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Flex and Extend

post #1 of 112
Thread Starter 
An important movement combination to learn for advanced PMTS skiing is the flex and extend. I suspect this is also important in many other ski systems.

I've put together a picture that shows 4 sequential turns starting from an extension, then the flex to release the turn, to the next extension and so on. Notice the extended outside leg and how much I flex it at release.

BTW, I hunch my upper body a bit when I flex, this is a bad habit I'm working to break.



If you want to see an extreme example of flex and extend take a look at the pictures in this thread...Extreme Flex and Extend
post #2 of 112
Max,

I for one, am unaware of any "ski systems" except for PMTS. I would like to know more about your "flex and extend".

Could you indicate what flexing and extending is intended to do? I don't know why you would do such a thing, nevermind why the hunch is called a "bad thing" by PMTS.
post #3 of 112
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE
Could you indicate what flexing and extending is intended to do? I don't know why you would do such a thing, nevermind why the hunch is called a "bad thing" by PMTS.
Flexing (or retracting the legs) is an energy effecient way to release a turn. To release I simply relax my legs and the forces of the turn bring my COM over the skis. I can control the speed of the release (and therefore the forcefullness of it) by varying the speed of the flexing. I extend the outside leg fully to allow my bones (strong skeletal stacking) to take the majority of the forces and transfer them to the ski. In addition the extension allows a great degree of flexing when its time to release.
post #4 of 112
It looks to me than HH is hunched , as you would expect him to be, in 2,4,6,8.
I was just reading this same page in ES2.
This doesn't look new or earthshaking new evidence of new thinking. It is an accepted old school means of unloading a ski though transition to reload the skis into the turn.
Also ,this is taught as a mogul technique to absorb and then extend to keep snow contact for edge and speed control in keeping your self from becoming airborne.

I don't argue it's usefulness as I think it makes perfect sense as a varied terrain technique.

Others can argue this point as it falls back into the usual arguements
post #5 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by GarryZ
It looks to me than HH is hunched , as you would expect him to be, in 2,4,6,8.
I was just reading this same page in ES2.
This doesn't look new or earthshaking new evidence of new thinking. It is an accepted old school means of unloading a ski though transition to reload the skis into the turn.
Also ,this is taught as a mogul technique to absorb and then extend to keep snow contact for edge and speed control in keeping your self from becoming airborne.

I don't argue it's usefulness as I think it makes perfect sense as a varied terrain technique.

Others can argue this point as it falls back into the usual arguements
Garry,

Right on! Nothing new!
Looks like classic down unweighting and crossunder to me!

Although Max's stance looks pretty dang narrow!
post #6 of 112
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atomicman
Although Max's stance looks pretty dang narrow!
No doubt about it. My stance is on the narrow side.

BTW, I didn't put the picture up to demonstrate something that was new (which I thought I implied by saying it was likely important in other systems as well). I originally put it together to analyze the symmetry of my turns and I realized it was an example of flex and extend and figured it might help some skiers to see how much flex you can use to release (most skiers I see doing this use very little flex or they stay flexed all of the time).
post #7 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max_501
No doubt about it. My stance is on the narrow side.

BTW, I didn't put the picture up to demonstrate something that was new (which I thought I implied by saying it was likely important in other systems as well). I originally put it together to analyze the symmetry of my turns and I realized it was an example of flex and extend and figured it might help some skiers to see how much flex you can use to release (most skiers I see doing this use very little flex or they stay flexed all of the time).
I see it is you. cool . Your point seems to offer a tutorial about PMTS once again . You talk about the move and offer examples. The hunch is the same as you would expect still and i don't see the problem with it. HH in his book has a similar posture. To have an erect stance would not be as balanced
post #8 of 112
Hmmm... I see the others have napped out for the night, but since GarryZ is still here... might I ask why you suggest "an erect stance would not be as Balanced..."?

I would make the (perhaps unusual) suggestion that a tall stance definitely makes it easier for us to balance ourselves while moving than a flexed stance does. Also, I've personally eliminated as much 'flex & extend' from my own skiing as possible for that and for other reasons.

.ma
post #9 of 112
michael - I think garry was talking about the hunch
post #10 of 112
disski, do you know that for a fact, or is that just a ... er hunch? (heh)

.ma
post #11 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by disski
michael - I think garry was talking about the hunch
Yep , da hunch of da back was a concern of max and it shouldn't be so . Unless it stays there when he is done skiing

Erect while skiing? I guess that depends with whom I am skiing
post #12 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelA
disski, do you know that for a fact, or is that just a ... er hunch? (heh)

.ma

a hunch of course - I've skied with too many canadians
post #13 of 112
I used to hunch a bunch, right after munching lunch. It really scrunched my paunch.

I've pretty much decided to go with a 'tall' stance in most conditions and modify other things as needed to allow for the taller form. I find it way easier on me in most conditions and on most terrain. Bumps being the noted exception.

.ma
post #14 of 112
yes - the canadians and I have an agreement now that I don't do hunch or "bob"....

if they feel they want more flex/extend we talk about "long"... not "up"....

for a while there I would spend a couple of lessons learning to ski canadian and a couple more learning not to.... at least twice a season...

they gave in a bit when
a) I got sick of the whole deal and said so
and
b) one of the race guys (canadian) complained that getting his CSIA quals had stuffed up his skiing... (he had to learn to do the bob and hunch stuff for demos it seems).... as they all seemed to think he raced well they decided that maybe he was right and i could skip the bob bit as long as the rest was working ok....

so far that seems to be a workable arrangement... (especially as my most regular canadian does NOT bob or hunch when he free skis - only when doing ski school demo stuff)
post #15 of 112
Max, from my experience, I think a good segment of the skiing public are flex and extend challenged. Myself included. This is something I not only work on myself, but something I include in just about every lesson I teach.

In Psia, we call this group of movement skills "Pressure control". Personaly I find this a little lacking even though we do use these two (flexion and extention) most to do just that, we also use them to stay balanced in fore an aft plane. Maintaining our posture over our skis from front to back is so important, and requires apropriate, functional flexion and extension.

The other overlooked benefit of good continuous, functional flexion and extention, is the ability to apropiately belnd in the other skillls as needed. Just think about what the opposite of flexion and extension movements is,,,Park and ride. If we are not flexing and extending we are holding a position, and I don't know any good teacher or skier that would argue that this is a foundation to good skiiing.

One thing I look for when assessing a skier is how the lower joints (ankles knees and hips) are working together. Whether they have equal "activity" (not range of motion) or whether there is one or two that are flexing and extending more that another. The one joint that seems to be active the least in many skiers is the ankle. This is one place where the blending becomes very obvious to me. It seems much easier and more effective to use tipping movements of the foot when we also have functional ankle felxing and extending going on, keeping us balanced over our skis and actively finessing the pressure under the skis.

The next one that I find doesn't move, flex and extend, enough in an integrated and functional way are the hips. Max if you feel that you are too hunched, then maybe you could try increasing your ankle activity. Using this lower joint activity to stay balanced could help alleviate overuse in higher joints, hips. Just a thought. Personaly I don't see visiting being hunched a negative unless you live there and it is coming from a lack of activity elsewhere. Rounding the back too much of the time may a symptom of a lack of activity elsewhere too. Using the shoulders to stay balanced instead of equal activity in lower our joints.

As far as dynamic skiing goes, when I find myself not quite managing the pressure at the end of the turn effectively or not harnessing the forces effectively for my own use, it is usually because I have not been moving continuosly enough or not using my full range of motion effectively.

Flexing and extending, long and short, very important in my book. Too me, more activity usually equates to less work. Later, RicB.
post #16 of 112
It looks to me like your "hunch" is caused by lack of ankle motion. I strongly suggest that your boots are way too stiff fore and aft. Try it with your upper buckle loosened a bit -- your balance should improve. No matter what anyone says:

If you reduce the function of your legs, the ankles in particular, you will compromise your balance. IMO, HH is way off base by selling Intermediate skiers plugs.

The deep flexion that HH is showing is similar to an "Austrian turn". And he is severly hunched to compensate. The difference between you two is the depth of his squat. He goes to parallel, and you do not.
post #17 of 112
Thread Starter 
The hunching I was referring to is the rounding of my shoulders and head coming too far forward. Its an old habbit I have picked up from way too many hours in front of my computer. You can see this in frames 2 and 4. Compare this to frame 8 where my upper body comes forward but the movement is from the pelvis tilting forward rather than from the spine rounding forward.
post #18 of 112
The hunch can also be caused by improper forward lean. If you are too upright, you will not be able to get your thighs to parallel. If the lean is too far forwards, you'll be able to go WAY past parallel. You need to be able to squat to at least parallel.

You can try it at home. Put your boots on and squat down, push your arms forward to counterbalance your butt going back. If you cannot make it to parallel, the boot is too upright. By shimming under the heel, you'll be able to modify the forward lean of the shin. Add shims until you can at least go to parallel. That's the "right" forward lean for you.

Just because the trend is towards more upright boots does not mean the trend is for more upright boots to suit you.
post #19 of 112
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE
I strongly suggest that your boots are way too stiff fore and aft. Try it with your upper buckle loosened a bit -- your balance should improve.
That is an interesting observation. However, I have a long tibia so there is quite a bit of leverage on the boots. If anything my boots are on the soft side for the skiing I do. So in this case I can't blame my equipment. I just look geeky when I flex .
post #20 of 112
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE
The deep flexion that HH is showing is similar to an "Austrian turn". And he is severly hunched to compensate. The difference between you two is the depth of his squat. He goes to parallel, and you do not.
The funny thing is that I 'think' that's how deep I go, but when I see pictures I realize I still have more flex available. I suspect this happens to many others and that's why I put this up.
post #21 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max_501
The funny thing is that I 'think' that's how deep I go, but when I see pictures I realize I still have more flex available. I suspect this happens to many others and that's why I put this up.
It's not always necessary to go so low. But you are right, most folks don't move that much, yet they think they do. A rule of thumb is if an instructor can get 10% of the movement that they want in a lesson, then that was a successful lesson.:
post #22 of 112
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE
The hunch can also be caused by improper forward lean. If you are too upright, you will not be able to get your thighs to parallel. If the lean is too far forwards, you'll be able to go WAY past parallel. You need to be able to squat to at least parallel.

You can try it at home. Put your boots on and squat down, push your arms forward to counterbalance your butt going back. If you cannot make it to parallel, the boot is too upright. By shimming under the heel, you'll be able to modify the forward lean of the shin. Add shims until you can at least go to parallel. That's the "right" forward lean for you.

Just because the trend is towards more upright boots does not mean the trend is for more upright boots to suit you.
I'm not sure if this was geared torwards me or a general comment (which is interesting).

My boot setup was done by Harald Harb and I'm very pleased with the results. In my particular case I have long legs with a long tibia so I need a fairly stiff upright boot. The stiffer the better as far as I'm concerned.
post #23 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max_501
That is an interesting observation. However, I have a long tibia so there is quite a bit of leverage on the boots. If anything my boots are on the soft side for the skiing I do. So in this case I can't blame my equipment. I just look geeky when I flex .
A long tibia implies that more forwad lean in the boot is required.

My work here is done....
post #24 of 112
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE
It's not always necessary to go so low.
I agree completely. The amount of flex and extension depend on the turn and terrain.
post #25 of 112
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE
A long tibia implies that more forwad lean in the boot is required.
How do you come to that conclusion?

The longer the tibia the more leverage on the boot tongue and the farther forward the knee already is before applying any forward pressure to the tongue. Depending on boot flex I can stand in a boot (with a forward lean bias) with just bit of knee flex and my knee is already past the front of the boot. In this type of setup my quads are getting worked just standing around. No thanks.
post #26 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max_501
How do you come to that conclusion?

The longer the tibia the more leverage on the boot tongue and the farther forward the knee already is before applying any forward pressure to the tongue. Depending on boot flex I can stand in a boot (with a forward lean bias) with just bit of knee flex and my knee is already past the front of the boot. In this type of setup my quads are getting worked just standing around. No thanks.
Oops, I had an attack of dyslexia. In general, long shin mean taller boot. Long thigh means more forward lean. Sorry!!

However, in the photos you provide, it is clear to me that your hunch is compensation for a lack of movement in the legs. That lack of movement can be related to a too upright boot.

When you squat, your butt goes back and the arms/shoulders move fowards to keep your CM above the feet. What also happens is that the ankles close to maintain balance.

If the boot is TOO stiff and TOO upright, the ankles cannot close, which forces the CM to move further back and past the base of support. The compensation is excessive forward upper body movement. A sign to too stiff and too upright is you can't get to parallel while squating with your boots on in your living room. That is a very standard test for forward lean.

Max, try the test. It's harmless, and it will tell you right away if it's equipment.
post #27 of 112
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE
Max, try the test. It's harmless, and it will tell you right away if it's equipment.
Being a good sport I just went out to the garage and put my Nordica Doberman 130 boots on. I can squat down well past parallel wihout the boots soles moving one bit.
post #28 of 112
Excellent! So, the equipment may not be a problem. Try it again when the boots are frozen too.. The plastic is a tad more flexible in this heat -- it's 30+ degrees C here -- that's 86 degrees F. My boots are like butter now....

I'm actually hoping it turns out to be an equipment problem, because that's really easy to fix.

Cheers! I'm off to get some grape juice to make some wine. ( I have a cold basement...)
post #29 of 112
Thread Starter 
I'd like to bring the thread back to flexing and extending. Does anyone else have any pictures? It would be interesting to see different styles and the amount of flex and extend recreational skiers are using.
post #30 of 112
Always holding your hips back in transition is not desirable.
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