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Athletic stance and/or stacked?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

Can anyone help me understand how you can be in an athletic stance (i.e. not standing straight up) and be 'stacked' on your bones at the same time? As soon as I am in an athletic stance my leg muscles take the load.

Thanks

post #2 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by JustStandUp View Post

Can anyone help me understand how you can be in an athletic stance (i.e. not standing straight up) and be 'stacked' on your bones at the same time? As soon as I am in an athletic stance my leg muscles take the load.

Thanks

Yes when we say stacked it is in the belly of the turn where your body is somewhat to extremely far inside your skis depending on how aggressive you are and the degree of edge angles you are generating.

 

You really can't get stacked just staticin place. You must be moving with centripetal force present

post #3 of 23
It is relative not literal.

The closer to straight your leg, the "more" (or closer to being) stacked you are and less muscle required relative to being further from straight or "less" stacked.
post #4 of 23

I like to think of it as follows.

Assuming you are in balance there is a force line through your CoM that passes somewhere under your foot. 

The distance between this line and a joint determines how much the muscles around that joint must "work".

For example, if the force line passes through the ball of the foot and the CoM is quite forward, then the line will be close to the knee and the leg will not tire so much.

On the other hand, if the force line passed through the heel and the CoM is back, then there is quite some distance between the line and the knee. The leg will tire quickly.

post #5 of 23
Thread Starter 

So I assume if I am feeling a lot of pressure on the muscles on medium size turns I am probably not in the ideal position (no surprise there). 

post #6 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by JustStandUp View Post

So I assume if I am feeling a lot of pressure on the muscles on medium size turns I am probably not in the ideal position (no surprise there). 

 

Which muscles?  If your quads are burning, it is probably a back seat issue and you aren't in a stacked stance.

post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 

Quads unfortunately, and more on the left side than right (I have read some of the posts here on asymmetry and that has helped). The information here has been very helpful to clear up a source of much confusion, thanks.

post #8 of 23

Keep in mind too that skiing is dynamic, and you get recovery time on each leg every other turn. There are periods of low pressure for each leg, and as your stance adjusts throughout the turn, the amount of "stacking" you get through each leg changes too. 

 

More important than stacking, for preventing muscle fatigue, is efficient technique. Wrenching your skis around through turns, slamming on the brakes, getting tossed around in the bumps or falling into the backseat will wear out your muscles regardless of how stacked you are.  

post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by JustStandUp View Post

Can anyone help me understand how you can be in an athletic stance (i.e. not standing straight up) and be 'stacked' on your bones at the same time? As soon as I am in an athletic stance my leg muscles take the load.

Thanks

 

To me the term "stacked" has always refered to lateral alignment and has nothing to do with fore/aft.  It became popular around the mid 90s when shape skis were taking over...and the idea was to angulate less, and to incline more.  The idea thou has gone out of favour as FIS rules forced skis to reduce side cuts, and more angulation has become necessary again, thus it remains an essential skill.

 

NOT Stacked:

 

 

 

 

Stacked:

 

 

 

 

 

Watch these skiers...think in terms of "lateral alignment"...see how one might describe their stance as "stacked".

 


Edited by Skidude72 - 3/19/13 at 3:02am
post #10 of 23

Stacked.....

 

post #11 of 23

My opinion has stacked being a combination of alignment and balance and as Jamt stated, the exact position is based on the direction of the forces.  In the below photos, forget the persons position for a minute and look at the chairs.  Are they stacked with regards to being in a strong or athletic position.  If they are holding the person up, I would say yes.  In the second photo, the person probably can't move around a lot, but for that person's particular position, the chairs (both of them) are stacked.  It's even a pun as the chairs are "stacked" in the second photo.  My point is that the top chair in the second photo is in a strong position if only for one position.  Change the balance (lady leans back) or the direction of the forces (floor tilts) and the stack falls apart.

 

 

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSLlTAlxFRh55VFepV1O3-GRhJyae24OarxORt0G726IZseopDA     images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRYX00hKGCJVUnJw4gm_2FmqQjxlqSQnYkdMYfad7YbFrtC69BvUA

 

In dynamic skiing, it is the same thing.  What is stacked at transition is not stacked at the apex of the turn, though they have similarities and the same guiding principles; structural alignment to efficiently deal with the forces being applied to the skier. 

 

To the OP's original question of how does it work when the legs aren't straight; look at the top chair in the second picture.  It's fairly similar to an athletic ski stance; the shin and spine are parallel and shin/thigh angle should match the thigh/spine angle.  You could argue that the top chair is braced at the "knee" against the back of the bottom chair, but isn't that the same thing our shins do against the tongue of our boots?  Without ski boots on it is the muscles that hold us when standing in an athletic ski position.  With the boots on, it's more like this:

tumblr_m788wsMxkM1r6r5ajo1_500.jpg

Without the pad against the shin, you would slip right out of this chair.

 

In the video Skidude provided, on all skiers, the toe, knee and hip were almost always in line no matter where in the turn they were.  To deal with the forces, their body moved fore and aft and their upper body angulated.  You don't have to do these things at transition because the force is primarily down with regards to what your bones and muscles have to deal with.  Once you start turning, the direction of the forces start changing and you need to make changes in you body position to deal with it.

 
Forward!
Back-seat!
Balanced!
Forward! Back-seat! Balanced!

 

The third picture above is balanced in your boots static and arms aside, is what you are doing at transition provided there aren't a lot of forces to deal with from speed.  This is stacked.  Add speed and all the forces when in a turn and stacked will morph into this:

 

 

In Skidudes "not stacked" and "stacked" photos, what jumps out at me is the alignment of the upper body.  In the not stacked photo, much of the tension that needs to be delivered to the outside ski is lost because the hips fold.  His legs are aligned and he's balanced, but gear aside, I don't think he wouldn't be able to handle the forces that the stacked skier would.  There's also the whole long leg short leg thing too.  Without it, your hips pretty much need to rotate to make room for everything. There is some hip rotation in being stacked but not that much.

 

All that to say it is the tongue of the boot against the shin that prevents muscle fatigue in a stacked position and why when you ski in the back seat, your quads burn.

 

Good question.  Made me think.

 

Have fun,

 

Ken

 

I edited this because I didn't like the way the part about the angles read.  Edit is in red.


Edited by L&AirC - 3/19/13 at 9:19am
post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidude72 View Post

 

To me the term "stacked" has always refered to lateral alignment and has nothing to do with fore/aft. 

 

That's interesting. I've heard stacked referred to mostly in the context of nose/knees/toes. (or something to do with the chest. duck.gif) Actually, when I think about it, a frequent reference to stacking is around rotational alignment - some skiers twist their hips to try and create edge angles, which creates a structurally weak position. I suppose there's some stacking happening in multiple planes...

 

If stacked refers to lateral alignment and not fore-aft, do you feel a skier can be stacked and skiing consistently from the backseat? 

 

 

Quote:
It became popular around the mid 90s when shape skis were taking over...and the idea was to angulate less, and to incline more.  The idea thou has gone out of favour as FIS rules forced skis to reduce side cuts, and more angulation has become necessary again, thus it remains an essential skill.

 

Also interesting! I've always seen angulating as a way to stay balanced/manage pressure over the outside ski. In contrast, isn't the mantra of stacking to reduce muscular effort by using the skeletal system? 

post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post

 

That's interesting. I've heard stacked referred to mostly in the context of nose/knees/toes. (or something to do with the chest. duck.gif) Actually, when I think about it, a frequent reference to stacking is around rotational alignment - some skiers twist their hips to try and create edge angles, which creates a structurally weak position. I suppose there's some stacking happening in multiple planes...

 

If stacked refers to lateral alignment and not fore-aft, do you feel a skier can be stacked and skiing consistently from the backseat? 

 

 

 

Also interesting! I've always seen angulating as a way to stay balanced/manage pressure over the outside ski. In contrast, isn't the mantra of stacking to reduce muscular effort by using the skeletal system? 

 

I know on this site, being "Stacked" is often used in the fore/aft context...but that is certainly not how the term was used (at least in Canada) when I first heard it.  It was about being inclined more and getting rid of angulation.  Prior to "Stacking" we actually used to train GS with a turning pole, and another set across it at about 60 degrees...and the idea was to turn around the turning pole while "ducking" the 60 degree one.  That "C" shape from angulation was highly sought after and considered desirable.  However as shape skis came about, actually taking a wider, rounder line, and just "stacking" was proving to be faster.

 

Since then I have heard people use "stacking" as using the skeleton..but as pointed out...it doesnt really make sense....as even when we are "long and strong", we are not really "Stacked", we still have some bend in the joints, and its only for a breif part of the turn.  To me being "stacked" is an old idea, that was taken too far back in the days when people were still playing with the new shape skis, and we were running 14m sidecuts in GS.  I think things have backed off from that extreme now as skis have less side cut for GS, and definatley for the average recreational skier with fat and mid fats now so prevelant.  Thats not to say we dont get stacked still...we do...but now its only in the upper 1/3 of the turn or so, then angulation is brought in as before.  Hence angulation is still very much part of the equation again (and has been for a very long time..it was for only 2-3 years (94-96?) "stacking" was "in".).  We certainly dont want to get stacked and stay there, as was considered "good skiing" by some back in the day.

 

 

The "rotational plane" you mentioned above...is basically identical to how I use the term.  Rotational and Lateral planes are highly linked through "counter".

post #14 of 23

   I usually like what Skidude says biggrin.gif...and this time is no different. (I remember skiing around leaning poles to encourage angulation...sometimes we do this at my mountain for the kiddieswink.gif).

So, I thought I'd post this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxONSTiIB88  Interesting to note the rotational and lateral planes not acting in concert very dynamically here. O.k., I know this is geared towards a certain audience, but it is somewhat illustrative...

 

   zenny

post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by zentune View Post

   I usually like what Skidude says biggrin.gif...and this time is no different. (I remember skiing around leaning poles to encourage angulation...sometimes we do this at my mountain for the kiddieswink.gif).

So, I thought I'd post this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxONSTiIB88  Interesting to note the rotational and lateral planes not acting in concert very dynamically here. O.k., I know this is geared towards a certain audience, but it is somewhat illustrative...

 

   zenny


Good video...to me, that is what stacked is.

post #16 of 23

Don't you need to be stacked laterally as well as well as fore/aft?

 

To me they are not mutually exclusive. You cannot be stacked if you are out of balance in either plane, can you?

post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atomicman View Post

Don't you need to be stacked laterally as well as well as fore/aft?

 

To me they are not mutually exclusive. You cannot be stacked if you are out of balance in either plane, can you?

And I stand corrected, you can be stacked stationary.

post #18 of 23
a-man...if you look at my current avatar, you can see that in that still, as i begin to emerge from the fall line, that my com is inside and my skis have begun to move to the fore. i dont consider myself "stacked" in this photo, and yet this was a purley carved turn (more artistically, rather than functional, tho wink.gif ) in high end skiing, we are not always over our skis.

also, i notice when working with others, that there is a "fear factor" when it comes to letting their skis get away from their bodies, so they try to "stay on top" of them...

zenny
post #19 of 23

The term "stacked" is simply a shortened version of "skeletally stacked"; the key being the "skeleton" portion of the term.  Stacked can refer to any body position (or alignment) where that positioning takes advantage of the skeleton to withstand the forces/stress and not just pure muscle strength.  Why the debate?

post #20 of 23
noodler...i think the debate is stemming from the OP's original question. and for me, IS skiing stacked skelatally something one should always strive for, or is there something one would be missing if they were to do so (always be "stacked")? in the vid i posted, darrens skis are doing nice things.....but he could get more out of them, imho...

zenny
post #21 of 23
Weight bearing is the key here. Do a squat with a lot of weight and a symmetrical stance is needed. As the femur moves onto a horizontal position you will feel the weight bearing role shift to the muscles of the leg and lower back. Add the lateral and fore aft planes and we have skeletal stacking in three planes. The three dimensional balance axis shifting around as we turn necessitates moving into and out of skeletally stacked positions. If that didn't occur we would be statues on skis.
post #22 of 23

As JASP said, do a squat with the emphasis on form.  Now put a 6" block under one foot and do the same.  Now get in a roller coaster and do it on the turns. 

 

In the first two, you are static fore and aft but in the second, you have long leg short leg.  In the third you are dynamic and need to change your fore aft balance point or will fall.  Fore/aft shifting is something that is needed to be done while turning to remain balanced.  You do it because everything else is changing not because you're trying to be stacked.

 

The flip side of this is if in a static position while doing a squat, the weight was suddenly moved back 6", you would probably fall over unless you had the strength to recover quickly.

post #23 of 23

The either or question is something I would like to address.

 

It reminds me of our responsibility to speak clearly and express the specific intent for the prescriptive advice we offer our students. I use the stand a little taller advice when a student crouches incessantly. I use the reach to the side with your feet advice when they cannot develop edge pressure prior to the end of the turn. I use the extend through the end of the turn advice in the beginner corral when they angulate and block against the outside ski and maintain an excessively wide stance. I think it should be clear that corrective advice is not universally appropriate. A skeletally stacked stance is specific to a moment in time. When we start moving all of that changes as the balance axis shifts and our intended path changes.

 

Think about a top as it spins and the spinning slows down. The top wobbles until it falls over on it's side. If we watch the tip as this wobbling begins we see it begin to move around and as the tilt angle increases, the circle scribed by the top gets bigger. If we used a high speed camera to film this we could view separate frames where the top is actually stacked and balanced on it's base of support. At least temporarily. View the next frame and the base of support has moved and the top has aligned itself in a slightly different position. I've used this example to illustrate the temporary nature of balance while moving in a circular path. The top being a solid object stays stacked but balance changes as it moves. It is even more temporary when we add the variables like flexing the joints of the human body, the inclined and irregular surface of a ski slope, and the fact that we change directions (alternate semi circular paths). This is why I describe balance on skis as having the very temporary qualities of quicksilver. Others call it a moving target. Regardless of how we describe it, the important thing here is our realization that balance is not a steady state and ski moves take us into and out of balance regularly. Unlike the top we can avoid falling by changing our shape and thus change how much we stack our bones, or use a symmetrical but slightly flexed "athletic stance".

 

To return to the original question again, I want to address the either / or nature of the question, IMO it suggests a misunderstanding of both concepts. Weight bearing and resisting the forces involved in a ski turn suggests a stacked position is more necessary when the load increases. As in when we are experiencing the highest G force. But that does not mean the counter balancing activities like angulation and countered stances are not necessary at the same time. Even the picture SD posted and labeled "not stacked" includes a very long and strong outside leg. Globally the racer is not stacked but the outside leg and pelvis certainly are. So there you have it, stacking bones allows the skeleton to do more of the weight bearing task. During a ski turn a rigid and statue like stance implied by the advice to stay stacked would result in us becoming too much like the top.

 

The same can be said about the idea of an athletic stance. Tennis players are quite familiar with the anticipatory split step done as the opponent is hitting the ball. Basketball and baseball players know it as part of a good static stance since it allows them to move quickly in any direction. But it is only a starting point in all of these sports. When we start moving towards another place, all of this changes and a snapshot taken only captures a split second in time and our stance at that exact moment cannot be offered as reason to assume that position a split second later.  Standing still we would use a static stance to maintain balance because the objective is to maintain that static pose. Once we start moving the objective changes and our dynamic balancing movements help us avoid falling but maintaining a static pose (even an athletic stance) would result in falling (just like the top).

 

With that I want to offer a conclusion that neither idea conflicts with each other and neither idea suggests static poses. Balance and especially dynamic balance is indeed like quicksilver, try to hang onto it and it will slip away before you can grab it. Even the idea of always being "in balance" needs to be tempered with the realization that getting the skis to respond often requires us to move out of balance temporarily. Avoid the absolute and either/ or thinking and I am sure your understanding of the variable nature of balance will lead you to better balance while skiing.

Ski Well my friends,

JASP


Edited by justanotherskipro - 3/20/13 at 10:12am
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