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Shoulder width stance?

post #1 of 73
Thread Starter 
Occasionally we see the recommendations that a skier should adopt a shoulder width stance. I'd like to suggest that this idea has some problems because of differences in body type.

There are three major body types and each has a different shoulder width.

1) Ectomorph: shoulders that are roughly hip width.

2) Mesomorph: shoulders that are wider than the hips.

3) Endomorph: shoulders that are narrower than the hips.

If we are going to generalize a stance width perhaps focusing on hip width will yield more consistent results.
post #2 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max_501 View Post
I'd like to suggest that this idea has some problems because of differences in body type.
I think most here will agree with this. While I've heard some suggest a "shoulder width stance", most have suggested a natural stance whereas stance width would follow the width of where the legs would dangle as if hanging from a bar.
post #3 of 73
The best stance is what works. I like to talk about using a functional stance width. It will change depending on what you are doing. Shoulder width is a good way to describe it to a novice. It helps them get into a balanced athletic stance and is easy to comprehend.
post #4 of 73
I disagree with the hip width statement. I believe shoulder width is the correct stance.

I take karate and believe the same basic principles of balance and stability apply to skiing. Shoulder width is what all students are taught for the width of their stances. There are all kinds of body types that take karate and shoulder width is the stablest for all.
post #5 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coach13 View Post
most have suggested a natural stance
its funny you should mention 'natural stance' in karate natural stance is defined to be shoulder width, the most basic of all stances (consequently the most difficult)
post #6 of 73
I guess it kind of depends upon the level of the skier, doesn't it?

If a skier were a relative beginner, and the width of the (braking) wedge they used at times was shoulder width or wider, that is a possibility. For any wedge to be that wide would certainly be of that variety!

But for a intermediate or advanced skier, it seems to me that a shoulder width stance would be quite difficult to maintain or control with any degree of accuracy. And I can't say that I have heard of that being a serious suggestion, other than perhaps during an exercise or drill. Too wide of a stance can be quite limiting as to the range of movements which could be achieved from it. If other sport comparisons are done, those where any sort of impact is expected will occasionally show a wide stance. But most which are movement oriented, without the need to brace for an impact, tend to be much narrower.

Even the idea of a "hip width" is wider than I believe most skiers are comfortable in. But the width issue is one which is personal to each skier. Every person will determine where they are comfortable, based upon skill level, experience, and desired outcome. The term "functional" is useful, but it offers no parameters or guidelines to describe what is "functional". And though I can understand SureValla's idea of 'functional' in Karate, when I studied, I learned many different stances, from the wide as he has described, to 'cat stance', which is predominantly one footed and quite narrow.

I personally encourage people to ski in a somewhat narrower stance, or as narrow as the above mentioned factors allow, without ever letting the boots/feet/legs actually touch each other. For at that point, that touching become restrictive and limiting to balance, edge control and the ability to turn the legs/skis without involving the torso.

So once again, just like so much in skiing, too much or too little is not the norm or optimum, but rather effective, efficient skiing happens somewhere in the mid-range of these extremes.
post #7 of 73
Thread Starter 
If you are a mesomorph, shoulder width will put you on the big toe edges of both skis.

If you are an endomorph, shoulder width will put you on the little toe edges of the skis.

Only the ectomorph ends up with flat skis (or very close) with a shoulder stance width.

So, the idea of shoulder width produces inconsistent results.

FWIW, I agree with what VSP says above.
post #8 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by SureValla View Post
I disagree with the hip width statement. I believe shoulder width is the correct stance.

I take karate and believe the same basic principles of balance and stability apply to skiing. Shoulder width is what all students are taught for the width of their stances. There are all kinds of body types that take karate and shoulder width is the stablest for all.
I disagree that the basic principles of balance and stability in karate and skiing are the same. Skiing, especially at the upper levels, is a one-foot-balancing dominant sport. Karate is not.

Shoulder width is not the stablest stance for all people, whether it be for karate or anything else.

I'm also not sure that "hip width" (distance between the iliofemoral joints) is the correct benchmark either. Q angles, pelvic differences, gait movements, and musculoskeletal compositions will yield varying degrees of functional stance widths.

To follow VSP's concepts, I believe stance width should be naturally functional (natural to the person's own individual characteristics) as opposed to forced or contrived, and there are no set anatomical landmarks or mathematical formulas for that.
post #9 of 73
For intermediate and above, when a student is not sure, I have them stand on a flat area, have them close their eyes and jump up several times. Then have them open their eyes and look down to see how far apart their feet are.

I tell them this is a "place to start"

DC
post #10 of 73
Stance is something we've discussed much here. But worth discussing again because it's so important. I got most of my skiing balance and power from being a great ice skater. I've played hockey my entire life. To me, skis are so much like skates. And balance for me on skates while standing or gliding has my feet under my body, less than shoulder width. a good power position and balance position. Butcutting behind the net to retrieve the puck in a power/speed position would find me shoulder width little toe big toe same as skis basically. So, it varies.
post #11 of 73
Good topic Max,

I agree with your OP....except for the hips part, as by that rule, it would mean that on average, you are advocating that women should ski with a wider stance then men. I am sure thou you are not, and it was just an oversight on your part.

Everyone is built different, and as others have pointed out here, different applications, and skill levels abound....shoulder width might be ok, for a beginner, or low intermediate...but it is likely too wide for an upper intermediate, advanced skier. Conversley thou, a racer for example would likely have a stance at or around their shoulder width for most parts of their run.

The bottom line is it varies person to person, and application to application. I adjust mine as required...narrower in bumps or powder...wider for ripping high speed GS. It is key reason that you need to take any advice recieved from books or DVDs with a pinch of salt....often the advice given is for a specific scenario, and may not apply to your exact situation.
post #12 of 73
Thread Starter 
If the goal is to find a stance that yields two flat skis at neutral, then, for a given body type, if two people have different hip widths, the one with the wider hips will (on average) have the wider stance. The gender doesn't matter.
post #13 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max_501 View Post
If the goal is to find a stance that yields two flat skis at neutral, then, for a given body type, if two people have different hip widths, the one with the wider hips will (on average) have the wider stance. The gender doesn't matter.
Well it does....because women...especially those with wider hips tend to have their femurs naturally angle inwards...this is somewhat different to men. I beleive the scientific term is "Q Angle".

I am sure if you do a search on Google you will find lots of medical sites that can help you with the "birds and the bees" better then I can.
post #14 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max_501 View Post
If the goal is to find a stance that yields two flat skis at neutral, then, for a given body type, if two people have different hip widths, the one with the wider hips will (on average) have the wider stance. The gender doesn't matter.
The other flaw here is many of us don't have straight legs. some are bow legged, some are knock kneed. some actually have bends in their lower legs that result in all kinds of "unflat" skis when everything else would be neutral.

DC
post #15 of 73
Thread Starter 
If the goal is to find a neutral stance how does Q angle play as a variable? Does it mean that the person with femurs that naturally angle inwards would have to widen their natural stance to get to neutral? I'm asking here, I don't know the answer.

Shouldn't the other stuff that dchan mentioned be taken care of by alignment rather than stance width?

If you are interested in the details on Q angles:

http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Quadri...h...-a08231363
post #16 of 73
Exerpt from here: http://www.chiroweb.com/archives/21/21/02.html a bit simpler.


"Q angle" is an abbreviation for the quadriceps femoris muscle angle. In a standing position, this angle is derived by drawing a line from the anterior superior iliac spine to the center of the patella.2 A second line is drawn from the center of the patella to the tibial tubercle. The normal angle in males is 13o and 18o in females.3 (See Figure B.) This angle is increased in females due to their wider pelvis. (See Figure C.)




post #17 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Baja View Post
I disagree that the basic principles of balance and stability in karate and skiing are the same. Skiing, especially at the upper levels, is a one-foot-balancing dominant sport. Karate is not.

Shoulder width is not the stablest stance for all people, whether it be for karate or anything else.
you seem to have very little knowledge of karate. Id like to point out my instructor has only one leg. I hope this drops your karate is not a one foot dominating sport. The point is karate is balance and stability under any conditions.

What examples do you have to back up your shoulder width is not good for all people. Or are you just basing this off of what you think is good?

My data is from actually trying both and from the experience of everyone that takes my kind of karate

every single person in my karate class will disagree with you
post #18 of 73
Skiing isn't karate. You don't do karate while wearing rigid plastic boots.

I think what Max501 says is mostly right, but this is why we have a human coach. Not every skier is te same, you can't just define stance width out of the air, there are more factors than just the width of the skiers hips.
post #19 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Baja View Post
I'm also not sure that "hip width" (distance between the iliofemoral joints) is the correct benchmark either.

Baja alludes to a salient point here-what exactly are your "hips"? Ask a dozen people and you'll get a lot of differing answers. Many will point out the iliac crest along with a lot of other varying answers. So where are your "hips"? If the discussson is to proceed cogently one common, agreed upon definition would be helpful.
post #20 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max_501 View Post
If the goal is to find a neutral stance how does Q angle play as a variable? Does it mean that the person with femurs that naturally angle inwards would have to widen their natural stance to get to neutral? I'm asking here, I don't know the answer.

Shouldn't the other stuff that dchan mentioned be taken care of by alignment
If the only definition of a neutral stance were a flat ski,

This comment would be fine except if I had you stand with your feet 2ft apart, I could argue that I can make your feet stand through alignment..

I could cant/align you with your feet glued together.

"Q" angle does play a role but I believe most fitters look at the tib/fib and knees.
post #21 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikewil View Post
Baja alludes to a salient point here-what exactly are your "hips"? Ask a dozen people and you'll get a lot of differing answers. Many will point out the iliac crest along with a lot of other varying answers. So where are your "hips"? If the discussson is to proceed cogently one common, agreed upon definition would be helpful.
I would put to you that "hip width" will look and be defined differently for everyone. I think the fitters feel the front of the pelvis to find that "knob" or protruding bone for their reference point.
post #22 of 73
Unless you're talking where the feet are when we are moving, you're wrong.

Here's what I tell folks.

Outside foot somewhere outside the hip.
Inside foot (any)where it needs to be to keep you from falling over.

Think about that one for a bit....
post #23 of 73
Thread Starter 
Can you elaborate on why you like to have the outside foot on the outside of the hip?

Skidude's post above with the graphics suggest that narrower than hip width is a good place for a neutral stance.
post #24 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post
Skiing isn't karate. You don't do karate while wearing rigid plastic boots.
A) do you have any experience to back that up

B) when an attacker comes at me with my ski boots on am I supposed to say hang on i have to take these off before I defend myself?
post #25 of 73
Lets not forget that skiing is dynamic - not static. What works well when not sliding across a surface does not always deliver the same ability to balance when one starts to slide across a surface. Remember, when moving in nearly any sport we are almost never standing with both feet planted firmly on the ground in a set width apart from each other. Hockey, Soccer, Football, Tennis, Lacross, Rugby - all involve a natural stride. When making those strides we do not manipulate a width of them - we do what we need to in order to get to where we need to be. Why manipulate those strides on skis? Vail snopro's post was right on - as long as the stance is not restrictive or limiting then it should be okay - right?
Later
Greg
post #26 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max_501 View Post
Can you elaborate on why you like to have the outside foot on the outside of the hip?
That's where is has be becuase of centrifugal force.

I'm just trying to boil all of it down to something that is

1) simple
2) applies most of the time, and is
3) understandable for most folks.

Max, note my definition does not preclude a narrow stance.
post #27 of 73
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonnie View Post
That's where is has be becuase of centrifugal force.
How about at the transition (neutral)?
post #28 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max_501 View Post
How about at the transition (neutral)?
Max,

Obviously there is a moment at transition where things are "neutral". Not to belittle this, becuase I think everyone agrees that it's on of the most critical parts of the turn, but our time spent there is very small compared to the rest of the turn (microseconds). I also think most folks intrinsically understand that to go from one turn to the other things much "switch". EDIT: At the transition there isn't a great deal of centrifical force, so our feet can be more under us.

Look at the below pic of ligety from lemasters. From the frames (4/5 & 9/10) that capture the transistion, in the time between the frames the new outside foot is already outside the hip.

post #29 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonnie View Post
Here's what I tell folks.

Outside foot somewhere outside the hip.
Inside foot (any)where it needs to be to keep you from falling over.
So, basically what your instructions are aimed at is teaching the student to establish edge angles with the outside ski early in the turn (assumption). If we are talking about a low level student this will get one or possibly both skis from underneath their body, which is a big jump to make early in a skier's development. This may potentially even aid in developing outside ski balance depending on how it is presented. I'd think that the transition in this instance would "take care of itself" - and if it didn't the focus on the transition would be a separate set of instructions and a separate skill/movement to develop. Am I following your thinking correctly Lonnie?

Later

Greg
post #30 of 73
I had a coach tell us to close our eyes, jump in the air, and you will land at your natural best stance. Seems reasonable. We were quite consistant in how we landed, and there was considerable variation from skier to skier.
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