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Stance - different for man vs. woman??

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

Can one of you PSIA guru's help me out with understanding proper stance - hips in relation to knees and toes and shoulders?  Does 'stacked' look differnet for men/women?  Is there an anotomical difference in where your hips tend to be between men/women and how forward hips should be.  No jokes on hip thrusting necessary - I heard them all yesterday . . . .

post #2 of 29

If you look at world cup racers,or junior racers in a race training program, there is no perceivable difference  Coaches may weigh in with more perception on this issue.  

 

If you look at intermediate recreational racers out on the local hill, there several common differences in how their arms, hips, legs, and backs look.  All of what I'm going to say is stuff I've directly observed;  I haven't written stuff down so I may even be recounting what I've noticed incorrectly; this is what has stuck in my mind.  Women tend to hold their elbows closer to their bodies with their hands wider than the elbows; and men are more likely to hold their elbows wide.  Women arch their backs and tip their pelvis so that their belly buttons face downwards.  Men tend to slump their backs up at the shoulders and hold their pelvis more vertically.  Women also display a knock-kneed stance more often than men do, but I've seen men that are knock-kneed (also known as A-frame stance).  Both lean in; both crouch in the sit-down position.  Both rotate their upper bodies into the turn.  Both get in the back seat.

 

As the skill level advances, the differences narrow (again my perceptions exclusively);  that pelvis thing with the back arched or slumped seems to persist into advanced skiers; I've been looking for it ever since I saw a large impressive bronze sculpture at Breckenridge at the base of Peak 9 showing a woman skier in that exact arched-back stance.  Women are encouraged to get rid of it.  I'm not sure it's a real problem, however.   I have seen excellent women expert skiers with this stance doing terrific skiing.

post #3 of 29
Thread Starter 

If it's going to help functionally, I'd work harder at getting rid of it, but it's taking energy to maintain a position that doesn't seem too natural.  Other people want to weigh in, please??!!

post #4 of 29

There may be differences in how men and women start out, but the most efficient stance doesn't look too different for a man or a woman.

 

If you are working on correcting a stance issue, it may seem unnatural at first. Good stance will eventually be not only functional but take less energy to maintain.

post #5 of 29

Stance is an individual thing as everyone has different body proportions. Stance also varies depending on the conditions and what your goal is. But in general women tend to have more mass in the hips and less mass in the shoulders which means they will have slight differences in the amount they need bend or extend in each joint to maintain balance. (eg... in order to bend women with larger hips may need slightly more flex in the ankles/and or waist). 

post #6 of 29

Your stance should allow you stay centered over your skis at all times.  To do this, it needs to accommodate the ability to quickly move and rearrange in regard to the forces coming up at you from the snow.  Stance and balance would be the same for anyone on skis in identical places, slopes, skis, to maintain constant and even pressure and contact of the ski to the snow.  The typical stance taught, where all joints attempt to fold equally to maintain a balanced position, hands out front and ready to adapt to terrain will vary slightly with conditions, gear and ski style.  As an instructor and female I strive for a centered mobile stance required by the CSIA.  The stance for different ski schools varies lightly but ultimately equals a balanced centered stance for all.  My stance as a female is equal to my male counterpart in the CSIA if I am achieving what I desire.  I look for the same stance in my students, regardless of age or gender and find them quite capable of achieving it with practice.  A correct stance is the first building block to improved skiing and well worth the effort to achieve.  Try to get someone to video you in your own perceived different stances and see how much difference there is.

post #7 of 29
Thread Starter 

thanks all - I am going to try to work on this some more.  I do feel that this change in stance helps my feet be quicker on the skidded short radius turns, but it sure didn't feel natural yesterday to maintain it.  My hip flexor's were sore this morning which is wierd, but yesterday I was in my ski boots for 13 hours straight between training and patrolling. 

post #8 of 29

Your hip flexors being sore is a very good sign!  Good luck with it.

post #9 of 29

At the intermediate level I'd agree that men and women both benefit by moving closer towards the "standard" (generic) athletic stance. Most women benefit from getting off the toilet seat. Most men benefit from flexing through all their joints. Both benefit from increasing their range of motion. Women benefit from shedding the hip check; men benefit from shedding the shoulder check. (generalizations, but usually true.)

 

At an advanced (refinement) level though, it strikes me that your build really does start to affect your stance. I'm surprised nobody's commented on how a large chest or large butt shifts the centre of mass. (it must be true, by definition.) Everyone's limbs are different lengths. A really long-limbed guy (like myself) with differently proportioned bones can't possibly bend in the same joints at the same degrees as a short, squat woman AND have the weight balanced over the same point. On the same note, I feel I get more out of following a course conductor with my body shape than following a short squat conductor. But I also recognize that's a subjective observation. 

 

It'd be nice to run some more objective research in skiing. Sadly it's hard to do so in such a (comparatively) niche and non-lucrative field. 

post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by lady_Salina View Post

Your stance should allow you stay centered over your skis at all times.  To do this, it needs to accommodate the ability to quickly move and rearrange in regard to the forces coming up at you from the snow.  Stance and balance would be the same for anyone on skis in identical places, slopes, skis, to maintain constant and even pressure and contact of the ski to the snow.  The typical stance taught, where all joints attempt to fold equally to maintain a balanced position, hands out front and ready to adapt to terrain will vary slightly with conditions, gear and ski style.  As an instructor and female I strive for a centered mobile stance required by the CSIA.  The stance for different ski schools varies lightly but ultimately equals a balanced centered stance for all.  My stance as a female is equal to my male counterpart in the CSIA if I am achieving what I desire.  I look for the same stance in my students, regardless of age or gender and find them quite capable of achieving it with practice.  A correct stance is the first building block to improved skiing and well worth the effort to achieve.  Try to get someone to video you in your own perceived different stances and see how much difference there is.


I really like this post and it helps me with something I'm working on. (Man-o-man I have a lot to work on)

 

I'm trying to get my feet farther apart and when I actually do it, it feels a lot more stable, but I find myself transitioning back to a narrow stance within a few turns.  hissyfit.gif

 

The funny thing is, the clinician that's working with me is NOT the first coach to urge me to get my feet apart.  So, its pretty -effing simple.  Why can't I do it consistently?

 

This clinician actually quoted Robin Barnes, and I knew it was her quote immediately because she's said it to me: 

I pray that my hips aren't as wide as my stance. 

 

Is there a trick to maintaining a wider stance, or is it just a matter of "practice makes permanent" ?

 

 

post #11 of 29

deleted

post #12 of 29


A wider stance just allows your feet to move independently instead of getting caught on each other or being turned only because the other bumped into it and turn it.  The trick is practice, and remembering it's not so much as feet apart as it is knees and legs work independently.  As a visual I often think of having a 4 inch steel bar between my knees that articulates.  Have you ever seen a motor bike with an articulating side car turn a corner?  I like to think my knees should move independent of each other like the articulating side car and the bike (both sit on the ground) as my feet turn in the snow with that articulating bar holding them at that exact distance.  When my legs are locked together I think it looks more like the side car that doesn't articulate and as the bike turns the corner the side car lifts off the road instead of making an independent turn.  That's my visual, and how I think of my legs and knees working independently of each other but both achieving the same turn.  I hope this make some sense to you, if not, disregard it and find someone's explanation that works for you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post


I really like this post and it helps me with something I'm working on. (Man-o-man I have a lot to work on)

 

I'm trying to get my feet farther apart and when I actually do it, it feels a lot more stable, but I find myself transitioning back to a narrow stance within a few turns.  hissyfit.gif

 

The funny thing is, the clinician that's working with me is NOT the first coach to urge me to get my feet apart.  So, its pretty -effing simple.  Why can't I do it consistently?

 

This clinician actually quoted Robin Barnes, and I knew it was her quote immediately because she's said it to me: 

I pray that my hips aren't as wide as my stance. 

 

Is there a trick to maintaining a wider stance, or is it just a matter of "practice makes permanent" ?

 

 



 

post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by lady_Salina View Post


A wider stance just allows your feet to move independently instead of getting caught on each other or being turned only because the other bumped into it and turn it.  The trick is practice, and remembering it's not so much as feet apart as it is knees and legs work independently.  As a visual I often think of having a 4 inch steel bar between my knees that articulates.  Have you ever seen a motor bike with an articulating side car turn a corner?  I like to think my knees should move independent of each other like the articulating side car and the bike (both sit on the ground) as my feet turn in the snow with that articulating bar holding them at that exact distance.  When my legs are locked together I think it looks more like the side car that doesn't articulate and as the bike turns the corner the side car lifts off the road instead of making an independent turn.  That's my visual, and how I think of my legs and knees working independently of each other but both achieving the same turn.  I hope this make some sense to you, if not, disregard it and find someone's explanation that works for you.



 




a wider stance makes it hard to tip and steer. It also make the skis do different things while going though tough terrain.  There is a big difference between narrow and 'locked"

 

SL skiers(which is the turn shape we use most often in freeskiing while at least I do) do not use a 'wide stance" they use a stance that is as narrow as possible while still allowing independent leg motion

 

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRIYxQZMBnlZavQzvyMNfmxhmbHUZFr831oFJrPfYXJs4PYIbeEHZQ2HKIz

 

m_Mikaela%20SL%20photo.jpg

 

ted+ligety.jpg

 

all the separation you see is vertical and horizontal is less than hip width in most cases.

post #14 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post




I really like this post and it helps me with something I'm working on. (Man-o-man I have a lot to work on)

 

I'm trying to get my feet farther apart and when I actually do it, it feels a lot more stable, but I find myself transitioning back to a narrow stance within a few turns.  hissyfit.gif

 

The funny thing is, the clinician that's working with me is NOT the first coach to urge me to get my feet apart.  So, its pretty -effing simple.  Why can't I do it consistently?

 

This clinician actually quoted Robin Barnes, and I knew it was her quote immediately because she's said it to me: 

I pray that my hips aren't as wide as my stance. 

 

Is there a trick to maintaining a wider stance, or is it just a matter of "practice makes permanent" ?

 

 


Hey Trek,

Got video?

I agree with Bush, forget about the stance width. It's a symptom. If you don't guide the inside ski it will just drift over.

Activate your inside ski. Give your inside ski, foot, leg, half… purpose. The width will take care of itself. Use a cue from one of your other coaches: Right tip right, to go right…

Make each turn infinite steps:
http://www.epicski.com/a/thousand-steps-drill-by-bob-barnes

Best,

Chris
post #15 of 29

Thanks for posting that Cgeib.  I'd forgotten about that drill, but now that you mention it, I've got Bob's voice in my head and I can't make it stop!!!

post #16 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post


I really like this post and it helps me with something I'm working on. (Man-o-man I have a lot to work on)

 

I'm trying to get my feet farther apart and when I actually do it, it feels a lot more stable, but I find myself transitioning back to a narrow stance within a few turns.  hissyfit.gif

 

The funny thing is, the clinician that's working with me is NOT the first coach to urge me to get my feet apart.  So, its pretty -effing simple.  Why can't I do it consistently?

 

This clinician actually quoted Robin Barnes, and I knew it was her quote immediately because she's said it to me: 

I pray that my hips aren't as wide as my stance. 

 

Is there a trick to maintaining a wider stance, or is it just a matter of "practice makes permanent" ?

 

 



TC....you can get out on those Rooster ROC's and pin your ankles together  wink.gif

 

 

post #17 of 29

Wide...narrow...the functional stance is (wait  for it) the functional stance. That is, the stance that will let you get the most range of motion. It won't be the same for all people and it won't be the same on all steepnesses. (I made that word up).

 

That said, if you are having trouble using both feet instead of your outside foot, widening your stance would be a drill I'd have you do as a precursor to learning how to engage that inside edge. And, no, it's not as easy for most people as just saying "do it".

 

BTW Bush, those skiers have a wider stance than the average rec skier. Look at the third photo, well over shoulder width. It's not the separation between the legs, but the separation between the skis. Any closer together and he would not have been able to get that edge angle.

post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rossi Smash View Post



TC....you can get out on those Rooster ROC's and pin your ankles together  wink.gif

 

 



You are sooooo smart!! biggrin.gif

post #19 of 29
Thread Starter 

Wow - I like the independent leg action visualization.  I think that's at the heart of what I need to work on it and I'll give that  try today.  I like the 'right tip right, go right'    So easy to say and say - yeah - I can do that - so hard to internalize it into every turn.  If I could just keep my butt and my right hand from straying into the back seat . . . .

 

post #20 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post


I really like this post and it helps me with something I'm working on. (Man-o-man I have a lot to work on)

 

I'm trying to get my feet farther apart and when I actually do it, it feels a lot more stable, but I find myself transitioning back to a narrow stance within a few turns.  hissyfit.gif

 

The funny thing is, the clinician that's working with me is NOT the first coach to urge me to get my feet apart.  So, its pretty -effing simple.  Why can't I do it consistently?

 

This clinician actually quoted Robin Barnes, and I knew it was her quote immediately because she's said it to me: 

I pray that my hips aren't as wide as my stance. 

 

Is there a trick to maintaining a wider stance, or is it just a matter of "practice makes permanent" ?

 

 



Aside from the stuff mentioned above... Cuff alignment on your boots will also have an effect on your stance width.

The main things to remember with regards to stance width are: a wider stance promotes stability and more independent leg movement while a narrower stance is more agile and allows for more unified leg movements. Each have benefits for different skiing situations.

post #21 of 29

rossi and Trekchick,

It sounds to me like something that might be leading to a couple of the things you're describing could be that there is still some amount of upper-body rotation occurring during your initiation.  If you think about being at the transition point in between your turns, using upper-body rotation will cause the new outside half of your body to move first.  When this occurs, your new outside foot will usually rotate more than your inside foot.  If nothing is done to change that, your stance will narrow at least from that point until you are facing down the fall line.  It's also likely that in many turns the rotation in the upper body will continue through the finish phase of the turn causing you to end up facing too far up the hill with your inside hand too far back.  Ending in that position creates a situation where upper-body rotation is one of the only ways out and into the next turn.  The narrower stance that results makes the upper-body rotation more effective and leg rotation less effective.  It's a bit of a vicious cycle.

 

Breaking it is tough.  One drill that I really like to use to work on this is cowboy turns.  Basically, ski with a wide enough stance to fit a horse between your legs.  That stance will almost eliminate your ability to initiate the turn using upper-body rotation.  If you try to use upper-body, you will very quickly find that it doesn't work and have to find something else instead.  So, it is a good diagnostic as well.  If you don't feel a hitch in your git-along at initiation in the cowboy stance, upper-body rotation is probably not the problem.  If you do, that's a very likely culprit.  Once you figure out the movements you need to do to substitute leg rotation for the upper-body rotation at initiation (right tip right, lateral balance, etc.), you can gradually ski back down to a functional stance width.  If you get too narrow, you'll probably revert back to the upper-body rotation, but hopefully you should be able to feel the difference at that point and correct.  If not, start back over at the cowboy width and go through the process again.  Make sure you are doing this on terrain an which you are very comfortable and safe.

 

Once you eliminate the factor that is causing your stance to narrow, you will probably naturally be able to stay in a wider, more-functional stance without constantly thinking about it.

post #22 of 29

 

A slightly knocked-knee stance is a plus for skiing because it naturally puts the knees over the inside edge of the ski, allowing for quicker turn initiation. An extremely bowlegged or knocked-kneed stance, however, is a determent and requires cuff angle alignment, footbeds/custom orthotics and/or underbinding cants. Possibly all three.

            Bowlegs occur mostly in men. Bowlegged skiers often “catch” their outside edges as they finish turns, and their skis wander to the outside on flats or in a glide.

            Knock-knees, ac ondition suffered primarily by women but also by a good number of men, is almost always accompanied by flats or pronating foot. Knock-kneed skiers usually have a difficulty getting off their inside edges and often catch edges on flats or in long gliding turns. They usually have to tuck the downhill leg behind the uphill leg to effectively hold an edge.

            To test if you are bowlegged or knock-kneed, stand barefoot, feet parallel, and bring your legs together until either the ankles or knees touch. If your knees and ankle touch simultaneously, your legs are pretty straight. If your ankles and feet touch before your knees, you’re bowlegged. To determine the degree of bow, measure the distance between the centers of your knees when your feet or ankles touch. If your knees touch before your ankles do, you are knock-kneed. To determined the degree of knock-knees, measure the distance between the inside ankle bones.

 

Knees are like eyes: They operate in tandem, and if the tracks cross, your equipment will not function properly. Excessive leg torsion, either from the hip or knee, creates a misalignment of the knee and foot. (In walking, excessive torsion, internal or external, results in duck-footed or pigeon-toed stance, respectively.) A leg alignment test examines the relationship between knee position and the center of the boot sole, which affects ski edge angle on the snow. If your knees are improperly positioned, under binding cants will improve your balance and skiing.

 

Jeffrey S. Rich C. Ped.

www.usorthoticcenter.com

post #23 of 29


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rossiG10s View Post

Can one of you PSIA guru's help me out with understanding proper stance - hips in relation to knees and toes and shoulders?  Does 'stacked' look differnet for men/women?  Is there an anotomical difference in where your hips tend to be between men/women and how forward hips should be.  No jokes on hip thrusting necessary - I heard them all yesterday . . . .


Women often hold their lower backs in an arched shape - you can see this from the side when you ride the chair and watch the skiers go by.  The stance of these skiers looks quite different from most men who do not arch their backs.  That arched back is caused by the way the pelvis is held.  It results in a more crouched stance for the women who do this, compared to the men and women who don't.  I've wondered why this happens so often, and finally found something that explains it.ANTERIOR-PELVIC-TILT.jpg

 

"Pelvic tilt" refers to how the pelvis is tilted when you look at it from the side.  If the top of the front of the pelvis is down somewhat, and its bottom on the back is rotated up a bit, this is called "anterior pelvic tilt."  You can rotate the pelvis with your muscles this way, and you can rotate it the other way into a "posterior pelvic tilt."  Here's what I finally found, which explains why women do this more often than men:

 

The human pelvis in normal anatomical position maintains a small anterior pelvic tilt in order to balance and maintain a normal lordotic curve in the back.  This tilt is measured by degree of angle from the anterior superior iliac spine (ASIS) to the posterior superior iliac spine (PSIS).  A normal anterior pelvic tilt range for a male is one to five degrees and a female is six to ten degrees. 

 

post #24 of 29
Interesting, LiquidFeet. What is source where you found that?
post #25 of 29

Q-Angle

 

Women are typically more knock-kneed due to a wider pelvic structure than men’s. The wider the pelvis, the further apart the femurs are set. This forms a pronounced “V” from the hips to knees referred to as the Q-Angle, a term derived from measuring the angle of the Quadriceps tendon. The Q-angle is formed by the intersection of the centerline of the femur and an imaginary line drawn through the center of the tibial shaft as it bisects the knee joint.

 

Short femurs, a wide pelvis and knock-knees all visibly increase the “Q” angle. A telltale sign of excessive Q-angle is when a customer’s knees are together and ankles are six inches or more apart when standing straight.

 

An extreme Q-angle can prevent an athlete from assuming a solid, balanced stance as it put excessive pressure on the inside ski edges, making edge release for direction change more difficult. Excessive Q-angle also increases the likelihood of early muscle fatigue and injury. Several studies have shown that the greater the knock-knee condition, the greater the stress on the knee joint. Few men and not all women have extreme Q-angles. Not surprisingly, many female Alpine World Cup skiers have small Q-angles. Large Q-angles are uncommon in young girls until the onset of puberty, when their hips widen.

Jeffrey Rich C. Ped.

www.usorthoticcenter.com

post #26 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by drbalance View Post

 Not surprisingly, many female Alpine World Cup skiers have small Q-angles. 


 

My totally unscientific observation is that not many professional or elite-level women in any sport have large Q-angles ... 

post #27 of 29

What is that song....

 

"I love to go swimmin with bowlegged women"...  rolleyes.gif

post #28 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by drbalance View Post

Q-Angle

Not surprisingly, many female Alpine World Cup skiers have small Q-angles. Large Q-angles are uncommon in young girls until the onset of puberty, when their hips widen.

 

Lindsey's Q looks pretty good from where I'm sitting biggrin.gif

 

Lindsey-Vonn7.jpg

post #29 of 29

Rossi Smash

What is that song....

 

"I love to go swimmin with bowlegged women"... rolleyes.gif

 

 

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