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hiking the hip

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
A common idea that sufaced recently in another thread involves the pelvis. By raising the inside hip (inside half of the pelvis) we can accomplish two things,
1. we can allow the inside leg more vertical room to operate.
2. we can effectively lengthen the outside leg.

Both seem to be a good thing in that they provide us with another hinge to use when we angulate. However on closer examination we would see that we are using a lateral bending of the lower region of the spine to hike the hip/pelvis. Not such a good idea if we consider the uneven loading of the disks between the vertebra. So my question would be how much do we want to use pelvic tipping and how much do we want to use flexing of the legs to create lateral angulation?
post #2 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post
However on closer examination we would see that we are using a lateral bending of the lower region of the spine to hike the hip/pelvis.
I would suggest that exactly the opposite is true. If a skier angulates the upper body from any point other than the hip joint then the movement must be from bending the spine because the spine and the pelvis are fused together.

OTOH, if the angulation is due to a rotation around the outside hip joint (see image below) the net result should be a greater ability for the pelvis and shoulders to maintain a parrallel relationship which allows the spine to maintain a straighter position.

post #3 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max_501 View Post
If a skier angulates the upper body from any point other than the hip joint then the movement must be from bending the spine because the spine and the pelvis are fused together.
But the spine goes down a little beyond the upper part of the hip joint. The lower part of the spine is located between the hips. Any lateral movement in this region causes some kind of interface with the spine. Maybe not bending it but still putting some strain on it. I can feel that when I try to stand like in the pickture.
post #4 of 20
Certainly there are many muscles in the core region that would be activated when angulating. Perhaps that is what you are feeling?
post #5 of 20
JASP

How high are you hiking the hip? Are you already angulated?

When I give that directive to students, the goal is to create hip angulation and maintain level hips. This drill/directive is something that I use to "cure" banking (cf. the overuse of inclination).
post #6 of 20
As was told to me 6-7 years ago by long term PT when I was teaching a task to him of raising the old outside hip to initiate his turns and stay tall and long, the prime mover responsible for lifting one hip is the abductors on the other side. You feel tension in the core muscles from balance needs, stabilization, and complimentary alignment of the spine.

The graphic that Max posted is accurate from my understanding, as the left hip/leg abductors will lift the right hip. Just like when walking, except in skiing we asking for greater range of motion.

I personally find it removes stress from the spine when we ask our greatest lateral separation to happen in the hip first. Lifting of the inside hip now seems to be more excepted than it used to be.
post #7 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdk6 View Post
But the spine goes down a little beyond the upper part of the hip joint. The lower part of the spine is located between the hips. Any lateral movement in this region causes some kind of interface with the spine. Maybe not bending it but still putting some strain on it. I can feel that when I try to stand like in the pickture.
To be clear, we should clarify the term "hip."

The hip joint is the articulation of the femur to the ilium portion of the pelvis... a ball and socket joint.


The sacro-iliac joints are the two posterior articulations connecting the spine to the pelvis.

The only part of the spine that is located between the hips during semi-flexion is the lower half of the sacrum... S3 and S4, and the coccyx. The 4 bones of the sacrum are fused in adults, together making the one solid sacrum bone. Since there is no movement within the sacrum itself, the only possible lateral movement in this region is between the sacrum and coccyx, a non weight-bearing joint.









To try and clarify what Max is suggesting....

Counter-balancing/angulating of the hips should be focused on the ilio-femoral joints, not the sacro-iliac joints and lower lumbar spine. By coupling this movement (angulation of the IF joints) with counter-rotation of the pelvis to the direction of the lower legs and feet (again, through the IF joints), the skier utilizes an extremely stable and efficient skeletal position to resist the accumulating forces during a turn. Weight is supported and forces are dissipated more-so through the bones and less-so through contraction of lumbo-pelvic postural muscles.

But, as JASP pointed out, lateral stress and torque in the lumbo-sacral area of the spine during skiing will lead to uneven loading (and possible shearing) of disks, facets, ligaments and tendons.

This is likely the "strain" you're feeling in your lower back, tdk6.


Hence, Max's suggestions to maximize angulation of the ilio-femoral joints, in order to minimize stress on the spine and SI joints.



Quote:
Originally Posted by RicB
As was told to me 6-7 years ago by long term PT when I was teaching a task to him of raising the old outside hip to initiate his turns and stay tall and long, the prime mover responsible for lifting one hip is the abductors on the other side.

Yes! Gluteus medius in particular:






The gluteus medius muscle contracts and helps to stabilize the pelvis when standing on one foot, thus preventing the pelvis from tilting to the unsupported side. It is a crucial muscle in our ability of bipedalism.


Hope this helps!
post #8 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Baja View Post
Hope this helps!
Oh sure, go and get all technical on us.

In all seriousness, easily one of the best posts I've read on Epic, thanks for putting it together.
post #9 of 20
Most informative Is this ski porn
post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 
Nice post Baja!
Let me add something though. even if you could isolate the angulation to the hip joint the lateral load on the spine is still present. It is these off axis loads that can be so damaging. Keeping the pelvis parallel to the snow is typically a good thing, however it is important to note that any student with lower back problems needs to discuss hip angulation with their medical professionals before exploring it's full range. Don't presume more hip angulation is safe for everyone.
post #11 of 20
jasp, assuming that a skier will employ angulation, what would you suggest in place of flexing at the hip joint (for those with lower back problems).
post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 
I wouldn't assume they can use much of it Max. Does that limit their skiing? Absolutely, but like TDK it may simply involve a different combination than we would normally prescribe. I had a student a while back who had a very limited range of movement in her hips, She didn't share the fact she had spinal stenosis and degenerative disks in her lower back. The exercise we did aggravated her back problems. Which is why I shy away from automatically assuming everyone has a healthy back and that they can perform a lot of hip angulation.
post #13 of 20
Well, that makes sense. Just not sure what the alternative is. Maybe just living with banking.
post #14 of 20
I do not find disagreement with this thread.

I will say that I consider lifting the inside hip at turn initiation to be more of an exercise and not necessarily "the way to ski". The relationship of the hips to the outside leg, which is established by lifting, needs to be present in our skiing but that relationship can be maintained or established by means other than conscious direct lifting.
post #15 of 20
Thread Starter 
I find a natual hiking develops somewhere around the middle third of a turn. Each skier has a finite range that with off snow therapy they can increase if they so desire. Present range of motion should be our guidline during a lesson though.
Beyond that they need to consult their medical professional before starting a new regmine to increase hip and lower back flexibility. For me I find that advice to be the most reasonable, especially on line.
post #16 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post
I find a natual hiking develops somewhere around the middle third of a turn.
So there's no need to teach angulation because it happens naturally?
post #17 of 20
For most skiers, angulation is FAR from natural.
post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max_501 View Post
Just not sure what the alternative is. Maybe just living with banking.
Yes, very well could be.

JASP, you are correct that any angulation at the IF joints will create lateral and torsional stresses throughout the lumbosacral spine... even that of walking. So, for people with low back/pelvic/core problems, their level of skiing and carving will be limited to their own neuromusculoskeletal biomechanics... just like any other athletic activity.


Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro

Keeping the pelvis parallel to the snow is typically a good thing, however it is important to note that any student with lower back problems needs to discuss hip angulation with their medical professionals before exploring it's full range.
Just as a side note:

It is possible that "their medical professionals" may not be the best source of information on this matter. (especially if we're talking about a primary care family doctor.)

The training in biomechanics, musculoskeletal dynamics, musculoskeletal pathology, sports medicine, PT/rehab, even spinal anatomy for most primary care MD's is less than adequate (in some cases, downright pitiful) to be discussing such things. I've seen and heard, first hand, some very incompetent (and sometimes dangerous) musculoskeletal "advice" given by some of these folks.

Thankfully, there are decent primary care MD's who recognize their level of competence and refer these matters out to another professional.


For professional advice on hip angulation and other similar movements in athletics, I recommend consulting a sports medicine specialist, chiropractor, orthopedist, PT, or a fitness trainer with advanced training in musculoskeletal anatomy and physiology. Neuromusculoskeletal training forms the foundation of their training in each field.

I would add that some osteopaths (not all) are also a good choice, since osteopathic education and specialization is similar to general medicine, in that some osteopaths can go through their entire education and training without performing even one osteopathic manipulation on a patient. Today, osteopaths can specialize through Board Certification in internal medicine, ear/nose/throat, minor surgery, etc.

For musculoskeletal advice and osteopathic manipulation, I recommend finding an "old timer" (in practice at least 30 years). In my experience and observations, they tend to be the best at hands-on osteopathic procedures... often better than the majority of chiropractors.
post #19 of 20
A bit of a sidetrack but I'd like to comment generally on hip movement, hip strength, and pelvic position. (I use the term hip in the traditional physiological meaning of ilio-femoral joint). Having gone through a hip replacement on each side I have had extensive experience with varying limitations of both hip movement and hip strength. It's pretty amazing to me how well a skier can perform on snow with such limitations and the range of speeds and terrain that can be skied with them. On the other hand it is also clear that achieving the kind of performance regularly discussed in this forum, especially in relation to flexion, counter, angulation, etc. is easily limited when the hip is not functioning at full capacity.

Another comment relates to the strengthening of the muscles that move the hip joint. It has been a revelation to me how well skiing strengthens the hip joints in ways that are not easily duplicated in other sports or the gym. The dynamic stress' that occur at the hip joint during skiing are amazingly effective in strengthening the joint. I expect that while the effectiveness of such strengthening may be proportional to the stress experienced (which in turn is related to skiing performance level), even skiing without great degrees of flexion, counter, and angulation requires constant and varying degrees of hip stabilization which has substantial strengthening effect. I suspect that hip strength may be an unrecognized limiting factor for many occasional skiers (similar to "core" strength).

Finally, I can comment on pelvic tilt and lower back. As an outcome of 2 hip replacements I now have a small leg length discrepancy of 1-1.5 cm. The natural way the body accommodates for this his by tilting the hip. Even this small degree of tilt is noticeable WHEN I think about it along with the stress it produces on the lower spine. Obviously, the degree of tilt produced in skiing can be much greater than this. The big difference between the dynamic movements in skiing are that they are (hopefully) balanced from one side to the other not producing a constant unilateral stress on the lower spine unlike a leg length discrepancy.
post #20 of 20
I'll throw a few thoughts in here:

JASP is right, if angulation is not executed properly, and/or severe angulation is needed, lateral spine articulation can occur which weakens its structural integrity, and puts the skier in at higher risk of injury. Much like knee angulation does. The answer is incorporating counter, so that so that forward flexion at the pelvis produces the lateral CM relocation needed for directing balance to the outside ski. The need for angulation intensifies as edge angles grow, thus my agreement with the JASP's mid turn angulation peak comment.

As far as keeping the pelvis level to the snow by hiking the inside hip,,, yep, good teaching suggestion, but level is not reality as edge angles grow. Striving to reach that mental objective, however, will guide the student closer to what that reality is, than where he/she is currently.

And to skiers with limited range of motion resulting from past injury. As Si said, it's easy to compensate for.

1) use proper counter
2) keep edge angles moderate, because need for angulation grows with edge angle
3) when turn shape desired is sharper than a carve can produce on a moderate edge angle, just steer.

And for everyone: do your countering from the pelvis, not by twisting the spine. Twisting creates the same misalignment issues rotationally that angulating wrong does laterally.
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