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Off-snow exercises to correct turn asymmetries?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

I recently made a few videos with my thoughts on addressing the problem of turn difficulty in one direction vs the other. I feel like we've had this discussion before, and in fact I recall it contributed to a great piece by Bud Heishman about the components of great skiing. I think there's absolutely a time and place for bootfitters, but I think a functional correction (exercise) should be tried before a structural one (orthotics). 

 

In total there are 5 (short) videos: an intro and 4 suggested corrective exercises. 

Intro: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hfs4QVADA8

Ex#1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9CDd01v9jLA (Standing hip rotation)

Ex#2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rGDuPsEMF8 (Mini-band hip rotation)

Ex#3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZGd8zet_ro (Single leg squat)

 

Ex#4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YydY8e1QKnw (Reverse lunge with hip rotation)

 

I hope these are helpful for some skiers out there with trouble turning in one direction. For those of you who are instructors, I would love to help you guys share stuff like this with your clients! 

 

Elsbeth


Edited by evaino - 3/10/14 at 2:43pm
post #2 of 22
Excellent stuff as always! There are certainly modifiable factors that most skiers are leaving on the table!

I'm doing a lot w lateral stride symmetry for my clients of late.
post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by iriponsnow View Post

Excellent stuff as always! There are certainly modifiable factors that most skiers are leaving on the table!

I'm doing a lot w lateral stride symmetry for my clients of late.

 

Cool. What sort of stuff are you doing? And are you familiar with the Y-Balance test? That's something that I've had my eye on for a while, but not enough to buy it - the kit is price-y as I recall.

 

Got to get that last video up! 

post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 

I finally uploaded the 4th exercise video (reverse lunge with hip rotation): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YydY8e1QKnw.

post #5 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by evaino View Post
 

I recently made a few videos with my thoughts on addressing the problem of turn difficulty in one direction vs the other. I feel like we've had this discussion before, and in fact I recall it contributed to a great piece by Bud Heishman about the components of great skiing. I think there's absolutely a time and place for bootfitters, but I think a functional correction (exercise) should be tried before a structural one (orthotics). 

 

In total there are 5 (short) videos: an intro and 4 suggested corrective exercises. 

Intro: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hfs4QVADA8

Ex#1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9CDd01v9jLA (Standing hip rotation)

Ex#2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rGDuPsEMF8 (Mini-band hip rotation)

Ex#3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZGd8zet_ro (Single leg squat)

 

Ex#4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YydY8e1QKnw (Reverse lunge with hip rotation)

 

I hope these are helpful for some skiers out there with trouble turning in one direction. For those of you who are instructors, I would love to help you guys share stuff like this with your clients! 

 

Elsbeth

 

Missed this in March.  Good stuff!  Hadn't seen anything like the mini-band hip rotation.  Alway nice to know exercises that can be done essentially any time, any place.

 

Introduction

 

Ex #2: Mini-band hip rotation

 

post #6 of 22

Hi Elspeth,

 

I wonder if you have any specific physio exercises for skiing bumps/moguls?  I have an ACL deficient knee which is pretty stable almost all the time.  It has given way twice this winter, both times skiing bumps that have a fairly tight line through them and my knee hasn't been able to take the rotational forces fast enough.  I'm currently working with a physio so that come next winter I'll be ready for it all, but wondered if you had any specific bumps exercises you do with people?

 

Thanks very much, Ali

post #7 of 22

These are great exercises. I plan on using them during the summer to keep on track for ski season. 

Thanks

post #8 of 22

Awesome... now I just have to get out from behind this computer and do them;)

post #9 of 22
My wife, Kim, broke her pelvis sking her last day. She began skiing this year, at 57, and loves it. She skied 25 days this year before the fall. She's looking forward to next season, and these exercises will help her greatly.
post #10 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by alig View Post
 

Hi Elspeth,

 

I wonder if you have any specific physio exercises for skiing bumps/moguls?  I have an ACL deficient knee which is pretty stable almost all the time.  It has given way twice this winter, both times skiing bumps that have a fairly tight line through them and my knee hasn't been able to take the rotational forces fast enough.  I'm currently working with a physio so that come next winter I'll be ready for it all, but wondered if you had any specific bumps exercises you do with people?

 

Thanks very much, Ali

 

Hi Ali,

 

I wouldn't say I have anything specific for skiing bumps, just that I would say that skiing bumps definitely puts your body to the test in terms of pretty much all aspects of physical preparation. In my opinion, Nothing beats a great all around strength and mobility program, with particular emphasis on hip strengthening, hip range of motion, rotary core stability, and single leg strengthening. You really need all of those things, which is why there isn't really one exercise (or even 2) that will address it. Single leg strengthening is required to ensure that your non-deficient leg doesn't take over in regular bilateral lifts thus reducing the strength potential on that side (and possibly increasing hip asymmetries). The knee is rarely strong enough to control rotary forces; it relies on the hips and core to do that. If the hips and core are not strong enough, then yes, the knee will often be the weak link (or maybe the low back). Hand in hand with the hip strength is the need for hip range of motion. If you lack hip rotation range of motion, then the rotation from bumps is going to be absorbed at the knee - and even in a knee with a good ACL, that's a tall order. 

 

So my short answer is: you need much more than one or two physio exercises. You need a body that is strong and moves well from head to toe. or at least from shin to ribcage. :) 

 

A moment of shameless self-promotion - I have a training for skiing ebook that contains a complete training program for skiing. It has 4 phases, and builds progressively from phase 1 to phase 4. It's a 12 week program, and if you follow it, your knee will be as prepared as it can be. It's pretty much exactly what I would have you do if you lived in Ottawa and came and trained with me at my gym. It's sadly lacking in the wit and hilarity that you'd enjoy if you trained with me, but on the plus side, it's only $30. And it includes a series of youtube playlists so you get videos of each of the exercises. http://www.customstrength.com/skiebook.html

 

Elsbeth

post #11 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post
 

These are great exercises. I plan on using them during the summer to keep on track for ski season. 

Thanks

 

My pleasure. Enjoy! 

post #12 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by skinerd View Post
 

Awesome... now I just have to get out from behind this computer and do them;)

 

One giant shortcoming of this stuff. :) 

post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob in Carmel View Post

My wife, Kim, broke her pelvis sking her last day. She began skiing this year, at 57, and loves it. She skied 25 days this year before the fall. She's looking forward to next season, and these exercises will help her greatly.

 

Good luck to her - that couldn't have been fun! 

post #14 of 22

@evaino Great stuff! thanks for sharing!

In your opinion, are most of the limitations coming solely from the hips or are there other areas that could be a significant cause of reduced performance? And if so how would you address these?
From a biomechanics point of view, not strength, balance, conditioning, etc.

post #15 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jzamp View Post
 

@evaino Great stuff! thanks for sharing!

In your opinion, are most of the limitations coming solely from the hips or are there other areas that could be a significant cause of reduced performance? And if so how would you address these?
From a biomechanics point of view, not strength, balance, conditioning, etc.

 

Hey thanks @jzamp,

 

I had to think about your q for a bit. I think it would be fair to say it's mostly hips and feet/ankles. I think the bootfitters might suggest it's more feet than hips? I would suggest otherwise - that it's more hips than feet. But I acknowledge there's a chicken and egg element: feet our of alignment will potentially prevent hips from working properly; hips not working properly can force feet out of alignment. 

 

How do you fix it? I'd say start by getting assessed to find out what's up with your body and then make it better. There we go - skiing solved! ;) Seriously though - I've seen very few perfect bodies (I mean functionally). More often than not, there are strength and flexibility differences left to right and often front to back as well. I think the left to right differences are where the performance issues come with skiing - so its somewhat biomechanics, but it's also strength. And of course conditioning comes into play as well - some people will move fine for a while, but movement doesn't break down universally with fatigue - so some movement issues that can affect turn-ability will crop up with fatigue.  Front to back differences aren't great either, but I think they are less likely to impact performance, but equally likely (as left to right differences) to result in overuse injuries. 

 

So the short answer - learn more about how you move and train to move better.

 

If you were looking for something more implementable on your own - I think including lots of single leg training into your workout programs (single leg Romanian deadlifts and split squats for instance) with a focus on form, are a great way to help remove imbalances while also developing both hip and foot stability (especially if working barefoot or in minimalist footwear). 

 

There is also some potential for upper body stuff to cause trouble as well - if your torso is rotated, or if you have spinal rotation range of motion in one direction but not the other, you may find you end up with some wacky stuff happening on the snow, but I think it's a lesser impact. 

 

Not sure if that's helpful or brings in too many new variables! 

post #16 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by evaino View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jzamp View Post
 

@evaino Great stuff! thanks for sharing!

In your opinion, are most of the limitations coming solely from the hips or are there other areas that could be a significant cause of reduced performance? And if so how would you address these?
From a biomechanics point of view, not strength, balance, conditioning, etc.

 

Hey thanks @jzamp,

 

I had to think about your q for a bit. I think it would be fair to say it's mostly hips and feet/ankles. I think the bootfitters might suggest it's more feet than hips? I would suggest otherwise - that it's more hips than feet. But I acknowledge there's a chicken and egg element: feet our of alignment will potentially prevent hips from working properly; hips not working properly can force feet out of alignment. 

 

How do you fix it? I'd say start by getting assessed to find out what's up with your body and then make it better. There we go - skiing solved! ;) Seriously though - I've seen very few perfect bodies (I mean functionally). More often than not, there are strength and flexibility differences left to right and often front to back as well. I think the left to right differences are where the performance issues come with skiing - so its somewhat biomechanics, but it's also strength. And of course conditioning comes into play as well - some people will move fine for a while, but movement doesn't break down universally with fatigue - so some movement issues that can affect turn-ability will crop up with fatigue.  Front to back differences aren't great either, but I think they are less likely to impact performance, but equally likely (as left to right differences) to result in overuse injuries. 

 

So the short answer - learn more about how you move and train to move better.

 

If you were looking for something more implementable on your own - I think including lots of single leg training into your workout programs (single leg Romanian deadlifts and split squats for instance) with a focus on form, are a great way to help remove imbalances while also developing both hip and foot stability (especially if working barefoot or in minimalist footwear). 

 

There is also some potential for upper body stuff to cause trouble as well - if your torso is rotated, or if you have spinal rotation range of motion in one direction but not the other, you may find you end up with some wacky stuff happening on the snow, but I think it's a lesser impact. 

 

Not sure if that's helpful or brings in too many new variables! 

Thank you! 
 

post #17 of 22

Good stuff Elsbeth.....

post #18 of 22
Thread Starter 

I'm just checking in to see if anyone has tried any of these and how they find them. The mini-band exercises are so easy and effective. Great to be doing in the off-season but also something to consider as part of a pre-ski morning ritual. Start at home (or the condo) with some foam rolling, a few stretches and these hip activation exercises, and then finish up on the hill with some on hill warm-up exercises like in the video below, and then finish up with a couple of easy runs. Wow, this talk of ski training is getting me excited about ski season!

 

Here's that on-hill warm-up in case you haven't seen it previously:

 

 

post #19 of 22
wondering if there is any research that substantiated the need for these stretches vs any other ones.
post #20 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rod9301 View Post

wondering if there is any research that substantiated the need for these stretches vs any other ones.

 

Unfortunately there is rarely research about very specific topics. The challenge with things like sports performance is that for research to be valid, you really need to look pretty long term, and you need to be able to isolate talent vs training vs skill training. This is true for all sports, and frankly for most training topics at all. There is research on training being done - some of it good some of it not so good, but there are so many factors it's virtually impossible to make meaningful conclusions. I was an engineer before I became a trainer, and so I'm used to the answer always being either 0 or 1, and always being provable. Not so much with the human body!

 

There is research on stretching as it pertains to performance, and both the quality of the study and the results are mixed. Some of the studies are borderline useless as they do things like testing to see if stretching reduces injuries. They do this by having a group of people either stretch or not and then perform their sport, and then they count the injuries. Since the purpose of stretching is largely acknowledged to be long term movement quality and thus also long term injury reduction, a single episode is meaningless. Not surprisingly, the result was no difference. 

 

There is some favourable research about dynamic warmups, which is what the exercises in the on-snow video are, although I don't think there is any pertaining to skiing. 

 

Definitely no research on the specific band hip activation exercises above. I'm a fan of following what the research says if there is some of quality. But in absence of that, we're stuck with what makes sense based on theory and experience.

 

What I notice with the mini-band exercises is that people's knees move better in exercises like squats and lunges. I see much less knee collapse. If a person can't stabilize in a controlled environment (a squat at the gym), odds of them being able to stabilize in a dynamic environment (skiing) is very slim.

 

For the dynamic warm-up part, all I can suggest is that you try it. Do that for a few days on snow, and try not doing it for a few days. Notice anything? Myself, my ski buddies, and those who have reported back to me have all felt the warm-up helped. I've experienced similar results personally and as a coach in ultimate as well - a good warmup does help.

 

Now on the flip side, a guy like Pavel Tsatsouline (who is awesome - a former Russian special forces instructor and creator of the Strongfirst KB certifications), says that if you need to warm-up for an activity, you're not ready for the activity. I think there's some truth to that, although I think that statement needs perspective. If you're a 25 or 30 year old member of the special forces, then your body should be such a machine that it is ready to perform at all times. But if you're a 45 year old skier with a desk job, then odds are against you that your body is ready for anything at all times without preparation. While the enemy won't wait for the special forces operative, there really is no need to go from lodge to skiing in 3.5 seconds. Unless it's a power day.

 

Elsbeth

post #21 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by evaino View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rod9301 View Post

wondering if there is any research that substantiated the need for these stretches vs any other ones.

 

Unfortunately there is rarely research about very specific topics. The challenge with things like sports performance is that for research to be valid, you really need to look pretty long term, and you need to be able to isolate talent vs training vs skill training. This is true for all sports, and frankly for most training topics at all. There is research on training being done - some of it good some of it not so good, but there are so many factors it's virtually impossible to make meaningful conclusions. I was an engineer before I became a trainer, and so I'm used to the answer always being either 0 or 1, and always being provable. Not so much with the human body!

 

There is research on stretching as it pertains to performance, and both the quality of the study and the results are mixed. Some of the studies are borderline useless as they do things like testing to see if stretching reduces injuries. They do this by having a group of people either stretch or not and then perform their sport, and then they count the injuries. Since the purpose of stretching is largely acknowledged to be long term movement quality and thus also long term injury reduction, a single episode is meaningless. Not surprisingly, the result was no difference. 

 

There is some favourable research about dynamic warmups, which is what the exercises in the on-snow video are, although I don't think there is any pertaining to skiing. 

 

Definitely no research on the specific band hip activation exercises above. I'm a fan of following what the research says if there is some of quality. But in absence of that, we're stuck with what makes sense based on theory and experience.

 

What I notice with the mini-band exercises is that people's knees move better in exercises like squats and lunges. I see much less knee collapse. If a person can't stabilize in a controlled environment (a squat at the gym), odds of them being able to stabilize in a dynamic environment (skiing) is very slim.

 

For the dynamic warm-up part, all I can suggest is that you try it. Do that for a few days on snow, and try not doing it for a few days. Notice anything? Myself, my ski buddies, and those who have reported back to me have all felt the warm-up helped. I've experienced similar results personally and as a coach in ultimate as well - a good warmup does help.

 

Now on the flip side, a guy like Pavel Tsatsouline (who is awesome - a former Russian special forces instructor and creator of the Strongfirst KB certifications), says that if you need to warm-up for an activity, you're not ready for the activity. I think there's some truth to that, although I think that statement needs perspective. If you're a 25 or 30 year old member of the special forces, then your body should be such a machine that it is ready to perform at all times. But if you're a 45 year old skier with a desk job, then odds are against you that your body is ready for anything at all times without preparation. While the enemy won't wait for the special forces operative, there really is no need to go from lodge to skiing in 3.5 seconds. Unless it's a power day.

 

Elsbeth

Great response!

post #22 of 22

Just saw this today after posting a question on Leaning.  Watched all 4 of your entries, looks good.  I have developed a new realization on these types of exercises.  Started Yoga about a month ago anb go to class once a week.  the results have been amazing and of course I am constantly correlating them to skiing.  Will try these this afternoon.  thanks for being helpful here on epic it is apppreciated.

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