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SkiA Sweetspot and other balance-point trainers

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

I just received a set of the SkiA Sweetspot trainers from Nolo and fit them to my boots.  They were recommended to me by another member (marznc) for balance and strengthening after knee surgery.  Epicski has an article for the SkiA Sweetspot from last year.  Since there is not a thread on these, I thought I'd make a placeholder for my experience with them and for anyone that has use these or other balance-point trainers. 

 

The concept seems simple enough, and my hope is it helps me correct the over-pressuring of the front of my boots that has become a habit.  At first glance, they seem to be like walking on Lego blocks.  I'll give them a fair try.

post #2 of 29

Keep in mind that the blocks are NOT flat on the bottom.  That's what makes them good for getting a feel for edging in ski boots while in safely indoors.  I gained a lot of confidence before heading out to the slopes for the first time minus an ACL.

post #3 of 29
Just started using the Skia. The green blocks seemed fairly easy. Just moved to the blue and its much harder. It definitely teaches you the right balance point after just a few sessions. I will be using it every day for two weeks and then I'm leaving for Steamboat. Will advise how it affected my on snow performance.
post #4 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by spaley17 View Post

Just started using the Skia. The green blocks seemed fairly easy. Just moved to the blue and its much harder. It definitely teaches you the right balance point after just a few sessions. I will be using it every day for two weeks and then I'm leaving for Steamboat. Will advise how it affected my on snow performance.

Be interested to hear if you can get to the red blocks at some point during the two weeks.

 

I have yet to hear of anyone who got past the red blocks to the super skiing black blocks.

post #5 of 29
I suspect I will be on the red before Steamboat. I was on the blue the first time today and in appearance, they dont look that much smaller than the green, but the first 3 minutes on them and you would think I have never walked before. Lol. By the end of the routine, I was much more stable. I suspect a few more sessions on blue, then on to red.

That said, I can say it's a pita to take the skias off after a few minutes, stand without them and then put them on again as described in the instruction manual.

It would be great if they had say a flat block the same length as the skia that you could snap on that would give you the same feeling as standing flat without the balance blocks---it would be a big time saver and make it much easier to keep the routine moving.
post #6 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by spaley17 View Post

I suspect I will be on the red before Steamboat. I was on the blue the first time today and in appearance, they dont look that much smaller than the green, but the first 3 minutes on them and you would think I have never walked before. Lol. By the end of the routine, I was much more stable. I suspect a few more sessions on blue, then on to red.

That said, I can say it's a pita to take the skias off after a few minutes, stand without them and then put them on again as described in the instruction manual.

It would be great if they had say a flat block the same length as the skia that you could snap on that would give you the same feeling as standing flat without the balance blocks---it would be a big time saver and make it much easier to keep the routine moving.

What I do for the "rest period" is stand on two blocks of wood that are the same height as the blocks, one behind and one in front.  So the block is in the slot between the wood.  That way you are standing on solid ground but don't have to take the Sweetspots off.  Can also use books if you have some thick enough.

post #7 of 29
Great idea! Def going to try the wood blocks
post #8 of 29

Wood blocks are a excellent idea.  Never thought about trying that one.

 

I tried using the SkiA on a elevated ramp to resemble a mild ski slope.  That too made a difference.  It seemed to minic the actual incline of a ski hill.  Any one else try this with any benefit?

post #9 of 29

For those who are unfamiliar with the Sweetspot, here's a video that shows all four exercises.  Uses the green block, which is the easiest (largest).

 

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

Wood blocks are a excellent idea.  Never thought about trying that one.

 

I tried using the SkiA on a elevated ramp to resemble a mild ski slope.  That too made a difference.  It seemed to minic the actual incline of a ski hill.  Any one else try this with any benefit?

I learned about the wood block idea from another ski forum.  I can see where a slight incline could be the next step once everything works on the flat.

post #11 of 29
post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by iriponsnow View Post

Still fun tool!

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=B1pWftuBMJc&feature=youtu.be

Doesn't the instruction manual frown on that tyoe of jumping with the skia trainers?
post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by spaley17 View Post

Doesn't the instruction manual frown on that tyoe of jumping with the skia trainers?

I'm certain it does, this was a testing pair for EpicSki. We use them (same unbroken pair) a ton in our clinic.
post #14 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by iriponsnow View Post

I'm certain it does, this was a testing pair for EpicSki. We use them (same unbroken pair) a ton in our clinic.

Wow, they hold up well. That looks like a great excersize.
post #15 of 29
Just started on the red blocks with 1 week before leaving for steamboat. I thought the blues were initially hard, but the red are exponentially harder. By the end of the first session of exercises, I would say I was 60 percent able to complete the exercises. Standing in place, twisting and edging were easier than flexing. Flexing down ok. Extending back up was a real challenge. Also, i really felt the effects on my muscles aftwrwards, probably due to getting used to such a smaller balance point. Will continue to post and see if I can get to the black blocks by the end of the week.
post #16 of 29
I came across a small AD about these in Powder magazine. How much of a workout do these provide? Would doing workout sessions with these work as a substitute for lunges, squats, etc.?
post #17 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfelot View Post

I came across a small AD about these in Powder magazine. How much of a workout do these provide? Would doing workout sessions with these work as a substitute for lunges, squats, etc.?


The SkiA trainers are for improving fine motor skills and balance with ski boots on, not for strength or cardio workouts.  Have you looked at any of the SkiA videos?  I posted a few more recent ones in another thread.

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/115003/welcome-to-our-new-sponsor-skia

post #18 of 29

​Any of you folks still use the SKIA trainer?  Got mine a few days ago.  Figured I would incorporate them into an off-season workout.  Really like the iriponsnow video.  I'm not at that point yet, but will definitely try to work something like that into my program.  So far, I really like them.  I've been "edging" and flexing and extending on them.  Have been rotating on them as well.  I think there's enough challenge there to keep me occupied until next season.  Worried I might wear out the bottoms at some point, but they seem pretty durable.

post #19 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by DirtViking View Post
 

​Any of you folks still use the SKIA trainer?  Got mine a few days ago.  Figured I would incorporate them into an off-season workout.  Really like the iriponsnow video.  I'm not at that point yet, but will definitely try to work something like that into my program.  So far, I really like them.  I've been "edging" and flexing and extending on them.  Have been rotating on them as well.  I think there's enough challenge there to keep me occupied until next season.  Worried I might wear out the bottoms at some point, but they seem pretty durable.


I still use mine.  Not that often, but often enough to think they are worth having around.  It's a fun way to get back into my ski boots in the fall.  I actually use them more during the ski season than during the off season.  Find it useful when it's a week or two between ski trips since the nearest ski area is a 4-hour drive.

 

What color did you start with?

post #20 of 29

Copying over from the 2012 thread . . . @Chris Fellows is the author of Total Skiing, which is a comprehensive book for those interested in improving ski fitness and technique.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Fellows View Post
 

 I agree that there are many variables that can move the Sweetspot around, however the neurological stimuli that is alerted through the use of this device or any balance device before skiing is a good thing.   The neurological  pathways are awakened and a base line sensation is established.  You will have to try them before skiing one day and you will see the value, especially working with students who don't always get the concept of the sweetspot.  I like the device because it ties in well with my belief that to perform at our best on snow we need to warm up with a sport specific movement prep that includes balance work.  It is also a way to revisit proper movement patterns after an injury.  Injury is often the root of faulty movement patterns. An injured skier will favor a leg, turn direction, turning power, or guard a weak muscle, tendon or other body part.  Starting with a good base line stance sensation with out all the stimuli involved when on the snow can be a huge advantage when segueing back to the snow.  I have used this tool with clients who were able to transfer the sensations gained from the trainer and applied  it on the snow relatively quickly.  I was skeptical at first as I am with most geeky contraptions, but the simplicity of this tool and its light weight makes it easy to travel with which is key for most coaches and instructors these days.  Because it fits outside the ski boot it may be a great way to troubleshoot boot issues too.  

 

I have meet Martin, Tony and Hugh the founders.  They are top guys who have a vision and have done their homework on this product.  Will it cure world hunger? No, but it will get you or your students to focus on the most important piece of the ski improvement puzzle, stance and balance.

 

I bought a Skiers Edge about 12 years ago when I was training for a tryout.  My wife thought I was nuts to spend that much money on a training device, but I was committed to the end and I wanted to make sure I was doing everything I could to get ready.  In the end the Skiers Edge wasn't the reason I was successful, but it was one device that fueled my path of precision training and helped me develop a keen awareness of efficient  and effective movements.  The Sweetspot is only effective if it is partnered with some good coaching, practice, mileage and the ability to keep an open mind.   

 

The Sweetspot trainer is tool that should be a part of a much bigger plan for improvement.                

 

post #21 of 29
For some solo practice could this help me over the summer. I could use it while watching tv and other around the house activities. I gotta imagine it will help my rail balance and perhaps smoother airs?

What kind f effects have you guys noticed with it?
post #22 of 29

I have a SkiA Sweetspot pair I would be willing to sell. I got past the green blocks to the red, but haven't really clicked with them. I don't doubt the usefulness. I just don't have the time to use them. Send me a PM if anyone is interested. 

 

Edit: Sold


Edited by cosmoliu - 5/4/16 at 3:37pm
post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 


I still use mine.  Not that often, but often enough to think they are worth having around.  It's a fun way to get back into my ski boots in the fall.  I actually use them more during the ski season than during the off season.  Find it useful when it's a week or two between ski trips since the nearest ski area is a 4-hour drive.

 

What color did you start with?


Started with the green and just tried to stay balanced.  That was easy, so I moved on to blue, then red and then black.  Black was very difficult just trying to stand and keep my fore and aft balance.  I moved back to red and tried some edging and rotary moves, but that proved a little too much for me.  So I'm now back on the blues and it seems to be the right mix of difficulty and success. 

post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by kbat11700 View Post

For some solo practice could this help me over the summer. I could use it while watching tv and other around the house activities. I gotta imagine it will help my rail balance and perhaps smoother airs?

What kind f effects have you guys noticed with it?


Don't know anything about handling park features.  Was never interested, even less interested after knee rehab several years ago (after age 55).

 

Quite frankly, for the price of new SkiA Sweetspot trainers, I think the book Total Skiing is a better investment since you are a teen.  The Sweetspot is for developing and improving balance in relation to controlling how skis act when they are on snow.  What you would learn from the book covers all the aspects of fitness related to being a strong skier, plus technique fundamentals.

post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by DirtViking View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 


I still use mine.  Not that often, but often enough to think they are worth having around.  It's a fun way to get back into my ski boots in the fall.  I actually use them more during the ski season than during the off season.  Find it useful when it's a week or two between ski trips since the nearest ski area is a 4-hour drive.

 

What color did you start with?


Started with the green and just tried to stay balanced.  That was easy, so I moved on to blue, then red and then black.  Black was very difficult just trying to stand and keep my fore and aft balance.  I moved back to red and tried some edging and rotary moves, but that proved a little too much for me.  So I'm now back on the blues and it seems to be the right mix of difficulty and success. 


Improving balance takes patience and consistency.  I learned that during knee rehab.  When I've been off skis and out of ski boots for several months, I start over with the green blocks for all four of the basic exercises.

 

Same principle applies for basic drills on snow that I've learned since I started taking lessons more regularly from very experienced instructors as an advanced skier (Level 6/7 of 9).  I decided to take more lessons after knee rehab.  As my Massanutten coach told me when I first worked with him, ingraining new movements takes a season or two, especially the more subtle movements.  Took a couple seasons to understand what he meant.  Made even more sense by the time a very experienced instructor (RM Examiner) confirmed that I'd become Level 8 a couple seasons ago.  One reason I actually have more fun on the short groomers at Mnut now than before is that I know better how and what to practice.  (Blues and blacks at Mnut are more like greens or easy blues out west.)

 

What other balance exercises do you do?

post #26 of 29

From another 2012 thread about balance . . .

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post
 
Quote:
To me, the feeling should be the same otherwise it would be not the sweet spot but a cluster of sweet spots. But feelings are hard to describe accurately; we all have different body awarenesses.

You just described the outcome of training with the Sweetspot Trainer. I can't explain the science, if that's what it is, but each session of a few minutes on the trainer (maybe 20 minutes) pays off the next time you use it, even if the prior session was largely unbalanced. The body is learning even in failure, without that ideal repetition called "perfect practice." Furthermore, the body seems to process the learning while you are off the blocks. I think this trainer is the real deal, but I haven't gone skiing yet. I'm on the red blocks now after some remedial time on the blue blocks and it was obvious that the time I put in on the blue blocks paid off when I moved to the reds -- I hardly feel a difference. I look at the skinny little black blocks and think, "Someday..."

 

Like all of us, I'm getting older and find that I need to do extra physical work to keep going hard. I do circuit training; at $1/lb I have way more money in iron than I do in this little trainer, and I expect both to give me a great ski season!

 

For those who are relatively new to EpicSki . . . nolo is a very experienced ski instructor and PSIA trainer who retired a while back.  She tested out the SkiA Sweetspot when SkiA became an EpicSki sponsor.

 

Usage Tip: The green arrow in the Quote above is a "forward" link.  Hover over it until you get the pointing hand pointer, then click to go to the original post/thread.

post #27 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 


Don't know anything about handling park features.  Was never interested, even less interested after knee rehab several years ago (after age 55).

 

Quite frankly, for the price of new SkiA Sweetspot trainers, I think the book Total Skiing is a better investment since you are a teen.  The Sweetspot is for developing and improving balance in relation to controlling how skis act when they are on snow.  What you would learn from the book covers all the aspects of fitness related to being a strong skier, plus technique fundamentals.

I'll look into that book. Anything that can help me come into next season more capable of skiing hard longer, or improves how I ski is game. Already plan to do some cycling, running swimming, and a few days at the gym to help out.

post #28 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by kbat11700 View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 


Don't know anything about handling park features.  Was never interested, even less interested after knee rehab several years ago (after age 55).

 

Quite frankly, for the price of new SkiA Sweetspot trainers, I think the book Total Skiing is a better investment since you are a teen.  The Sweetspot is for developing and improving balance in relation to controlling how skis act when they are on snow.  What you would learn from the book covers all the aspects of fitness related to being a strong skier, plus technique fundamentals.

I'll look into that book. Anything that can help me come into next season more capable of skiing hard longer, or improves how I ski is game. Already plan to do some cycling, running swimming, and a few days at the gym to help out.

When you are at the gym, don't just work on the machines or with free weights for strength training.  Can do all sorts of useful balance exercises with the BOSU.  Combine with a medicine ball to make it harder.  Note that there are of ways to improve balance, flexibility, and core strength without going to the gym.

 

Here are a couple ideas to get your started.  If you go to YouTube for the Dryland Skiing drill, there are a few more using the BOSU.

 

 

 

post #29 of 29
Cool
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post

When you are at the gym, don't just work on the machines or with free weights for strength training.  Can do all sorts of useful balance exercises with the BOSU.  Combine with a medicine ball to make it harder.  Note that there are of ways to improve balance, flexibility, and core strength without going to the gym.

Here are a couple ideas to get your started.  If you go to YouTube for the Dryland Skiing drill, there are a few more using the BOSU.





 

Cool, I will look into those excercises as well.
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