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Flex/extension toe side

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hola folks, 

 

I'm solidly on the strugglebus when it comes to increasing flexion on my toe side. What are your best tips/drills? 

 

I tend to "break" at the waist when cued to increase flexion on toe side, which is not effective. If I focus on not doing that and keeping my hips forward I stay very static and my range of motion is nil. Any help is appreciated! 

post #2 of 7

LP,

 

Here's the first drill I give people for toe sides. You can try this one at home. Hold your arms straight up, then turn your palms up so that they face the sky. Feel your back arch? You need that little amount of back arch for toe side turns. With the back arched, now bend your knees so that they cover your toes when you look down. You should be able to do that without your heel coming off the ground. But from that point if you bend your knees just a little more then the heels will come off the ground right away. At this point you should be able to adjust your edge angle up or down quite easily. Also note that in this position your belly button is over your toe edge. When you create a toe side edge angle with bend at the waist, the belly button stays over the middle of the board and if you create too high of an edge angle you fall over because you have no muscles that lower your edge angle. When you try this drill riding make sure you only raise your hands to the sky on toes side turns. Bring the hands back down for heel side turns. Once you get comfortable and can trust the back arch, you should be able to get the arch to happen without raising the hands up in the air.

 

Another drill is "gear shift". Pretend there is a gear shift on the nose of the board that you are controlling with your front hand. When you want to do a toe side turn, shift into 4th gear (up and to the right). As you make the shift move with your hand, also move your front knee in the same direction. If your weight is in the back seat (e.g. your front leg is straighter than your back leg, your front knee is closer to the back of the board than your front toes are), you'll find it hard to bend your front knee/ move it closer to the toe edge. When you do the gear shift move with your weight centered between the bindings, your hips and shoulders can move in the same direction as the gear shift move. This will cause the board to twist and get the nose of the board to start a nice clean toe side turn.

post #3 of 7

I choose a departure from leveraging the boot structure as the toe side base move. That move is often presented as "the" way to get on toe side, particularly by coaches who advocate more use of the upper body. In this maneuver the boot is bent to its limit and by using the boots structure the weight of the torso tips the board at the fulcrum (bypassing activity in the flexed ankle.)

 

Personally, I do not ride toe side turns in this manner. I argue that many riders who present this information as a "best practice" do not ride that way either. Often these are advanced riders. At complete collapse, the closed limit of the ankle joint, the associated muscles are less able to produce fine movements than when the ankle is flexed closer to its neutral position. I need to ride while writing this! I will check the following proposition today on the hill.

 

I propose the most powerful range of response for the ankle is that range which we use when we walk. Consider your ankle flex and its relationship to that range when you ride!

 

As an exercise to fine tune ankle movement for toe side (and heel side) turns take the board off. In a large open area (with good traction on your shoes) walk and run toe side and heel side turns. BE REAL! Go sideways, turn toe side and get on your toes while you do it. Its hard, mainly because we seldom actually walk sideways, but maintain the direction of your feet to be as they are when attached to your board.

 

The faster you "slide" sideways, the more you have to incline, angulate and flex your ankles. Without the snowboard boot structure, you can explore the range of motion in the ankle and its relation to centripetal force and their relation to inclination throughout various turn shapes and sizes and speeds.

 

When you go to the mountain, repeat the exercise inside before you boot up, again on the snow when you are booted and finally analyze your snowboarding toe side movements against those produced in my exercise. Try the movement range from the exercise in place of those your presently use.

 

Exceeding my standard walking range of flexion does happen when I err in my initial judgement and when I ride more challenging terrain. However, I when accurately used, this excessive range of motion in my ankle is mirrored by excessive flexion of my knee and hip. ie. my legs are very flexed then very extended. The useful range of motion in the ankle joint can be increased by repetitive practice. The ultimate outcome of a very flexed or very extended ankle on turns is a flatter board when more inclination is present. There is an obvious advantage to this in bumps and steeps.

 

It should be noted that inclination is controlled by the ankle joint and would therefore presume that the calf muscles must be able to support the full weight of everything above them plus the forces of the turn. It seems to me, this is most likely achieved if the muscles we call on during the turn to fine tune edge angles are closer to their "strongest" range. That range for me does not include fully flexed.

post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 


Rusty, 

 

Thanks for the response! Perhaps I misstated my goal. I'm comfortable on my toe side and want to increase my ROM and angulation. I consistently get feedback that I need to increase my flexion and extension on my toe side, and fix my tendency to break at the waist. My apologies for any confusion! 

 

When I break at the waist in an effort to increase flexion, I end up artificially holding my center of mass in a path of travel outside of what it should be (interior to the turn). I feel that because of this artificial contrivance I end up having to make an extreme counter move to fix my alignment and redistribute my weight for my heel side turn. A direct result of this is that my timing is off. A secondary result to this is that my turns are not quite even, with my toe side shorter than my heel, because I rush through the toe (since I'm out of alignment) and dump the extra pressure in my heel side turn, creating a longer, more skidded/braking shape. 

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan Davis View Post
 

I choose a departure from leveraging the boot structure as the toe side base move. That move is often presented as "the" way to get on toe side, particularly by coaches who advocate more use of the upper body. In this maneuver the boot is bent to its limit and by using the boots structure the weight of the torso tips the board at the fulcrum (bypassing activity in the flexed ankle.)

 

Personally, I do not ride toe side turns in this manner. I argue that many riders who present this information as a "best practice" do not ride that way either. Often these are advanced riders. At complete collapse, the closed limit of the ankle joint, the associated muscles are less able to produce fine movements than when the ankle is flexed closer to its neutral position. I need to ride while writing this! I will check the following proposition today on the hill.

 

I propose the most powerful range of response for the ankle is that range which we use when we walk. Consider your ankle flex and its relationship to that range when you ride!

 

As an exercise to fine tune ankle movement for toe side (and heel side) turns take the board off. In a large open area (with good traction on your shoes) walk and run toe side and heel side turns. BE REAL! Go sideways, turn toe side and get on your toes while you do it. Its hard, mainly because we seldom actually walk sideways, but maintain the direction of your feet to be as they are when attached to your board.

 

The faster you "slide" sideways, the more you have to incline, angulate and flex your ankles. Without the snowboard boot structure, you can explore the range of motion in the ankle and its relation to centripetal force and their relation to inclination throughout various turn shapes and sizes and speeds.

 

When you go to the mountain, repeat the exercise inside before you boot up, again on the snow when you are booted and finally analyze your snowboarding toe side movements against those produced in my exercise. Try the movement range from the exercise in place of those your presently use.

 

Exceeding my standard walking range of flexion does happen when I err in my initial judgement and when I ride more challenging terrain. However, I when accurately used, this excessive range of motion in my ankle is mirrored by excessive flexion of my knee and hip. ie. my legs are very flexed then very extended. The useful range of motion in the ankle joint can be increased by repetitive practice. The ultimate outcome of a very flexed or very extended ankle on turns is a flatter board when more inclination is present. There is an obvious advantage to this in bumps and steeps.

 

It should be noted that inclination is controlled by the ankle joint and would therefore presume that the calf muscles must be able to support the full weight of everything above them plus the forces of the turn. It seems to me, this is most likely achieved if the muscles we call on during the turn to fine tune edge angles are closer to their "strongest" range. That range for me does not include fully flexed.


By saying "leveraging boot structure" and "more upper body", do you mean inclinating to start a turn (instead of angulating)? I would agree that inclinating (or being most extended) through transitions is a much lower-level, static, and less dynamic turn. If you're saying angulation is the goal, I tend to agree, especially for dynamic riding. 

 

Would you say the toe side or heel side is stronger based only off of anatomical alignment? 

post #6 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by LePogue View Post
 


Rusty, 

 

Thanks for the response! Perhaps I misstated my goal. I'm comfortable on my toe side and want to increase my ROM and angulation. I consistently get feedback that I need to increase my flexion and extension on my toe side, and fix my tendency to break at the waist. My apologies for any confusion! 

 

When I break at the waist in an effort to increase flexion, I end up artificially holding my center of mass in a path of travel outside of what it should be (interior to the turn). I feel that because of this artificial contrivance I end up having to make an extreme counter move to fix my alignment and redistribute my weight for my heel side turn. A direct result of this is that my timing is off. A secondary result to this is that my turns are not quite even, with my toe side shorter than my heel, because I rush through the toe (since I'm out of alignment) and dump the extra pressure in my heel side turn, creating a longer, more skidded/braking shape. 

LP,

 

You can't just not break at the waist. Unless you want to stay on lower edge angles, you need to do something different that eliminates the need to break at the waist. If you are arching your back on toe side turns, you by definition can not be breaking forward at the waist. If you arch your back on toe sides, you enable a huge increase in ankle movement range without loss of balance because you can always de-arch to manipulate the upper body. The problem with bending forward at the waist is that once you go too high on toe edge you have no muscles to pull your upper body back and get onto a lower edge. When you ride like that, the negative feedback from tipping over causes you to implement a "buffer zone" of safety with lower edge angles. The other thing that happens is that all of your lateral edge to edge pressure control comes from movement above the waist.. This is slower and less precise than using lower body movements. The drills I've given you will increase your flexion and extension on toe sides. They will start you on the path to using lower body movements to create lateral pressure control. Aside from the obvious observation that folding at the waist does increase angulation, the angulation you are looking for will get created automatically as you keep your back straighter vertically and the higher edge angles cause the board to travel further away from the body. You will also need to lower your hips to allow the feet to get further out from underneath the body, but this is a catch 22 thing. You can't beat the catch-22 without the precise control offered by lower body movements. 

 

Without video, I'm guessing at what your problem is. But folding at the waist is a common issue on toe side turns. It's virtually automatic when lower body movements are not getting the job done. The only other reason for not being able to make lower body movement with your front foot is being in the back seat. With the front leg straighter than the back leg, you are just not going to be able to twist the board onto the new edge. If this is your problem, then you need to move your hips forward (bend the front leg, straighten the back leg) more before you start your toe side turns. The gear shift drill encourages you to do this.

 

So yes I do understand that you need to increase flexion and extension movements and angulation on your toe side turns. The question is: What changes do you need to make to allow this to happen? I've given you 2 movements that should greatly increase your ability to do what you want to do. Increasing range of motion simply through desire is something everyone can do unless there is a block that is causing the limitation. "Strugglebus" = block. We have to find those blocks and get rid of them.

post #7 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by LePogue View Post
 


By saying "leveraging boot structure" and "more upper body", do you mean inclinating to start a turn (instead of angulating)? I would agree that inclinating (or being most extended) through transitions is a much lower-level, static, and less dynamic turn. If you're saying angulation is the goal, I tend to agree, especially for dynamic riding.

 

Would you say the toe side or heel side is stronger based only off of anatomical alignment?

 

 

When approaching the limit of flexion of the ankle joint, leveraging the boot to tip the board on toe side and balancing over it I believe you are creating a lot of angles. The PSIA Alpine Technical manual defines "banking" as full body inclination without angulation. It is worth noting that this implies angulation does not preclude inclination. To turn the CM must move from the inside of one arc to the inside of the other. With our without angulation, inclination has to be present. Dynamic therefore may therefore be defined as more than creating angles.

 

Dynamic riding is repeated, perhaps continuous motion of the joints and muscles to provide a base of support maximizing the distance the equipment travels (over the surface) while minimizing the deflection of the CM off the shortest path to the intended destination. The more dynamic, the greater the difference in the two paths. I am not saying that getting off the lift and intending to ride to the lodge at the bottom of the hill means your CM follows a straight line as you make quick, tight, short radius turns is the only example of dynamic riding. That same trip with medium radius turns and large carvey turns can be dynamic. The key is the location of your "intended destination" (which may be multiple points along a large carve path to the lodge) and its relation to the CM during the trip.

 

The board shall travel beyond your CM's intended destination never allowing the CM to travel beyond that point. All things considered, being extended at transition does not mean you are not dynamic. As a matter of fact the height of the CM over the deck is not relative in this case since the CM and BOS (snowboard) should be traveling through the exact same place, the "intended destination" during transition.

 

Strong skeletal stacking can be achieved with your CM over your toes, as well as your heels. I belive that most people's quads are generally stronger than their calves. This may lend to the view that toe side is weaker.

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