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KISS Class meets here - Page 3

post #61 of 97
If you always flex your knees a lot, you're using the thigh muscles to resist the forces in skiing. If the legs are more straight, more of the forces are borne by the bones. You get less muscle fatigue that way.
post #62 of 97
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson
If you always flex your knees a lot, you're using the thigh muscles to resist the forces in skiing. If the legs are more straight, more of the forces are borne by the bones. You get less muscle fatigue that way.
Now I'm confused.

I was told that my legs are too straight. So I loosened them up a little, and now I'm not so straight up and down.

So now I have to straighten up again? : : How much flex is too much? Not enough?

I see pictures of people skiing well, and I'm nowhere near that flexed....yet. Should I stay more like I am? I'm skiing with less fatigue now more than ever, but I just attribute it to better boots (more comfort, more responsive than the sloppy old ones).
post #63 of 97
EEEEK! Time out!

Let's try a simple analogy first. Stand up and hold your arm straight out parallel to the floor. Easy, huh. Now hold it there for 10 minutes. Not going to fall for that one, eh? Ok, how about holding your arm at your side for 10 minutes. Piece of cake. The latter is a crude example of stacking, while the former is an example of using your muscles.

Now you absolutely must bend your legs while skiing to use them as shock absorbers. But to the extent that you do, you're using muscle power. So in your "neutral" stance you want to be as tall as you can be without locking your legs stiff so that can absorb when you need to. The taller you are and the more you resist bending movements without being stiff, the more efficient you are. That's an oversimplification, but hopefully it's less confusing.
post #64 of 97
Bonni,
Stacking the bones is just a phrase. Taken literally we would not see much bending anywhere in the body. Or we would see a big pile of bones. Try the following activity to really isolate and identify the difference.
Go for a short walk (pun intended) croutched down as low as you can get.
Since the skeleton is bent the muscles bear most of the weight and they tire quickly. Running in this position would be difficult.
Contrast that with a taller walking position. The skeleton is able to do most of the weight bearing, so the muscles are not as actively involved. Fatigue occurs much later and our balancing takes less effort.
post #65 of 97
Bonnni,

To get a feel for "stacking" vs "muscles", try this with your skis and boots on:

1. Bend your knees and hips only, like sitting in a chair. This is a position using "muscles". You'll find that you probably can't hold that position for very long because your muscles will tire.

2. Now try bending your ankles first, until you're leaning waaay forward (again, "muscles"). Now, keeping your ankles comfortably flexed, "settle" by bending your knees and hips also into comfortably flexed positions. This is "stacking" with your bones and joints supporting your weight. You'll find that you can stay in this position for long periods of time without tiring.

One of our goals in modern skiing is to spend as much time as possible with our body in strong and efficient "stacked" positions throughout the turn.
post #66 of 97
One thing that is being overlooked in this discussion of skiing skeletal is the effect that continuos movement has on our efficiency and effectiveness. In Jasp's dryland walking drill you might find that walking crouched really causes the body to hold positions, and the movement gets jerky or has big starts ans stops in it. Our skiing will have the same result.

I get the feeling Bonni, that you may be thinking of positions rather than movements, so maybe you should try skiing from your old lower position, to your new taller position, in each and every turn. Try starting the turn low, then move up into your new taller posture in the middle of the turn, and then slowly collapse down into your old low posture at the end of the turn. The idea is to keep the movement constant and slow. More movement like this will ussually equate to much less effort in our skiing. This is also a great way to allow our skiing movements to help us keep the bucket level and move it from side to side. We can blend in all the nessasary and different ingredients or movements as we need too wihtout starts and stops.

Just like mixing cookie ingredients wiht a mixer. If the mixer is stoped, then we will have to turn it on every time we want to add another ingredient. Same in skiing. If every time we want to blend in a different movement we are holding a static (stoped) position, then we will need to release the muscle tension that is holding our position before we can then start things up for our new ingredient.

When we are constantly moving in our skiing, we are using opposing muscle groups together effectively. Like we do when we walk normaly. One of these opposing muscles is always moving in a direction that is usable for blending in a new movement. Like the shock absorption that Jasp spoke of, or the hip/core movements needed to keep the bucket level. Later, RicB.
post #67 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by therusty
EEEEK! Time out!

Let's try a simple analogy first. Stand up and hold your arm straight out parallel to the floor. Easy, huh. Now hold it there for 10 minutes. Not going to fall for that one, eh? Ok, how about holding your arm at your side for 10 minutes. Piece of cake. The latter is a crude example of stacking, while the former is an example of using your muscles.
.
Lie on the floor, with one arm pointing straight up in the air. Relax the muscles in the arm so that you are keeping the arm upright by balancing it. That's stacking.

Contrast to holding your arm up at an angle. That's muscular support.
post #68 of 97
much better example - thanks
post #69 of 97
ok i'll try again . angulation is best used at ankles through the hips. but knee retraction is best used sparingly and angulation can be best met by pressing ankle to front and side of boot and angulating hip while keeping upper body quiet and faced in general direction of turn . not direction of skis. like the diagram that shows a semi circle showing path of skis and line showing path af cm in psia literature. using too much knee angulation or flex is not good use of energy . it can be used up. keeping some flex in knee is good as you are not stiff and over extended but have some in reserve to use to adapt to terrain and using some for retraction beginning into transition is expected. am i making any progress here?i am not making a statement of advice but a declaration of my simple understanding
post #70 of 97
Fun stuff here.

1. I do not have the sense of angulation for counter-balancing as much as we used to. My friend Bruce Bowlin gave me the best explanation when I was asking him why riders angulate on a dirt motorcycle, but usually not on a street bike. His answer was that you angulate (level the shoulders, keep the torso vertical, or even tip the torso to the outside) when you feel as though the vehicle (the ski, or the bike) might slip sideways. In this way, you are prepared to balance with the sideways drift of the skis. It's moving the torso in the direction of anticipated travel (sideways) of the skis--preparing to keep the water in the bucket as you drift.

2. As for stacking, that's a simplified way of saying that you're more efficient with you balance more on your skeleton than in your muscles. I don't find it so useful, because it seems a static analogy. Bonni, since you like analogies, try this one: The body should work like a spring that starts, say at the feet and goes up to the top of the neck. All those bounces out there in the snow can be managed by the spring IF the spring is aligned and resilient. If the butt is back, you've bent your spring and it won't move smoothly. Same thing if you bend your knees and not your ankles--only part of the spring is working. If you crouch down too far, you've bottomed out on the spring and you lose the resiliency. If you stretch to your full height, you've topped out the spring and, again, you have no resiliency. Notice also, that the more you compress the spring, the more tension it builds, while the more you extend it the less tension it has. As a skier you want to keep your spring/body aligned (not a bent spring), and resilient and active (not a "sprung" spring). In the diamond, that I work with, this is one of the fundamental principles of Power (technique).

I know this was long, but I don't think it's too techy. Bust me if you do, and apologies in advance. Actually, what do I care? It was you that ran over the Bunny! (inside joke--maybe Bonni will post it in the humor section)
post #71 of 97
Thread Starter 

Look who I ran into today:



Happy Easter, Everybody!
post #72 of 97
Thread Starter 
Seriously, thanks for the 'pictures' of stacking. It's becoming a little more clear.

When I see people skiing totally squatting, I feel that has to be uncomfortable. Likewise, standing too tall doesn't give you a lot of room for shock absorbing. Skiing like a piston.....up and down......would give you resting time in between movements, wouldn't it.

The Spring idea makes a lot of sense, so does RicB's whole post. To sum up: A little dab'll do ya.

I want to thank everyone for keeping this thread SIMPLE. I enjoy reading this because it isn't too complicated for my little pea brain, and I am having FUN with this. Ya'll make it happen.:
post #73 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by GarryZ
ok i'll try again . angulation is best used at ankles through the hips. but knee retraction is best used sparingly and angulation can be best met by pressing ankle to front and side of boot and angulating hip while keeping upper body quiet and faced in general direction of turn . not direction of skis. like the diagram that shows a semi circle showing path of skis and line showing path af cm in psia literature. using too much knee angulation or flex is not good use of energy . it can be used up. keeping some flex in knee is good as you are not stiff and over extended but have some in reserve to use to adapt to terrain and using some for retraction beginning into transition is expected. am i making any progress here?i am not making a statement of advice but a declaration of my simple understanding
i'm hoping someone will let me know if i am on the right track. the wording is hard to follow sometimes and i am plodding my way through it
post #74 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bonni


Happy Easter, Everybody!
post #75 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by GarryZ
i'm hoping someone will let me know if i am on the right track. the wording is hard to follow sometimes and i am plodding my way through it
I'd say generally you get it, but I don't think of angulation happening so much at the ankle. There are people who use the word angulation to refer to the angle of the edge to the slope. Others refer to angulation as creating an angle between two axes of the the body (lower leg and upper leg creates knee angulation, angle at hip created between upper leg and torso, etc.) for whatever purpose (lateral balancing, etc.). I'm one of the "others" so I don't think of angulation happening in the ankles--mainly because of the boots. This isn't to say that I don't use my ankles, but that's not an angulation move in my awareness.

Ooops. This is getting complex now. Sorry Bonni.

Hey Bonni, your piston analogy is right on. And you're correct that too squatted, and too tall really lock out performance.
post #76 of 97
Thread Starter 
Now we're getting somewhere. I love simple.

I'm going to be really busy pretty soon, but I'll try to stay up on this. You guys are great.
post #77 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by GarryZ
ok i'll try again . angulation is best used at ankles through the hips. but knee retraction is best used sparingly and angulation can be best met by pressing ankle to front and side of boot and angulating hip while keeping upper body quiet and faced in general direction of turn . not direction of skis. like the diagram that shows a semi circle showing path of skis and line showing path af cm in psia literature. using too much knee angulation or flex is not good use of energy . it can be used up. keeping some flex in knee is good as you are not stiff and over extended but have some in reserve to use to adapt to terrain and using some for retraction beginning into transition is expected. am i making any progress here?i am not making a statement of advice but a declaration of my simple understanding
I think of angulation for edging purposes as a whole-body activity that begins in the feet (below the ankles) and goes up the chain of joints. Weems's description covers the topic for me in the KISS mode.

I'm not sure what you mean by knee retraction, so I don't know how it applies.

There are plenty of occasions when your most useful angulating might involve the torso being square with the skis.

The PSIA literature showing the torso's path inside the path of the skis is a good thought. Look at Bob Barnes's illustrations of wedge, basic parallel and dynamic parallel turns with the torso's path shown in relation to the path of the skis at: http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=7969
post #78 of 97
i was referring about when you have bent knees and flexed thighs that you use up your energy too soon and was experimenting with stacking. i can feel the effects of doing it properly and the opposite. when i encountered heavy snow i used too much knee action and tired the muscles and it took away from what i needed to finish my day. i was so wore out. part of it was how i was adapting to the heavy snow and if i used my muscles better i would have plenty left.
post #79 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by weems
I'd say generally you get it, but I don't think of angulation happening so much at the ankle. There are people who use the word angulation to refer to the angle of the edge to the slope. Others refer to angulation as creating an angle between two axes of the the body (lower leg and upper leg creates knee angulation, angle at hip created between upper leg and torso, etc.) for whatever purpose (lateral balancing, etc.). I'm one of the "others" so I don't think of angulation happening in the ankles--mainly because of the boots. This isn't to say that I don't use my ankles, but that's not an angulation move in my awareness.

Ooops. This is getting complex now. Sorry Bonni.

Hey Bonni, your piston analogy is right on. And you're correct that too squatted, and too tall really lock out performance.
i am going to the book store. i downloaded the first part of your book book earlier and i think it is a good time to get the hardcopy and get into it.can it be ordered directly onlne through you?
post #80 of 97
Thank you, Garry. Online is the only place to get it right now, unless you're in Aspen. We're into stealth marketing!

www.edgechange.com

I don't discount the printed version because the ebook price has been so low and I've given so many away.
post #81 of 97
Squatting down is not work if there's no load on the legs. Same with extending. You can squat down at the end of the turn and move down the hill and extend straightening up the legs into the next turn, still moving down the hill, with very little force, and look like you are working hard, without working up too much of a sweat.
post #82 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost
Squatting down is not work if there's no load on the legs. Same with extending. You can squat down at the end of the turn and move down the hill and extend straightening up the legs into the next turn, still moving down the hill, with very little force, and look like you are working hard, without working up too much of a sweat.
This is true, and this squat is a normal position to pass through during the edge change. And it is not work as long as you're passing through it.

I think, though, that Bonni is referring to people who ski around in a constant crouch and therefore DO load the legs, or those that ski rigidly erect and also kind of roast themselves that way.

I think the difference is one of rigid, positional skiing versus dynamic flowing movements.
post #83 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bonni
Now I'm confused.

I was told that my legs are too straight. So I loosened them up a little, and now I'm not so straight up and down.

So now I have to straighten up again? : : How much flex is too much? Not enough?
From what I understand of the term "stacking", it means standing up straight with your centre of gravity over your feet, but relaxed, i.e. with no joints locked - hence your knees for example will by definition be slightly bent so they're ready to absorb any shocks (undulations underfoot) but your basic line (if you imagine a matchstick man) would be straight-ish like standing rather than square-ish like sitting. Does that make any sense?

I'm all im favour of your KISS campaign, Bonni! Personally I have a total mental block on the term "flex". It's not a word that's normally in my vocabulary - except as a cable on an electrical appliance or in the phrase "flexing your muscles", which I've always taken to mean stretching. So I always have to translate the word "flex" and work out whether the person using it means bend or extend. If it means "bend", why not just say "bend"?! "Bend ze knees" actually begins to make some sense then LOL
eng
post #84 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost
Squatting down is not work if there's no load on the legs. Same with extending. You can squat down at the end of the turn and move down the hill and extend straightening up the legs into the next turn, still moving down the hill, with very little force, and look like you are working hard, without working up too much of a sweat.
This is one of the things we've been doing this season on bumps, extending down not up. I liken it to "stepping" down the mountain
post #85 of 97
I'm told by the biomechanics people that a joint can't bend, but rather the accurate and acceptable term is flex (the opposite of extend). I could care less as long as I know what you mean. However, if you tell me you are flexing a muscle, I nor most Americans will understand that as a stretch. I think most of us will see that as "shorten" or tense a muscle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eng_ch
From what I understand of the term "stacking", it means standing up straight with your centre of gravity over your feet, but relaxed, i.e. with no joints locked - hence your knees for example will by definition be slightly bent so they're ready to absorb any shocks (undulations underfoot) but your basic line (if you imagine a matchstick man) would be straight-ish like standing rather than square-ish like sitting. Does that make any sense?

I'm all im favour of your KISS campaign, Bonni! Personally I have a total mental block on the term "flex". It's not a word that's normally in my vocabulary - except as a cable on an electrical appliance or in the phrase "flexing your muscles", which I've always taken to mean stretching. So I always have to translate the word "flex" and work out whether the person using it means bend or extend. If it means "bend", why not just say "bend"?! "Bend ze knees" actually begins to make some sense then LOL
eng
post #86 of 97
Flexing a joint means moving the bones on either side of the joint closer together. Flexing the knee brings the bones of the lower leg closer to the thigh bone.

Extending a joint means just the oposite. Moving the bones on either side farther away from each other.

I also think it is important to keep in mind that the muscles are working as we flex and allow the leg to get shorter as we move from turn to turn. They are just doing less work than the forces acting on us. We have been resisting and/or overpowering up to this point, but we don't just quit working at this point, we deliberately reduce our effort and allow the forces to overpower us in a very controled manner. Understanding, feeling, and controling this is huge, me thinks. Later, RicB.
post #87 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by RicB
Flexing a joint means moving the bones on either side of the joint closer together. Flexing the knee brings the bones of the lower leg closer to the thigh bone.

Extending a joint means just the oposite. Moving the bones on either side farther away from each other.

I also think it is important to keep in mind that the muscles are working as we flex and allow the leg to get shorter as we move from turn to turn. They are just doing less work than the forces acting on us. We have been resisting and/or overpowering up to this point, but we don't just quit working at this point, we deliberately reduce our effort and allow the forces to overpower us in a very controled manner. Understanding, feeling, and controling this is huge, me thinks. Later, RicB.
Me thinks dat, too.
post #88 of 97
Bonni--

here's a thought. Stand up. Don't lock your knees, but don't worry about the crouching athletic stuff--too easy to overdue and too good an excuse for wearing yourself out skiing in the crouch.

To quote weems, "Stand tall. Skiers have a tendency to crouch . . . as they search for muscles to crank with. But doing so will wear you out after one run, and you will be forced to spend the rest of the day skulking in the hot tub, waiting for your friends come back and tell heroic tales . . . . Instead of crouching, [acquire] a tall elegant stance. (There is an exception for very long-legged skiers. If you get too tall, you may interfer with migratory birds . . . [stay] slightly flexed." p.77 of Brilliant Skiing.

He's actually talking about skiing in powder at that particular point in the book, but it is generally applicable. I think "slightly flexed" means, don't lock up--not at the hips (which that passage is focused on and is certainly relevant to angulation), but also not at the knees, etc.
post #89 of 97
Thread Starter 
Ok. Now I understand Flex. Before, as Eng Ch said, it wasn't clear what flex meant.

I can generally ski most all of the day without being too burnt out, but then again, I'm only on easier stuff. By easier, Eastern hardpack is easy to ski now, but I get about 4 inches of stuff and I flounder all over the place.

What I'd like to get into next is any condition OTHER than groomed. Start a new KISS thread?
post #90 of 97
If I think about it I know what flex means and I take the point about it not actually being a bend in biomechanical terms - although it most certainly is in common parlance (at least on our side of the pond). However - and this is the big thing - for me the word flex doesn't work because it simply takes me too long to think about and to remember which way it means but "bend", however inaccurate, does work for me. If I know instantly what you mean by "bend" yet it takes my mind over a minute to get from the word "flex" via "it's the opposite of extend" to the actual movement, that's a minute of lesson wasted. It's me, I know it's me, I just have a mental block on it. I suspect the reason is that "flex your muscles", IME in the UK, is used almost exclusively in a figurative sense to mean simply exercising your power. So I have a mental image of this big beefy guy in tiny swimming trunks stretching out his arm AND folding it up to bulge up his biceps, you know, typical muscle man pose? Which typically is an extended position
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