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Steering from the hips (waiststeering?)

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Rick recently made a post about steering from the hips:


This thread is so that we can discuss it technically.

Rick, is this basically the waiststeering concept you've been hinting about?

I too am a little skeptical as of right now about this concept. But I need to hear more and will have to experiment with it. My concerns would be that it would encourage skiers to over-rotate with their torso and try to pull their skiis around. Central to this technique is that we contract the muscles in our legs so that as that hips are pushed forward, the legs follow. However, what do you push AGAINST in order to turn the hips?

I need some snow to try this stuff. I would like to hear about specific reasons why you feel this technique would be superior to other steering methods such as turning the femur in the hip socket(pivoting).

ps - Please folks let's not hash out whether rotary in general is good or bad. Let's assume for this thread that rotary/pivoting to steer is desireable and we're discussing methods to do it, specifically this hip steering method suggested by Rick. Whether or not to steer the skiis has been hashed out many times already in other threads and will again I'm sure.
post #2 of 4
Here's last summer's thread for historical purposes, but we've got a lot of different people on board now, I'd like to see it discussed again (if it is waiststeering we're really talking about).
post #3 of 4

Waist Steering or ???

It could be. Reading Rick's drill it seems to me he is focusing on taking "rotary" power from the hip (outside hip of the turn to be accurate) down to the ski(s). He points out the biomechanics of using our skeletal/muscle system (including of course ligaments/tendons) of the lower body to transfer the “rotary” movement of the hip to the feet (thereby transferring a twisting force to the skis) with his static barefoot exercise.

As long as the skier uses core muscle system to drive the outside hip in a rotary motion concentrically transferring a twisting force to tipped skis letting the upper torso lag or follow I would say - sure, this IS rudimentary Waist Steering (this is only my opinion). Rick takes classic "Rotation" out of the equation here;
(Note; be careful to drive your rotation only from the outside hip. The hip is your power source, the shoulders do not assist in the creation of rotary power, they simply follow along.)

I like Rick's drill regardless of what he calls the biomechanical means to the end of the driving the hip applying rotary (twisting) power to the ski as it de-emphasizes the use of core muscle systems to get the job done. Nevertheless one must use core muscle systems to simply stand and twist the hips, even if you are swinging your hands and shoulder to do it.

My point. Try standing in an athletic stance first try twisting your hips one way or the other and see where the twisiting force originates from. Your feet? Your legs? Your shoulders? Or your core?

Clearly I’m a proponent of Waist Steering and understand how subtle it is and easily misunderstood the concept IS and can be. Like anything one can do “it” in basic form or with extreme expertise. I certainly see no harm in putting one’s focus on the subtle movements of the core muscle systems to create rotary force from the hip down to the skis while experimenting with how articulate and direct both carving and skidding skis. I can also see how focusing on core muscle groups while “trying” to apply rotary motion to the hip as a lower level skier can easily lead to misinterpretation and possibly bad habits (Upper Torso Rotation) while thinking the movement pattern is correct. Especially without supervision of a knowledgeable coach or instructor.
However, what do you push AGAINST in order to turn the hips?

A good and tricky question. Whether standing on the floor or on skis your feet are “rooted”. As with Rick’s static exercise, as you turn your hips and keep some flexion in your legs that rotary motion will be applied down to your feet in the direction of the rotary motion. If you imagine your skis tipped on edge as you make a shallow turn I’m sure you can “see” that any twisting movement that transfers to the ski/feet will be resisted by the length of platform (the skis on the snow or feet on the floor).

Next imagine what such a rotary force will cause a carving (or skidding) ski to do. The shovel will load ski will start to de-camber (reverse camber) and the ski will turn.

It is possible to apply rotary force to the hip without transferring it to the feet, however. IMO, yes. How is this done? Using the concepts of “blocking” (one muscle system opposing the other) or what is called the Serape Effect. As Rick pointed out, maintaining flexion or tension in the legs will transfer this force or power to the feet while keeping the legs relaxed (no tension or flexion) will lessen the transfer of force.

This is only my take and as usual I skip a whole bunch of explanation to try and get a few points across.

Anyway, here’s the original Waist Steering progression. Playing with these should help you explore the concepts of Waist Steering itself. You can then apply what you discover to Rick’s drill and decide for yourself how one applies rotary force (steering from the hip) from the hip to the skis.

Modern Ski Racing Progression, Level 1

Again, this is just my take.
post #4 of 4
Thanks, borntoski, for moving this discussion into a new thread.

First, let me explain that the purpose of the Waist Steering as discussed on Epic last summer was a little different from what I'm talking about here. Last summer we were examining the concept of using the power of the core to advance the outside ski through a carved arc. Here we are using that same power source to breach the carve, twist the skis and tighten the arc. Same mechanism, just a different application.

There are a few reasons I favor teaching/executing steering in this core powered manner. First, our core is very powerful. With little perceived effort we can aggressively crank the skis into a small radius turn.

We also have very fine motor control of the amount of rotary force we apply to the skis when using core power. You can see from the drills I presented that my purpose was to help the student come to recognize and capitalize on that aspect of hip/core powered steering.

And this is a very movement efficient method of steering. Everything happens internally, the only outside indication that something is taking place is the fact the skier is turning, with no visible evidence of why.

And lastly, I like hip/core powered steering because it eliminates the possibility of the upper body rotationally lagging behind the turning feet. When a student focuses on the twisting of the feet to facilitate steering the pelvis can get left behind,,, creating a state of over counter, and excessive inside ski lead. Focusing on turning the femurs in the hip sockets to facilitate steering guarantees the development of counter because the turning of the femurs within the hip sockets automatically changes the nature of the directional orientation relationship between the pelvis and the feet. Hip/core driven steering demands that pelvis/foot relationship remains intact.

As far as over rotating the torso,,, that is a big problem for many skiers. Way too many steer their turns by making a big rotary move with their upper bodies and dragging their skis into a new direction with that move. Hip/core powered steering takes the upper body out of the equation because it teaches a skier how to focus on the core, to use the core, and to let the upper body just passively follow along. Teaching the student how to isolate and operate the core is a first step in teaching this method of steering. And it's really not that hard. In fact it works so well students happily leave the torso tossing behind.

And to your other question, "what do you push against in order to turn the hips". Easy answer; The earth, through the contact to it we have with our feet.

Suggestion; you really need to play with this on snow to feel the efficiency of the mechanism. Same thing with Waist Steering during carving. (yes, I promise, I will talk about this again,,, soon) You can talk it to death, but one turn doing it on snow and suddenly understanding becomes crystal clear. Same with ILE. If you guys could have seen SCSA when I showed it to him last winter at Loveland. After a half run doing it he was absolutely giddy.
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