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physiological limitations in skiing? - Page 5

post #121 of 142
I think there are physiological limitations to skiing. As mentioned in previous posts differences in body shapes, sizes, leg length differences etc all can contribute. Muscles strength and imbalances contributes. Short tight muscles limit movement and if they are also weak means they can't achieve the required movements. The result is their antagonist muscle will be lengthened and not within their optimum length tension ratio therefore not able to function at their best. If this is the case then stretching and strengthening programs will help as long as you know which muscles to stretch and which to strengthen.

Functional exercising in the off season and during the season will definitely get you in better shape. That is doing exercises that apply to skiing eg squats, single leg jump and catch, plyometric jumps over boxes etc. Core training, balance plates all will help.

The biggest physiological limitation is our brain! This processes all the info and makes it happen. This should open a minefield :-) if you don't possess the mental capacity, then you will be limited. Its your brain that causes you to rotate and have lack of separation. Here's why - you have hardwired into it the fear of falling from years of experience, that the automatic muscle response is to turn into the hill. This is the neutral pattern. We then have to break this pattern and rewire it. During this process our brain does lots of comparisons, is this right? We add fear, uncertainty, preconceptions,history amongst other things at the same time trying to create this new pattern or sensation. It'll feel strange and require conscious thought and intention, as soon as this is taken away eg with fear or distraction we revert to what we know, the default. I suspect this is what hinders most people's progress. They don't know what the new pattern should feel like, they lose attention and intention and revert back to what they know and keep doing this way therefore reinforcing their previous patterns which is no longer useful.

Let's face it we all probably free ski lots without conscious intention, because its become an unconscious pattern, so we make the current neutral (in some case faulty)patterns stronger.

Without babbling on for to much longer, the key to improving is skiing with a focus and intention all the time. Get external feedback from mentors and video footage so you can build up your own internal feedback system. Manage your own brain, control your fear, change your beliefs (note beliefs are not truths or real!),be open to change and new sensations. Be willing to be on the edge of your comfort zone because if it's comfortable then nothing is new.

Our biggest physiological limitation is our brain. Train it then your skiing will get better. Just my thoughts.
post #122 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post
--There has not been a consensus that people need to start as kids to become experts, but this thought has surfaced.

 

If you want to compete at a world class level (Olympics, WC, etc.) you need to start fairly young.  Otherwise by the time your skills are at their peak you'll be past your physical prime and competitors who started younger will beat you with sheer athleticism.

 

"Expert" is kind of a loaded term around here, but a few hundred days of on-snow training combined with good general fitness will turn most people into pretty damn good skiers (or riders).

 

Quote:
--Good bootfitting to compensate for body asymmetries and other issues may have also been brought up; if not, it should be.

 

Certainly equipment can help compensate for physical limitations.

post #123 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by BillA View Post

Start while you're  young

 

The earlier the better

 

 

Ok -- let's ME off the hook.  Guess I'll just have to . . . golf?  (Urk. Think I'll ski.)

post #124 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by lakespapa View Post

 

 

Ok -- let's ME off the hook.  Guess I'll just have to . . . golf?  (Urk. Think I'll ski.)


No, you are NOT off the hook. The good news is your body continues to produce myelin as we age just not as fast as when we are young. Looks like you'll have to keep working at it. Sorry, age is no excuse for not improving (up to a point)biggrin.gif

post #125 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by BillA View Post


No, you are NOT off the hook. The good news is your body continues to produce myelin as we age just not as fast as when we are young. Looks like you'll have to keep working at it. Sorry, age is no excuse for not improving (up to a point)biggrin.gif

When do you think that point is? Can I still improve after 60? I guess it depends on the individual ie. health/genetics and level of said skier. If someone has been an expert since early in life they may notice some decline but if someone started to ski more regularly after retirement and has been a strong intermediate for most of there life there may be an increase in skill? Does fear of falling increase as we age? Ive often wondered why some elderly drivers go so slow when they have much less to lose compared to a youngin (in terms of years of life remaining).

post #126 of 142

All of this reminds me of a lyric line from a song, or two...

Maybe SkiMangoJazz can add the music...

1. When you wish upon a star, dreams can take you very far, OH YEH

2. Some where over the rainbow, bluebirds fly, if birds fly over the rainbow, why, oh why can't I?

3. To dream the impossible dream...

 

Honestly, I've been pretty nice but if you can walk into the ski school office and walk over to the lift with me, you have the physical gifts to ski well. Along your learning path you will identify roadblocks to reaching those goals. What you do to overcome those obstacles is very much a look inside your mind and spirit. Need to get in shape? Do it! Need to get more flexible? Do it! Need to use either as an excuse for being a terminal intermediate? Nah, that simply is justifying your unwillingness to improve. And that is your choice and I'm not knocking that. All I'm saying is be responsible and honest with yourself about it. Which brings up another very relative and IMO interesting idea. I see all this stuff about the bar being higher than it is as a lack of understanding about that place. If you place it over the horizon / rainbow, how much can you say you truly know about it? If it is just this side of the horizon it is more tangible and you are much more likely to go there because you can actually see it. Once you arrive there the horizon is still around but it has moved and the place you only imagined before is now in plain sight and going there is much more doable. And maybe all of my experience getting people to that place has left me with the impression that anyone can become an expert skier but I help folks from all walks of life get there all the time. And I've done so not just for the public but as a staff trainer for a couple different national ski organizations.

If you choose to not to make the journey to the place just this side of the horizon, enjoy where you are but please stop suggesting that place over the horizon is so very far away.

Skiing well starts in your mind and the journey starts with one step. No matter how small the first step is hardest of all. (sorry couldn't help throwing in another lyric line)

All the best,

JASP

post #127 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by agreen View Post

When do you think that point is? Can I still improve after 60? I guess it depends on the individual ie. health/genetics and level of said skier. If someone has been an expert since early in life they may notice some decline but if someone started to ski more regularly after retirement and has been a strong intermediate for most of there life there may be an increase in skill? Does fear of falling increase as we age? Ive often wondered why some elderly drivers go so slow when they have much less to lose compared to a youngin (in terms of years of life remaining).

 

I don't know when that point is but I plan to keep going until I can't keep going. I'm past 60 and I'm still improving. One of our instructors is 86 and he still works five days a week and skis regularly out west.  As long as you're healthy there's no reason to stop that I can think of. YMMV

post #128 of 142

I'm past 60 and I'm still improving.  I hope I don't ever reach "that point" where improvement becomes impossible.

post #129 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Matta View Post

 In fact this entire thread is about I am too old and can not do this wah!!!

 

Of course it helps to actually read through the thread before commenting on it.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jthski View Post

Our biggest physiological limitation is our brain. 

 

There we go, true in comprehension and skiing.

post #130 of 142

The physiology of the brain? Really?

post #131 of 142

As long as you do a lot that challenges balance and coordination up to the age of twelve you can still become a very good skier. Research show that we learn up to 90% of coordination skill up to the age of twelve. To ingrain motor patterns before the growth spurt does is not important, because it will all change anyway. Much more important to challenge balance and coordination before that age. It is also more fun. Gates, gates, gates is not the answer.

 

I know skiers that have started quite late that became very good. But they did have a lot of hockey, socker etc.

 

I also know of skiers that started quite late and became really good. The reason they did not make it all the way was because it is too expensive. If you don't get into the national team program it is very expensive to go to the competitions you need, and to get the coaching you need.

I know one guy in particular who started late. He was too old to be part of the national Junior team. He did pretty well in the Europa and noram, financed by his dad, and he was just about to get into the Swedish WC team. But then a guy named Jon Olsson went to New Zealand and picked up enough FIS points to get his spot. Jon, beeing one of the best payed skiers, did not have the same financial problems.

 

And then there are some skiers that were extremely good at a late age,

There are skiers older than 40 that still compete in the WC.

Fredrik Nyberg was 37 and at the peak of his career when a knee injury forced his retirement (Fifth in the Olympics the same year)

Patrik Järbyn was 38 when he claimed a bronze in the 2007 world championships and 39 when he took his last  podium in the WC.

Incidentally they are both born the same year as I :-)

 

These are just some Swedish skiers I know of from the top of my head. There are probably lots of examples from other countries.

post #132 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

The physiology of the brain? Really?

Yes really. Your signature says skiing starts in the mind. On the first page I and I believe others brought up balance. You could be perfect from the neck down. No balance, no skiing, or it will at least limit you.

A few posts back you stated that as long as someone could walk to the lift, they should be able to ski. If things aren't working correctly in their brain with regwrs to balance,this isn't going to happen.

Ken
post #133 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamt View Post

As long as you do a lot that challenges balance and coordination up to the age of twelve you can still become a very good skier. Research show that we learn up to 90% of coordination skill up to the age of twelve. To ingrain motor patterns before the growth spurt does is not important, because it will all change anyway. Much more important to challenge balance and coordination before that age. It is also more fun. Gates, gates, gates is not the answer.

 

I know skiers that have started quite late that became very good. But they did have a lot of hockey, socker etc.

 

I also know of skiers that started quite late and became really good. The reason they did not make it all the way was because it is too expensive. If you don't get into the national team program it is very expensive to go to the competitions you need, and to get the coaching you need.

I know one guy in particular who started late. He was too old to be part of the national Junior team. He did pretty well in the Europa and noram, financed by his dad, and he was just about to get into the Swedish WC team. But then a guy named Jon Olsson went to New Zealand and picked up enough FIS points to get his spot. Jon, beeing one of the best payed skiers, did not have the same financial problems.

 

And then there are some skiers that were extremely good at a late age,

There are skiers older than 40 that still compete in the WC.

Fredrik Nyberg was 37 and at the peak of his career when a knee injury forced his retirement (Fifth in the Olympics the same year)

Patrik Järbyn was 38 when he claimed a bronze in the 2007 world championships and 39 when he took his last  podium in the WC.

Incidentally they are both born the same year as I :-)

 

These are just some Swedish skiers I know of from the top of my head. There are probably lots of examples from other countries.

 

In addition, if the discussion is still with regard to the folks who lie in the standard spectrum, beyond 12-14 there are very few changes in motor engrams. So you can imagine as the decades pass the tissue physiology also adapts, its what creates such asymmetry in our bodies. This doesn't even account for histories of injury and compensatory shifts. In a sport that requires the ability to transpose flexibility to either side of a neutral posture it most certainly creates issues. The difficulty in developing these skills later in our life cycle is having to unlearn our developmental preferences and then giving the tissue physiology time to  reorganize.

 

Curiously enough the brain is somewhat at the mercy of the tissue structure, of course nothing can be simple, after all we're not jellyfish. The brain will base movement on previous inputs, it compares to the reports coming from the tissues. If you have spent 20 years preferring to turn your pelvis right and your ribcage left it will continue with that pattern and adjust the more mobile joints to that base configuration, no matter which direction you are turning. Redundancy is a blessing.

 

There are most certainly limitations and pre-dispostions we are bound to, comparing ourselves to others is human, it can be motivating or crushing. However, it should be less about that and more about the internal satisfaction, because we have this redundant capability there are an almost endless degree of options to seek. The primary limitation most of us have are be patient with ourselves and allowing ourselves to fail, but thats probably another discussion.

post #134 of 142

I've been following this thread and I'm still wondering what physiological barriers, beside age, could exist. The topicstarter mentioned Michael Phelps and people spoke about basketball players (length). Or you could think of very slim ballet women. I've been thinking about the greatest giant slalom skiers and couldn't really find a pattern in body structure, only maybe, the women have wider hips? In comparison to other top athletes (hockey, swimmers, runners, and so on, their hips seem narrower) I mean, not to women in general. Maybe I'm just seeing that because I have wider hips myself rolleyes.gif but it made me wonder. Do you see this, or not?

 

I could imagine top skiers may even need other physiological traits for different disciplines. In a giant slalom it's not bad if you're long and heavy (like Svindal), but in other disciplines it might be. What do you think?

post #135 of 142

body composition is part genetic endowment, developmental, nutritional, environmental amongst others. you can look at the greats from any discipline and follow those components to see how and why they are who they are.  Great sprinters have unique feet, a unique balance of muscle, the great distance runners a different composition.  But, its in combo with how they  trained, lived, etc.  The physiology can make dramatic adjustments based on input. Ed Viesturs has unique genetics,  but it was his passion and seeking the environment that held that passion that made it possible for his VO2 capacity to come to the forefront.  I don't think, and its been said here, you can prescribe a certain physiology to a certain performance standard.  Look at judo, the greatest masters aren't the daunting physiques we have come to attribute to being better. The physiology will follow function. Certain body compositions will lend to higher degrees of freedom than others, those are the ones we see elevating their chosen performance tasks.

post #136 of 142

OK, so I just looked up engram.  http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Engrams

Chad, the terms you use are unfamiliar to me.  What profession are you coming from?

 

 

en·gram (ebreve.gifnprime.gifgrabreve.gifmlprime.gif)

n. 
A physical alteration thought to occur in living neural tissue in response to stimuli, posited as an explanation for memory. Also called neurogram.

 

post #137 of 142
LQ, the point is average Joe has the physical gifts to ski well. Adaptive skiers are another question that deserves discussion but that is not who we are discussing.

As far as the physiology of the human brain, I believe it is more common for a psychological roadblock to exist in the average skier's mind.
post #138 of 142

Skiing and the superannuated is a subject I would love to explore but I wonder if the OP wants us to do so and steer his thread away from the average Joe. In any event I will start a thread to discuss exactly that subject.

post #139 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karlyboogy View Post

I've been following this thread and I'm still wondering what physiological barriers, beside age, could exist.

 

Probably the biggest one for most people is asymmetry.  Things like one leg being slightly longer than the other, or being bowlegged or knock-kneed.  You can compensate for a lot of that with equipment, but if you don't it causes problems as you try to progress.

 

Lack of joint ROM (especially in the lower body) is another issue.  Somewhat common if you have had joint injuries.

 

Unless you're VERY tall or VERY short, height really shouldn't matter for skiing.  There is some advantage to being bigger for speed events, because (to a point) you get stronger and it improves your weight-to-surface-area ratio.  That's the sort of thing that only matters in high-end racing, though.

 

Strength and stamina can be limiting factors, but most people can build those up with training.  If you had some condition that made you physically weak, you couldn't ski very long or very fast.

 

If things are wrong mechanically or neurologically with your inner ear, you might literally be unable to balance.  That would be a slight issue.  smile.gif

 

Any medical condition that would prohibit you from playing contact sports would probably make it a bad idea to ski, even if it didn't make you physically unable to do so.

post #140 of 142
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

Honestly, I've been pretty nice but if you can walk into the ski school office and walk over to the lift with me, you have the physical gifts to ski well. Along your learning path you will identify roadblocks to reaching those goals. What you do to overcome those obstacles is very much a look inside your mind and spirit. Need to get in shape? Do it! Need to get more flexible? Do it! Need to use either as an excuse for being a terminal intermediate? Nah, that simply is justifying your unwillingness to improve. And that is your choice and I'm not knocking that. All I'm saying is be responsible and honest with yourself about it. 

 

Hi JASP, 

 

I think everyone wholeheartedly agrees that we can always improve our aerobic/anaerobic performance and flexibility to move beyond roadblocks. My question is at what point does Joe Average actually hit these physical roadblocks and need to start really focusing on more general physical fitness to keep improving their skiing?

 

We know that G-forces multiply as speed and edging increase, and we know that separation becomes important for advanced/expert skiing. Surely out-of-shape, potentially kinked back or stiff jointed Joe Average will reach a point where he actually needs to start working on fitness, because doing so will pay greater dividends than technique improvement. But when is that point? Intermediate level? Advanced level? Expert level? 

 

 

I'm going to go out on a limb here and declare that Joe Average will probably start hitting physical roadblocks (which can be overcome with physical training) around or just before the CSIA level 3 standard, for these reasons:

  • it becomes important to have a certain amount of leg strength to manage increasing G-forces in advanced parallel turns
  • skiers need the flexibility to be able to maintain separation through all turn shapes, and core strength to resist the rotational forces (angular motion) in their upper body
  • More time spent on the outside ski in any turn shape means more leg strength required to avoid crumpling
  • Skiers need decent core strength to be able to "recover" from turning errors in bumps

 

Soooo... that's my proposition. Thoughts? 

post #141 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post

 

Hi JASP, 

 

I think everyone wholeheartedly agrees that we can always improve our aerobic/anaerobic performance and flexibility to move beyond roadblocks. My question is at what point does Joe Average actually hit these physical roadblocks and need to start really focusing on more general physical fitness to keep improving their skiing?

 

We know that G-forces multiply as speed and edging increase, and we know that separation becomes important for advanced/expert skiing. Surely out-of-shape, potentially kinked back or stiff jointed Joe Average will reach a point where he actually needs to start working on fitness, because doing so will pay greater dividends than technique improvement. But when is that point? Intermediate level? Advanced level? Expert level? 

 

 

I'm going to go out on a limb here and declare that Joe Average will probably start hitting physical roadblocks (which can be overcome with physical training) around or just before the CSIA level 3 standard, for these reasons:

  • it becomes important to have a certain amount of leg strength to manage increasing G-forces in advanced parallel turns
  • skiers need the flexibility to be able to maintain separation through all turn shapes, and core strength to resist the rotational forces (angular motion) in their upper body
  • More time spent on the outside ski in any turn shape means more leg strength required to avoid crumpling
  • Skiers need decent core strength to be able to "recover" from turning errors in bumps

 

Soooo... that's my proposition. Thoughts? 


I think you are right.  I have no doubt that without alot of physical training and fitness behind you, its not possible to pass the L4. 

 

I think in additon to the reasons you offered, it is also important to consider the effects of ski training hard, all season long.   If you dont go into the season strong and fit, you wont be able to recover in between ski days, and thus fatique will really catch up with you over the season, resulting in negative effects.

post #142 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

LQ, the point is average Joe has the physical gifts to ski well. Adaptive skiers are another question that deserves discussion but that is not who we are discussing.

As far as the physiology of the human brain, I believe it is more common for a psychological roadblock to exist in the average skier's mind.

 

Very true, but the OP's question asked about physiological limitations and at what level they start affecting your ability to ski well.  Countless threads here discuss the psychological pathways and roadblocks for those that succeed to those that won't even put the boots on.

 

You first sentence is a true statement.  Now it is just a matter of deciding at what point AJ's gifts aren't enough to do it well. 

 

I for one am still confused on the "do it well" part.  If a skier is 5'2" and 110# and skis beautifully by all recognized international standards, and another skier skis equally well (both skied since childhood under the coaching of the same zen skiing master) and is 6'2" and 205# (pretend they are a less extreme version of Arnold and Danny in the movie "Twins"), it is easy to believe that if they have the same skiing style and use the same tactics, the larger person would be faster in a race course. 

 

Does that make the bigger skier a better skier?

 

Matthias99 brings up symmetry and it is a good point.  I can condition myself to be ambidextrous, but it becomes more difficult, at least in skiing, if things aren't equal (i.e. one leg shorter).

 

Metaphor and Skidude are stating probably at CSIA L3 and I have been thinking at PSIA L3 (not sure if those levels are equal and it doesn't matter for this conversation).  I've been thinking that mostly because the further up the food chain you go, the less physiological discrepancies you see.  I see L1's with weight problems, back problems and all sorts of issues.  Fewer L2's are like that and/or they've learned to compensate for these issues.  L2 is more about technique at lower speeds, so physical strength conditioning isn't as important but ROM is.  I'm not saying you don't need strength to pass L2; you do.  I'm saying that a "weekend warrior" can achieve the required level without dedicating much time to it, as long as they aren't that far out of shape to start with (i.e. Average Joe and not Obese Joe).  I don't know of any L3's that aren't in pretty good shape.  Not saying they don't exist.  Just saying you have to start digging deeper to find them and more than likely, they were in better shape when they passed L3. At L3 you need ROM and strength.  Strength at L2 will help quite a bit, but not as necessary as it is for L3 since speed and forces are more of an issue at L3.

 

I like using the PSIA (or other systems standards) because it is strictly about technique and not about competition.  You either meet the standard or you don't. 

 

Ken

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