pining Paulette (Jennifer Coolidge), her friend and manicurist, how to win over the love of her life by slowly dipping her body down and whipping it upright, the iconic bend and snap is born. "Just bend and—snap!" Elle explains.
After all these years, the gesture is still a cure-all for being single and alone. But is it good for our physical, as well as romantic, health?
"First, I assume you're bending from the waist because you want to stick your butt out?" asked Dr. Sara Blonsky, a practitioner at the Oasis Chiropractic and Wellness Center in New York City. (She admitted it had "been awhile" since she'd seen the movie when we called.) "That would not be good for you."
Unfortunately, the move's primary function—to showcase one's lithe and agile physique, and buttocks—is not great for your body, licensed chiropractors say. "You always want to bend from the knees, because when you bend from the waist you're putting a lot of pressure into your back," Blonsky continued. "It's also bad for your muscles—you're not giving muscles chance to support your back."
Dr. Kaitlyn Clarke of Urban Wellness Clinic agreed. "When you bend forward to pick something up, you legs should not be straight—that's a good way to blow a disc," she said. "You also don't want to overarch your back."
Luckily for those unlucky in love, Clarke told Broadly that there are some positive aspects of the move: It can actually be a good strength-training exercise for your lower body. "With the bend and snap, your glutes and butt [are] engaged," she said."It's a good, relatable movement for hip hinging," she said. If you're not familiar with weight-lifting terminology, hip hinging is a movement that takes place throughout the hip joint; it's an effective way to build strength.
In other words, for those seeking love outside the realm of Pokémon Go, the bend and snap might just do the trick—if you don't blow a disc while doing it, that is.