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Flex and Extend - Page 2

post #31 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atomicman
Always holding your hips back in transition is not desirable.
I agree. You won't get the hips into the turn and you won't engage the tips early if you're flexed like that. There is really no point to flexing so very very low all the time. It would be senseless. Unless it's some sort of "final form" that you are trying to acheive. Or some sort of figure-skiing. "I can't believe itl The russian judge says NO!"

Flexing and the amount of flex is relevant to the intent of the skier. There is no absolute rule that says "you must go to parallel" all the time. I'd bet that parallel is the teaching target to show that the CM will move across the skis "all by itself". I can't imagine doing every turn so artificially flexed.

That being said, flexing is taught with LOTS of movement by the CSIA and the CSCF (the coaches federation). The CSCF is using the Husky Snow Stars Evaluation scale. Vertical movement (flex and extend) is their level one designation for beginning children. Movement while skiing is pretty darn critical, and vertical is by far the simplest to perform as your CM remains over your feet. The simplicity of it is why I first look for equipment problems. If it's not equipment, it's balance.

FYI: Husky Snow Stars level II is focussed on fore and aft movement, and level III on lateral movement.

So, is flex and extend important? You bet it is. And it's pretty basic. I teach flex and extend immediately to a never ever the very first time they slide down a bunny hill.
post #32 of 112
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE
You won't get the hips into the turn and you won't engage the tips early if you're flexed like that.
Err...I'm confused. Can you explain that and relate it back to the pictures so I can understand what you are saying.
post #33 of 112
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE
You won't get the hips into the turn and you won't engage the tips early if you're flexed like that.
Could you explain that quote in terms of the following sequence of frames:

post #34 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max_501
Harald Harb and Diana Rogers run camps and provide private instruction.
you may have missed my query at another thread . where do harald and diana provide private instruction?
post #35 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rusty Guy
the silence is killing me
Good
post #36 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max_501
Could you explain that quote in terms of the following sequence of frames:

http://img60.imageshack.us/img60/7819/montagepo2.jpg
Not until frame 8 is there any snow coming off the tips. If you were engaging the shovels early, you'd see the snow coming off the tips much earlier. In frame 5 it appears that your tips are actually off the snow, I'd expect them to be digging in for a short radius turn.

This set of images is not what I would expect to see for a short radius turn. These appear to be of a medium radius turn, so there is no fault or error being implied -- they are just a background for discussion.

Now one could say that the early shovel pressure requires more forwards movement of the CM than is being exhibited here, and they'd be right. Which means that holding the hips back as is shown in transition makes getting more forward a "big move".

One notion that is disseminated around here is "balance in the future" or otherwise "anticipation". If you know where you need to have pressure applied to make the desired turns, then one should strive to organize their body position above the skis to apply that pressure. Which can mean, more often than not, that the deep flex is not an optimal position.

However, it remains a necessary skill. Just not a magic bullet.
post #37 of 112
big E...

just to get this straight in my head...

Is this why the ex-WC guy I wa skiing with in Italy was so determind to get my shoulder moving forward over outside ski tip at a certain point in turn? and spent time also making me get hips foreward at initiation?
post #38 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkierSynergy
Good
ss......you guys seem somewhat reluctant to answer a simple question.
post #39 of 112
Max, I agree wiht BigE. I would just add that if you are looking for more range of motion that you look to find it in your extension and not your flex. Could it be your focus on your knee and pulling towards your chest that is keeping you from focusing on your hips opening fully in the first half of the turn? Translated to too much use and focus on the knees at the exspense of the other joints? Try making some turns focusing only on opening your hips fully. I use the sensation of stretch in my hip flexors (front of my hips) to key into to help me get fully extended and open in the hips. Only if I feel the stretch in the flexors do I know I have a fully open extended hip. There are several different focuses and exercises I use to play with this with my students.

This is a general problem with the skiing public in my opinion. We find it much easier to get short than to get long. We have other forces working with us as we get short, but getting fully extended requires that we use our own energy to get there, for the most part. This is also where our muscle imbalances show. Tight hip flexors and underconditioned or stretched out hamstrings and glutes, the hip extendors. Particularly for those who spend alot of time at a desk. This is the perfect tme of year to spend time on strengthening the hams and glutes (first) and then stretching out the flexors. Later, RicB.
post #40 of 112
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE
This set of images is not what I would expect to see for a short radius turn. These appear to be of a medium radius turn, so there is no fault or error being implied -- they are just a background for discussion.
Good call on the turn radius. As you surmised these images were taken from a series of medium radius turns.
post #41 of 112
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RicB
I use the sensation of stretch in my hip flexors (front of my hips) to key into to help me get fully extended and open in the hips. Only if I feel the stretch in the flexors do I know I have a fully open extended hip.
Are you saying you have a long extended outside leg earlier in the turn (for discussion purposes lets say 12 o'clock is uphill and 6 o'clock is downhill)? Generally I try to be fully extended by 3 o'clock. What do you shoot for?
post #42 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max_501
Are you saying you have a long extended outside leg earlier in the turn (for discussion purposes lets say 12 o'clock is uphill and 6 o'clock is downhill)? Generally I try to be fully extended by 3 o'clock. What do you shoot for?
Well it depends. If I'm trying to get really long just for an exercise purpose then it would probably come a little earlier than three and nine, more like being long from say 2-4, and 10-8. This is usually accompanied with a very flexed release and a strong reaching lateral extension. No concious up move of the CoM asociated with this. In real skiing I try to let my outside leg get long lateraly a little more progresively, but I have been playing with riding and managing more pressure a little longer through the turn (past 9 and 3) by simply slowing down the flexing or shortening of the outside leg until it has to come back under. Not park and ride, just a different rate and intensity of flex after the falline.

For the shortening of the inside leg, instead of the knee coming up towards the chest, my personal preference of a focus, and one I also introduce to my students most, is the heel drawing up towards the butt. Sometimes I also play with the feet moving away from each other. This is a good one to get the both legs into the action in a functional way, staying aligned under the hips yet both being very active long and short. One getting continually shorter as needed while the other is continuosly getting longer as needed, with the movement being coordinated and intergrated to achieve a holistic body movement.

In my experience, most of us have little trouble getting their knees active, but many, me included, need more work and focus at the feet and the hips. later, RicB.
post #43 of 112
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RicB
In my experience, most of us have little trouble getting their knees active, but many, me included, need more work and focus at the feet and the hips.
As you have probably read, in PMTS the focus starts with the feet. Never the knees.

But I'm having a hard time understanding what you are suggesting for the hips. I assumed you meant that you wanted an extended outside leg earlier but based on your last response I can see I was wrong about that.

Can you put this into different words...maybe then I'll get it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RicB
...to help me get fully extended and open in the hips
post #44 of 112
Just open your hip joint up... so it is straighter and less bent....
post #45 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by disski
big E...

just to get this straight in my head...

Is this why the ex-WC guy I was skiing with in Italy was so determind to get my shoulder moving forward over outside ski tip at a certain point in turn? and spent time also making me get hips foreward at initiation?
Are you thinking "out of the back seat and into the turn"?
post #46 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE
Are you thinking "out of the back seat and into the turn"?

I dunno Big E... Italian did not say a heap other than describing what he wanted - limited english terms means they tend to be technical/descriptive rather than use analogies etc

I never get accused of being in back seat with short turns - just not being "aggressive enough" - being scared of speed and so holding back...

the italian had me working on the shoulder over the outside ski in initiating long turns... I needed to move it maybe an inch or two... but it did make a real difference to how they felt....

then he made me do stuff with my hands on hips - pushing them forward at a certain place...(hips only).... This is like the stuff Rick wrote for me ages ago for start of season awareness stuff(so I think I'm going to revisit that)

Then we took off down the run we were using for doing short turns - no focus other than speed control to the bottom...
BAM - MASSIVE difference in short turns... and he told me that that is all I need - to make sure my HIPS move forward as we had been doing at start of turn... just too hard to think of in the shorter turn time...

Stupid - but the canadian I usually ski with had been on about extending at hips (sort of like ric B wrote) but I had no idea what he wanted or how to move.... Just was not getting it...

The italian just had me do the move with him standing still... then add it in turns at the place he said - all with hands on hips to allow me to feel movement.... then we gave my poles back - more skiing - then into short turns... NOW if I can just remember how to do it again...
post #47 of 112
Thread Starter 
RicB and BigE,

I'm having a hard time visualizing what you are suggesting. Do either of you have some frames that you could put together that would show me what you are talking about?
post #48 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max_501
As you have probably read, in PMTS the focus starts with the feet. Never the knees.
that statement seems to be a bit at odds with your original comment stating

Quote:
Originally Posted by Max_501
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 assume "relaxing your legs" involves one or both of your knees

soooooo..........does it start in the feet or is it flexing (or retracting the legs)?
post #49 of 112
Thread Starter 
My comment with regards to feet was in response to Ric's mentioning active knees. I assumed (perhaps incorrectly) he was referring to tipping when he mentioned active feet. I tip with my feet. I flex with my legs.

To release a turn I flex my legs and then I tip my inside foot while I gradually retract it to get it out of the way as my hips move into the turn. The more I tip the deeper my hips flow into the turn.
post #50 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max_501
As you have probably read, in PMTS the focus starts with the feet. Never the knees.

But I'm having a hard time understanding what you are suggesting for the hips. I assumed you meant that you wanted an extended outside leg earlier but based on your last response I can see I was wrong about that.

Can you put this into different words...maybe then I'll get it.
Max, I'm just cueing off of you saying that you think about pulling the knee towards your chest as you collapse your inside leg, and what I see in your photos.

In those photos I never see the hips open up fully (extended), yet you speak of a long outside leg. If the hips never open up fully but you straighten your knee/leg, then your hips will still be behind the feet and you will hunch the shoulders forward to stay balanced. If you want your back more upright you will have to open your hips more, extend them.

And I was refering to the foot flexing(ankle), as in dorsi/plantar flexing. Even when we want our movements to start in a particular part of the body, the other moveable joints have a huge impact on how effective these "primary movements" are. In my opinion the ankles knes and hips need to flex in harmony, meaning the movements need to be integrated and corordinated to achieve not only extension and flexion, but to also maintain our balance and posture. We flex and extend with our ankles knees and hips.

I understand that you want the movements of the feet to drive the "complimentary/supporting" movements, but do you think this will happen in the very same way in everyone? Aren't there differences in body muscluature, connective tissue, and range of motion issues that we all bring to the snow that require us to look beyond the feet for our individual recruitment patterns in our kinetic chain to have the effect we desire?

You also said that you are hunched over a computer too much, caudsing you problems in your back. This tells me that you may have the issues from this in your hips as well. A very common side effect of too much time at a desk, if one doesn't deliberately and EFFECTIVELY work to compensate for these body imbalances. This seemed to be a concern to you.

What I believe is that "the movements we wat to get out of our body are the movements we need to put into our body". I also think that is very hard for us to be effective at 100% of our range of motion, so it would be good for us to work beyond the range we think we might need, so that we have the usable range when we need it. Core stability balanced by functional mobility.

Max please don't take this as being picked on, as this is the farthest thing from my mind. Later, RicB.
post #51 of 112
Disski,

It's just good skiing. Pressuring the shovels will help start the ski turning, and getting the shoulders over the tips and hips into the turn is definately going to do that...
post #52 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by RicB
I understand that you want the movements of the feet to drive the "complimentary/supporting" movements, but do you think this will happen in the very same way in everyone? Aren't there differences in body muscluature, connective tissue, and range of motion issues that we all bring to the snow that require us to look beyond the feet for our individual recruitment patterns in our kinetic chain to have the effect we desire?
IMO, the movements of the feet initiate the movements of the upper body via the "Kinetic Chain". Ugh what a term. How about:

Movements of the feet are transmitted to the upper body via functional tension.

That means a number of things. Key item is that there is a definate intent for the upper body to move when we tip at the ankles -- and there must be! One has to realize that even though "the ankle bone's connected to the shin bone, the shin bone's connected to the thigh bone and the thigh bones connected to the hip bone" the opening of the ankle is NOT going to cause the opening of the hip. You need to do that to organize/align your body above the platform that you created when you tipped the skis.

If there is one mantra I prefer over all it's "open the hip". It's totally irrelevant if you tip first with the feet if you don't open the hip. It does more than increase range of motion, it:

1) aligns the body in a strong position over the feet
2) moves the CM forwards to enhance turn initiation
3) increases extension ( improving pressure control --flexing )
4) provides maximum turn forces to develop
5) is more efficient in use of the musculature (stacking)

Don't get me wrong, tip all you like at the ankles. Just make sure that you don't forget one reason why you are initiating by tipping -- it's to provide a target for the movement of the upper body.

Functional tension is the "secret sauce". It's what transmits the movement from ankle to CM. Imagine your body as a whip. If the whip is stiff, you get no crack. If the whip is too supple you get no crack. If the whip has just the right tension, then you'll get a huge effect just by flicking your wrist. Well if the body is the whip, then the ankle is the wrist, and it is up to you to provide the right amount of tension so that the whip is functional.

Many examples from lemaster. Look at the path of the CM and the level of extension in this short turn. The flex here is clearly to absorb the virtual bump, else he's way past the gate when he lands....

http://www.ronlemaster.com/images/la...2004-sl-1.html

It's not restricted to short turns:

http://www.ronlemaster.com/images/la...004-gs-2A.html

The hunch is purely gate avoidance. Again, look at the path of the upper body and the opening of the hip.

Check out the extension on the first blue gate from the top, and how open the hip is....

http://www.ronlemaster.com/images/20...oden-gs-1.html

Countless examples on lemasters site.
post #53 of 112
Thread Starter 
Do you guys have any non WC pictures of visual examples of what you are suggesting? Something more recreational?

Also, is the open hip a straight leg or is it a straight upper body?
post #54 of 112
Max,

Sorry, I have no recreational images.

I think the first set of images is the best. Look how long he is at the gate. It is not just leg length is it?

Remember what your teacher said? "I ski best when I'm trying to keep the CM ahead of the feet through the turn." That's not a primary movement.

Max, I don't think that PMTS demands you RESTRICT your movements. It just wants you to START them a certain way.
post #55 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max_501
Also, is the open hip a straight leg or is it a straight upper body?
Max the hip is the connection between the pelvis, spine, and upperbody and the femurs, and as such has an efect in both directions. You can still have some curvature in the spine, a rounded back, and have open hips but remeber that anything moving too far forward will have to have something moving back to balance out, and vice versa. So too much upper body rounding (hunching) will force the butt back, just as the butt being back can force the shoulders forward. This is why we need all of the lower joints working together so we can flex and extend in our corridor of effectiveness over our feet. Reduce the movement in any one lower joint and we find ourselves moving out of that corridor of effectiveness, and the result will be extraneous compensatory moves to make up for this lack of coordinated joint movement.

Sometimes a simple way to achieve an effective upperbody posture is too lengthen the neck tuck the chin slightly back and level the pelvis fore and aft, by sucking the belly button gently towards the spine. These two will lengthen the spine and force good upperbody alignment over the feet and legs. Good posture never hurts as a starting point. Then ski this way slowly dialing up the dynamics and intensity. See if those movements at the feet don't become more natural and efficient.

A kinetic chain is only as strong as it's weakest link. later, RicB.
post #56 of 112
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the additional detail. Its been an interesting discussion.

The turns I took these images from were some deep flex drills we were doing at the PMTS Race Camp. When I was doing these I was sure I was parallel. Obviously I still have more flex available.
post #57 of 112
Bife wrote:
"If there is one mantra I prefer over all it's "open the hip". It's totally irrelevant if you tip first with the feet if you don't open the hip. It does more than increase range of motion, it:

1) aligns the body in a strong position over the feet
2) moves the CM forwards to enhance turn initiation
3) increases extension ( improving pressure control --flexing )
4) provides maximum turn forces to develop
5) is more efficient in use of the musculature (stacking)

Don't get me wrong, tip all you like at the ankles. Just make sure that you don't forget one reason why you are initiating by tipping -- it's to provide a target for the movement of the upper body.

Functional tension is the "secret sauce"...........


Great post-can you desribe further what you mean by: 1 "Open the hip" and 2, "functional tension"
THANKS
post #58 of 112
Sure,

Open the hip : stand as you would in a balanced athletic stance, knees bent, equal pressure along the bottoms of your feet. Now without altering ankle flex, open the hip and knee. (closing the hip would be bowing) You should feel the pressure move to the ball of the foot as you upper body moves forwards.

Functional tension has been talked to death around here. A search works great.

What it is: Muscular tension that is in balance that enables movement.
What it is not: a "grit your teeth" contraction that stops the world.

It is not so loose the external forces overwhelm your intent -- but just enough.

Normally, folks talk about it when they talk about "activating the core". And that is certainly where you'll see a lot of bang for your buck. But that is not the only place:

eg. Try guessing the weight fruit at the grocery store. What do you do? You gently grip the item, and move your arm up and down. What not to do? Put a strangle-hold the item and keep it immobile. Heck, when you do that, your are not even certain where the item is in relation to yor body -- it will virtually disappear.

Similarly to skiing, you can overload your bodies ability to tell where your arms and legs are. What generally happens is that muscles over-contract and movements cease -- the dreaded park and ride defensive "stop going that way" move.

The notion of a "kinetic chain" is that there is a path along which a movement can be allowed to propogate. The key is to hold the musculature in sufficient tension allow that propogation. Not too much though, or you don't move.

You may be surprised to find the level of muscular tension is actually lower than you've been using. This will work best if you are not in the back seat, and nicely aligned. Hence...... "open the hip".
post #59 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max_501
Thanks for the additional detail. Its been an interesting discussion.

The turns I took these images from were some deep flex drills we were doing at the PMTS Race Camp. When I was doing these I was sure I was parallel. Obviously I still have more flex available.
Max, one should do the drill and get to parallel. One should try squats in the off-season to learn what parallel feels like. Then one should realize the intent of such a deep flex is to absorb a large virtual bump, like in the James Cochran image.

Going deep all the time is just an affectation.

Aside: I think it's hilarious that you did it at a race camp, but want to see recreational images of the move! I don't think you will find such images since the virtual bump is not that big for rec skiers. I also don't think it's your inability to squat.

I think you've flexed sufficiently for the amount of rebound energy in the turn that you need to dissipate. You won't go deep if there is not alot -- there is no need for it. So, what you need to do is generate HIGHER rebound forces, which as RicB says, requires more extension with more commitment of the CM earlier into the turn. Believe it or not, Inside Leg Extension is a perfect way to learn just how to that.
post #60 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE
Disski,

It's just good skiing. Pressuring the shovels will help start the ski turning, and getting the shoulders over the tips and hips into the turn is definately going to do that...

yes - it helps all sorts of stuff when i learn to do these things...

but - is it related to what we are(were) discussing?

Is the driving forward of my hips from opening of hip joint? or have i got it wrong? and is it to get earlier engagement of tips that I do these things?
I need to be more sure of this - as i said the italian did not talk a lot about technical stuff - but more about what i was doing and needed to do... I am trying to connect the "feel and do" with the "thinking" part of me... if that makes sense...

(I also spent quite a bit of time trying to get the counter right - to learn to feel for what was needed more...rather than attempting to reach for positions... but it did not seem connected to this- that is good skiing too yes?)
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