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balance vs. !BALANCE!

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

I've been skiing for over 25 years and have always thought I had a good sense of balance. But I've become good friends with someone whose balancing ability is way beyond mine. This guy can hold one ski off the snow for an extended period, and while skiing on one foot he can turn both left and right, seemingly with ease.

 

Is this a worthwhile skill I should try to develop? Will it make me a better skier? If so, is there anything I can do off the slopes to work on this? My local fitness center has a device called a BOSU Balance Trainer:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AQ4F19K

I've tried using it, and it's not easy on one foot.

 

Your thoughts and suggestions will be appreciated. Thanks!

 

John

post #2 of 29

I think one legged skiing is a fun and useful skill.  I like the Buso and think it will help your skiing both one and two legged.  I do lunges and other exercises on one and two bosu units and find them very helpful.

post #3 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnb View Post
 

I've been skiing for over 25 years and have always thought I had a good sense of balance. But I've become good friends with someone whose balancing ability is way beyond mine. This guy can hold one ski off the snow for an extended period, and while skiing on one foot he can turn both left and right, seemingly with ease.

 

Is this a worthwhile skill I should try to develop? Will it make me a better skier? If so, is there anything I can do off the slopes to work on this? My local fitness center has a device called a BOSU Balance Trainer:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AQ4F19K

I've tried using it, and it's not easy on one foot.

 

Your thoughts and suggestions will be appreciated. Thanks!

 

John


Not an instructor but had to do knee rehab a few years ago when I was over 55.  That's when I learned about the BOSU as well as other ways to improve proprioception aka balance.  I was an advanced skier who had only recently started skiing more days out west.  It definitely made a difference as I continued to work on balance.  Core strength was just as important.

 

This was the first set of BOSU exercises I found that are directly related to skiing.

 

 

Have you ever heard of the SkiA Sweetspot?  Designed to be used while wearing ski boots.  Get immediate feedback, especially on fore/aft balance.

post #4 of 29

Also NOT an instructor, but I have begun to use the BOSU ball recently at a ski conditioning class I am in. You can do a lot of different exercises on it. Its good for balance, but also for core (you can do planks, pushups and other things on it that add a balance component to core). Overall, I would say that it could greatly help your balance. Now with that being said, good balance can help you ski on one ski, but you can have good balance on dry land and not be able to ski on one ski. There would be some skiing specific balance skills that an instructor could much better address.

 

Here is another good video that I stumbled across:

 

post #5 of 29
Expert skiers can balance completely on the outside ski in all terrain. It is definitely a worthwhile skill to develop, probably the most worthwhile.
post #6 of 29

I struggled with one footed drills and skiing for a few seasons.  I'm pretty good at it now.  For me the biggest breakthrough was learning to flex and extend on one leg rather than trying to brace against it.  Strength and confidence in my ability to work one leg seem more important to me than extraordinary balancing skills.

 

If you want to crush it, practice one legged squats on the bosu.

post #7 of 29
I think your sloop has come in, johnb.
post #8 of 29

I encourage you to develop your ability to ski on one ski...both INSIDE and OUT.  Developing independence and the ability to continue your turn on either ski is an advanced skill.  Here is a link to a video featuring Sebastien Michel.  I marvel at the independence in his skiing.  At  1:14 in he begins a series of inside to inside turns.  While many continue to focus on the outside ski, I believe that what is holding many intermediate skiers back from becoming advanced skiers it that they fail to clear the inside so the outside can do its job.  Inside to inside drills really address that situation.  

post #9 of 29
My long term skiing goal is to be able to do anything I can do on two skis on one. Not just change directions but to do proper turns, be able to do pivot slips on one ski, even ski bumps.

Remember, if you can ski on two skis, you're half way there wink.gif
post #10 of 29
You should learn to use one foot/ski properly before attempting to use two.
post #11 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeluvaSkier View Post

You should learn to use one foot/ski properly before attempting to use two.

I was thinking that you should learn how to turn properly before attempting to do it on one ski.

There is a big difference between turning properly and changing direction.
post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by L&AirC View Post

I was thinking that you should learn how to turn properly before attempting to do it on one ski.

There is a big difference between turning properly and changing direction.

Turning properly, as you put it, on two weighted skis is high level technical skiing. Establish a good foundation on one foot before attempting such advanced skiing. Basics first.
post #13 of 29

We're bipeds.  This thread is about balance.  Balancing on one foot (ski) is a higher balance skill than on two for bipeds.

post #14 of 29
As a biped, my bigger balance challenge is balancing on three feet, not one biggrin.gif And I confess to difficulty balancing on two feet during bipedal ambulation -- it feels ungainly like doing a sack hop race. But I can walk for miles and miles balancing on one foot at a time. I guess I have my ancestors to blame that I didn't wind up further down the biped evolutionary ladder with intrinsic two footed balance. Thanks, Mom and Dad.
post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie View Post
 

I struggled with one footed drills and skiing for a few seasons.  I'm pretty good at it now.  For me the biggest breakthrough was learning to flex and extend on one leg rather than trying to brace against it.  Strength and confidence in my ability to work one leg seem more important to me than extraordinary balancing skills.

 

If you want to crush it, practice one legged squats on the bosu.

This is a very important point! So it needed another post/publication

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

As a biped, my bigger balance challenge is balancing on three feet, not one biggrin.gif And I confess to difficulty balancing on two feet during bipedal ambulation -- it feels ungainly like doing a sack hop race. But I can walk for miles and miles balancing on one foot at a time. I guess I have my ancestors to blame that I didn't wind up further down the biped evolutionary ladder with intrinsic two footed balance. Thanks, Mom and Dad.

 

Though I've seen little value is getting in internet debates with you, I'll add for clarity sakes so other readers understand my point and aren't distracted from what is really happening while on one ski.

 

Yes we constantly balance on one foot at a time as bipeds; walking, running, dancing and skiing.  Walking is also a controlled fall like in skiing.  If you don't think it is, try stopping when your heel is a 1/4" from striking the ground.  Once your swing foot (not sure of the terms) gets off the ground, as it gets more and more in front of you, you are falling (#4 and #5 below).

 

Walking and skiing are similar in that aspect as we are constantly transferring balance from one foot to another.  When you ski on one ski, you are no longer a biped.  There isn't another leg to catch you and our bodies are out of natural balance and we have to compensate by making positional adjustments.  In that scenario, it is more like standing on one leg than walking.  The difference between walking and standing is motion.  I understand that your body is moving, but it is more like going up an escalator or using the magic carpet in the beginners area.  There is movement, but no transfer of balance.  That is key for bipeds.

 

Can you stand on one foot for as long or as well balanced as you can on two?  How far can you walk for with just one foot?  I doubt miles and miles.  You can thank your parents for that too.  Let's pretend your legs have the strength of a WC athlete so distance/strength isn't an issue.  Do you really think it will be easier for your to travel using only your right leg and not involve your left leg at all?  How about on a bosu ball like originally mentioned.  Easier to learn starting on one leg or two?

 

I don't see how you are comparing apples to apples.

post #17 of 29

Bosu ball drill # 57

 

Flip it over and stand on it.  Get in a tuck and hold it.  Practice rocking back and forth / fore and aft.  

post #18 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:

Originally Posted by marznc View Post

 

This was the first set of BOSU exercises I found that are directly related to skiing.
 

 

 

Have you ever heard of the SkiA Sweetspot?  Designed to be used while wearing ski boots.  Get immediate feedback, especially on fore/aft balance.

 

I have seen ads for the SkiA Sweetspot and looked at their website. My initial impression is that it is much less versatile than the Bosu, but since it is specifically intended as a ski balance trainer maybe it would be a better choice for me. Since my local fitness center has a Bosu, I can use that there and also use a SkiA at home.

 

How much instructional material is supplied with either of these devices? Does either of them have a clear advantage over the other for developing better balance on skis? Thanks to ALL who have replied to this thread. Lots of good info here!

 

John

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

I have seen ads for the SkiA Sweetspot and looked at their website. My initial impression is that it is much less versatile than the Bosu, but since it is specifically intended as a ski balance trainer maybe it would be a better choice for me. Since my local fitness center has a Bosu, I can use that there and also use a SkiA at home.

 

How much instructional material is supplied with either of these devices? Does either of them have a clear advantage over the other for developing better balance on skis? Thanks to ALL who have replied to this thread. Lots of good info here!

 

John

The BOSU instructions are only related to how you blow it up.  There are lots of books that cover exercises that can be done on the BOSU or other balance tools like a wobble board.  I found The Great Balance & Stability Handbook was a good introduction to the possibilities.  Hadn't realized how much it could be used for core strengthening, which is also good for skiing.

 

The SkiA Sweetspot manual includes instructions about the setup and basic exercises.  There are videos on the website as well as other videos floating around.

 

I agree that the BOSU is a general exercise tool, not just something for ski conditioning.  It was the first item I bought for home use after starting formal PT for knee rehab.  For me, it was worth being able to do a little work every day during rehab.  I don't use it every day any more but I have no regrets at spending the money.

 

The price of the Sweetspot is about the same as perhaps two group lessons at some ski resorts, or about an hour of time in a private lesson.  Given that you live in the flatlands (correct?), might be worth investing in a tool you can use at home.  If it doesn't seem to make a difference this season, can always sell later.

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

I've been skiing for over 25 years and have always thought I had a good sense of balance. But I've become good friends with someone whose balancing ability is way beyond mine. This guy can hold one ski off the snow for an extended period, and while skiing on one foot he can turn both left and right, seemingly with ease.

 

 

His balancing ability might only be *slightly* better if his boots fit him noticeably better than yours fit you.   

If someone can ski on one foot with boots they bought online, then ... I reckon they know what they're doing. 


Edited by cantunamunch - 11/11/14 at 4:49pm
post #21 of 29

Just finished a dozen Basai Kata in a nearby parking lot, during the freezing rain, rain, sleet, freezing rain mix.  The parking lot was very slippery. It was a good balance exercise. 

post #22 of 29

I'm no coach or trainer, so take it with a grain of salt.. but I find I have balance issues as well, but for reasons other than not being able to balance..  I did ice skating from 3yrs old until 17 until i nearly ruined my knees.  Ice dancing will do that to you..  strangely enough, skiing is a lot easier on my knees than skating ever was.. even the bumps.. unfortunately it also ingrained balance issues where i can't for the life of me seem to overcome.  normally in skates I was balancing within a small area at the ball of my foot and sometime mid foot.. about 1~2" on the blade was all that was ever significantly used underfoot.  This has made it nearly impossible for me to stay forward on my ski.. i always regardless of the terrain or slope want to remain neutral.  I have to force myself to move my balance point forward and press the cuff of my boot..  which, if I were on skates would mean I'd be suddenly becoming horizontal to the ice surface.. I'd imagine people who took martial arts would have the same issue.

 

I wouldn't put too much effort into learning to balance off the slopes.. sure it will help to develop balance, but if your whole goal is to be able to ski on one foot, inside and outside edging.. then do it on the slope.. I've moved the bindings on my skis forward to account for my balance issues to ensure the ski works when I'm not focusing on staying forward.. you know.. just out having fun skiing and not working on form and skills.. static balance is way different from balancing while your moving, and different again when you need to be forward over your toes, but remain flat footed..  Also.. coming from a guy who can ski the hill on one ski.. it's all in the knee..  keep it really bent.. the deeper the knee bend, the easier it is to obtain and maintain your balance, forwards or backwards..

post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by doublediamond223 View Post

Expert skiers can balance completely on the outside ski in all terrain. It is definitely a worthwhile skill to develop, probably the most worthwhile.

True expert skiers can do it on either the inside ski or outside ski at will with equal results regardless of conditions.
post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by WheatKing View Post
 

I'm no coach or trainer, so take it with a grain of salt.. but I find I have balance issues as well, but for reasons other than not being able to balance..  I did ice skating from 3yrs old until 17 until i nearly ruined my knees.  Ice dancing will do that to you..  strangely enough, skiing is a lot easier on my knees than skating ever was.. even the bumps.. unfortunately it also ingrained balance issues where i can't for the life of me seem to overcome.  normally in skates I was balancing within a small area at the ball of my foot and sometime mid foot.. about 1~2" on the blade was all that was ever significantly used underfoot.  This has made it nearly impossible for me to stay forward on my ski.. i always regardless of the terrain or slope want to remain neutral.  I have to force myself to move my balance point forward and press the cuff of my boot..  which, if I were on skates would mean I'd be suddenly becoming horizontal to the ice surface.. I'd imagine people who took martial arts would have the same issue.

 

I wouldn't put too much effort into learning to balance off the slopes.. sure it will help to develop balance, but if your whole goal is to be able to ski on one foot, inside and outside edging.. then do it on the slope.. I've moved the bindings on my skis forward to account for my balance issues to ensure the ski works when I'm not focusing on staying forward.. you know.. just out having fun skiing and not working on form and skills.. static balance is way different from balancing while your moving, and different again when you need to be forward over your toes, but remain flat footed..  Also.. coming from a guy who can ski the hill on one ski.. it's all in the knee..  keep it really bent.. the deeper the knee bend, the easier it is to obtain and maintain your balance, forwards or backwards..

There is not reason to hang off the cuffs like you are trying to do. Under most normal circumstances it is enough to balance somewhere between the ball and heel, just like on skates. Balance is under the foot not in the cuff.

post #25 of 29

Wheatking,

Try thinking of closing your ankles (making the angle between knees-ankle-toes smaller) instead.   I know you may not have the strength to change that angle when siting on a chair wearing ski boots and just having your foot in the air, but if you try it when skiing it triggers other things, and works for some folk (me included).

post #26 of 29

Hey Wheatking, have you ever been to JH?  You sound familiar.

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

Wheatking,

Try thinking of closing your ankles (making the angle between knees-ankle-toes smaller) instead.   I know you may not have the strength to change that angle when siting on a chair wearing ski boots and just having your foot in the air, but if you try it when skiing it triggers other things, and works for some folk (me included).

 

That's kind of what i mean by on the cuff.. knees and ankles are bent maybe moving my shin forward further would be better wording.. anyways.. I manage fine.. I have to keep in mind to keep my center of mass forward of where I'd normally want to balance otherwise I end up on my heels, and well crappy skiing results.  Greens and blues are no issues, toolin around with the kids.. usually the speed is down enough that being neutral still allows you to absorb bumps and ruts and crap, it's only when it gets steep and / or fast that it becomes an issue, and by issue I mean I have to think to stay more forward.. it doesn't come naturally.  Maybe if i was skiing powder i'd be better off it wouldn't be an issue... but i'm stuck with mostly hard pack icy groomers where i live making edge pressure overly important.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie View Post
 

Hey Wheatking, have you ever been to JH?  You sound familiar.

Nope.. maybe someday

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

 

 I have to keep in mind to keep my center of mass forward of where I'd normally want to balance otherwise I end up on my heels, and well crappy skiing results.  

If you dorsiflex too much you are still on your heels, supported only by the cuff and the heels. Pretty bad for balance.

post #29 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamt View Post
There is not reason to hang off the cuffs like you are trying to do. Under most normal circumstances it is enough to balance somewhere between the ball and heel, just like on skates. Balance is under the foot not in the cuff.

 

Yeah, I reckon something is weird with his boot and binding angles.    TBH this

Quote:
I manage fine.. I have to keep in mind to keep my center of mass forward of where I'd normally want to balance otherwise I end up on my heels, and well crappy skiing results.  

 

in combination with this

Quote:
coming from a guy who can ski the hill on one ski.. it's all in the knee..  keep it really bent.. the deeper the knee bend, the easier it is to obtain and maintain your balance, 

 

and this
 

Quote:
 I have to force myself to move my balance point forward and press the cuff of my boot..  which, if I were on skates would mean I'd be suddenly becoming horizontal to the ice surface..

 

 

sounds exactly like something a nordic skier with low cut, absolutely neutral, spineless boots and zero binding ramp would say when faced with a steep downhill.

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