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A different twist on rotation - Page 3

post #61 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by RicB View Post
Michaela, I would counter that in your round house bale toss, that the core serves to transmit the energy that is coming from your legs hips and waist. That the movement doesn't originate in the core but is expressed and accelerated by the core, the trunk, shoulders, and of course the arms.


If you don't believe RicB, just try to through a ball, swing a bat or toss a bale without using your legs and hips.
post #62 of 83
Then... you're also suggesting that it's absolutely impossible for a person in a wheelchair to swing a bat or to toss a bail of hay as I've described above (assuming the wheels were locked in place)?

I think you're splitting a few hares here (a mean thing to do with bunnies).

We skiers are largely in control of our own movements and can activate some areas more powerfully than others by choice. Does this mean we utterly disconnect, lock-up or silence the involvement of the less-involved areas? I doubt it, nor does it matter to what is being described.

As to which specific muscles/joints actually 'originate' this cascade series - I don't think this really matters since so many other coordinated elements are simultaneous. The issue here is where (by choice) our 'steering power' primarily comes from: Muscles primarily rotating Hip Joints or muscles primarily rotating the pelvis.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
So, if femur rotation is a necessity for steering, you're screwed. If not, no problem.
Yep. Can't tell you how many times a clinician has told me to, "Turn you legs from your hips more!" When I finally get tired of hearing it and clearly demonstrate that my own legs don't turn that far they just shake their head and say, "You just need to practice it more!" :
(But I've recently discovered a good cheat: Adducted Boots )

.ma
post #63 of 83
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelA View Post

Yep. Can't tell you how many times a clinician has told me to, "Turn you legs from your hips more!" When I finally get tired of hearing it and clearly demonstrate that my own legs don't turn that far they just shake their head and say, "You just need to practice it more!" :
(But I've recently discovered a good cheat: Adducted Boots )

.ma

Michael, next time a clinician tells you that, ask him for what purpose? What shortcoming will it help overcome? My suspicion is you won't get much more out of her than, "to overcome your lack of femur rotation in your hip sockets". So often models are followed for the purpose of following models, with no thought as to why the current model should be considered the best, and the specific technical reasons behind that declaration.
post #64 of 83
Heh, heh - actually they just say, "...because yer not doi'in it!"

I strongly suspect too many of us look only for visual forms that conform well to the cosmetic patterns we've convinced ourselves to believe are 'right' simply because they are geometrically convenient or are easy to rationalize with simplistic (though inaccurate) mechanical explanations.

People can gripe all they want about EpicSki but at least it's a place where anyone can gripe at status quo ideas and present alternatives.

.ma
post #65 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelA View Post
Then... you're also suggesting that it's absolutely impossible for a person in a wheelchair to swing a bat or to toss a bail of hay as I've described above (assuming the wheels were locked in place)?

I think you're splitting a few hares here (a mean thing to do with bunnies).

We skiers are largely in control of our own movements and can activate some areas more powerfully than others by choice. Does this mean we utterly disconnect, lock-up or silence the involvement of the less-involved areas? I doubt it, nor does it matter to what is being described.

As to which specific muscles/joints actually 'originate' this cascade series - I don't think this really matters since so many other coordinated elements are simultaneous. The issue here is where (by choice) our 'steering power' primarily comes from: Muscles primarily rotating Hip Joints or muscles primarily rotating the pelvis.


Yep. Can't tell you how many times a clinician has told me to, "Turn you legs from your hips more!" When I finally get tired of hearing it and clearly demonstrate that my own legs don't turn that far they just shake their head and say, "You just need to practice it more!" :
(But I've recently discovered a good cheat: Adducted Boots )

.ma
Well MichaelA, you'll get no argument from about delivering energy down from the waist to the skis. We can move this energy up or down depending on what we want to accomplish, but how best to do this and what the involvement of the legs is where we find our difference I guess.

Lets take your wheel chair scenerio. The body will adapt for sure, but who can generate anywhere near the power they generate swinging a bat or tossing a bale when they utilize whole body integration including the legs and hips, as opposed to sitting in a wheel chair and have no use of their legs? I think the answer is obvious.

For me tense and rigid will always interfere with transmission of energy. functional tension is where I want to be to allow smooth transmission of energy. We tend to only talk of functional tension with respect to the core and abdomen, but this idea should also transfer to the entire body, including the hips. Make the hip joint rigid, and you will interfere and degrade the transfer of energy down to the feet and skis. This isn't a RicB thing or a psia thing, it a centuries old internal martial arts thing. Maintaining elasticity and movement in the hips socket is the surest way to send the energy down with integrity and control. In my mind it is the acceleration and/or deceleration of the movement you speak of in the pelvis that allow smooth integration and application of the energy being generated from above. Splitting hairs? Maybe, but I think it stands on it's own merit.

For an analogy of energy movement in the body, and think of the ripples that move outward after dropping a stone in the water as energy. They will smoothly move out across the water until they reach their destination of the shore. now think of the effect a rigid board floating in the water will have on those ripples. This will interfere and degrade the energy in the ripples. The board is akin to rigid tension in the body. Rigid tension in the body will degrade and interfere with the smooth transmission of energy through the body in the same way. A concept commonly misunderstood.

And Michael, you just might have tight hips, and you might benefit from off snow exercises that will open them up, increasing their range of motion. If you frequently use up your range of motion in your hips while skiing then you may be developing unwanted tension in the body. Those clinicians may just have a valid point, whether or not the whys they offer up makes any sense.

The greater Seattle area offers many opportunities to delve into tai chi chaun. Why not give it a try, especially since you are so tuned into your waist and the energy available there to you. Just my little plug for a highly underrated art.
post #66 of 83
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RicB View Post

And Michael, you just might have tight hips, and you might benefit from off snow exercises that will open them up, increasing their range of motion. If you frequently use up your range of motion in your hips while skiing then you may be developing unwanted tension in the body. Those clinicians may just have a valid point, whether or not the whys they offer up makes any sense.

Hi Ric, been reading your posts in this thread with interest. I completely agree with your contentions on the importance of the legs in generating and transferring steering power to the skis. Whether the focus of power generation is the core or the legs (and from personal experience, the sensation is very different, even if the results are necessarily not), the legs are the mandatory transfer agent of that power.

The topic I'm raising here is on the options we have in regard to how independently or cooperatively the legs and hips rotate. If you rotate your femurs in your hip sockets you create counter. That's a given. So then, how much must you rotate the femurs in the hip sockets to steer, leaving the pelvis rotationally behind?

If completely, in as the pelvis would remain facing the same direction it was at the start of the turn, before steering commenced, then at a point range of motion would reach an end, and no more rotation of femurs in hip sockets would be possible. What happens then? If femur rotation in the hip sockets is necessary to steer, does steering come to a halt? This is the situation Michael has to deal with, and it's obviously why he has gravitated to the concept of using his core to steer. Obviously, femur rotation in the hip socket is NOT necessary to steer, or the amount everyone could steer at turn would be limited to their own individual range of motion available in the femur/hip joint.

So the real question is how much IS necessary, and how much is ideal? Simple dryland test exercises will demonstrate that femur rotation in hip sockets while steering can run the gamut from total to none. So, really, it's up to the skier to choose what degree of femur/hip rotation will best serve the particular turn and performance desire. As creation of counter is the result of femur rotation in the hip socket, determination of how much of it to do will/should hover around how much counter is needed to serve each particular turn and purpose.

At this point, a productive and valuable discussion would be to focus on how one would make that determination. In the highlighted portion of your quote above, yes, you're right, the clinician may have a point. But it's also very possible that he/she may not, and is simply promoting a technical theme de jour without fully understanding the whys, or if the advice is truly appropriate to promote the most efficient manner of accomplishing a particular task. Only via the evaluation of how much counter is needed, where it is needed, if pivoting is sought, etc, can a legitimate assertion be made on the validity of their point.
post #67 of 83
Quote:
The topic I'm raising here is on the options we have in regard to how independently or cooperatively the legs and hips rotate. If you rotate your femurs in your hip sockets you create counter. That's a given. So then, how much must you rotate the femurs in the hip sockets to steer, leaving the pelvis rotationally behind?

If completely, in as the pelvis would remain facing the same direction it was at the start of the turn, before steering commenced, then at a point range of motion would reach an end, and no more rotation of femurs in hip sockets would be possible. What happens then? If femur rotation in the hip sockets is necessary to steer, does steering come to a halt? This is the situation Michael has to deal with, and it's obviously why he has gravitated to the concept of using his core to steer. Obviously, femur rotation in the hip socket is NOT necessary to steer, or the amount everyone could steer at turn would be limited to their own individual range of motion available in the femur/hip joint.
And what about if not we don't completely use our range of motion Rick? Is it really nessessary to use up our range of motion to "steer from a traditional" point of view? I question the whole premise that steering only happens when the pelvis is left behind and we use up our whole range of motion.

My point all along (not sure I was very effective at making it), has been that we need femur rotation, and/or involvment for the vast majority of effective applications of steering. That even in core down influenced steering, the hips joints are involved and we are really talking about matters of degrees and not a black and white on or off. And that we might be better served by moving away from the idea that steering has both hips moving the same speed and direction till we can't move the legs under the pelvis any further.

I would also say that what we think is isolated feet/leg steering also has the pelvis and the core involved, and that all of us utilize complimentary movements of the pelvis and spine in a coordinated and integrated manner to accomplish and round out the needed forces and movements. And in my view, that feeling of difference can be very misleading, and is not always a true representation of what is taking place. this was brought home to me long ago by a very experienced PT who pointed out to me that what I was describing to him as his abdominal muscles lifting his inside hip was actually his outside hip abductors doing the lifting.

this feeling of difference in our abdominal muscles between Say WS and femur rotation assisted by spine rotation may be nothing more than the recruitment from one side to the other. One way is pulling the spine in the direction of the turn, the latter is pulling the spine in the opposite direction of the turn.

So how much is needed? Hell I don't know, as it all depends on what I want accomplish tacticly and what I'm dealing with as far conditions and terrain. What I will say is that I rarely use my full range of motion in my femurs or my spine. That my most effective steering is done by controling the rate and intensity of my movements, coupled with active involvement of my core. And to me it really doesn't matter whether it is top down or bottom up. If I just fire of the movements with no sense of D.I. R. T. then I will get myself into an compromised situation. Moving out of and into square positions to me is all about the moving, and not about a position, and utilizing power and developing energy from my movements to direct to my skis doesn't need to be about the speed of the movements or how I take them if I'm harnessing my internal power.

Every turn has us moving into and out of some degree of counter. Many never slow it down and develope a sense of awareness or finesse with these movements to really get the most out of them. so ski square, ski fully countered, and then ski every rate and intensity of movement that takes between these two extremes and then play the movements independently from side to side. Really there is no limits of what you can explore. Change the yout timing of reversing your counter through your turns. My guess would be that the more awareness we develope in the waist and hip/leg area, the more we will find ourselves utilizing subtle and not so subtle femur movements. Just not always in the same amount of direction. I will say that my tai chi training has had huge impact on my understanding and awareness. But it doesn't happen over night.
post #68 of 83
Thread Starter 
Ric, just to be sure you understand, this thread is not really about using the core vs using the legs to steer. It really makes little difference which is the focus power generator when steering. Turns of very high quality and efficiency can be produced using either. Core usage skills are an important area of skiing,,, but it is only one of many. The topic here truly was/is the integration of steering and counter creation via femur hip socket (FHS) rotation.

You are very correct that the amount of FHS rotation can be limited during the turn, such that as the turn commenses, the pelvis can to a large degree follow along. This is very much the point I've been trying to promote now that I've started to share my thinking here in the thread. In fact, I'm also saying that FHS rotation can be halted once the needed or desired amount of counter has been achieved. That halt can come at any point during the turn, or FHS rotation not even start at all, and the amount of counter used is up to the skier. The following paragraph of yours states it very well:

Quote:
Every turn has us moving into and out of some degree of counter. Many never slow it down and develope a sense of awareness or finesse with these movements to really get the most out of them. so ski square, ski fully countered, and then ski every rate and intensity of movement that takes between these two extremes and then play the movements independently from side to side. Really there is no limits of what you can explore. Change the yout timing of reversing your counter through your turns. My guess would be that the more awareness we develope in the waist and hip/leg area, the more we will find ourselves utilizing subtle and not so subtle femur movements. Just not always in the same amount of direction. I will say that my tai chi training has had huge impact on my understanding and awareness. But it doesn't happen over night.
The portion I bolded is so true, and such an important course for developing the skills and awareness needed in high level skiing. And all the options you list are possible.
post #69 of 83
I understand Rick. Put simply like that, I have agreed all along. But it doesn't do justice to the mechanism involved and can very well lead to misunderstandings of the mechanisms involved. IMHO.

So a question. For how long do you feel that you can halt rotation of both femurs (no movement) and still continue to steer with the waist?
post #70 of 83
First....now that I finally undestand what you are getting at...GREAT TOPIC! I have been wanting to discuss this concept for a long while now...but had no idea how to put into words...(clearly I am not the only one)....but I think I understand where you are coming from now.

First point:

You seem to be carrying an invalid assumption......femur rotation, especially at turn intiation happens in isolation....that fact is, the hips do come around as well...this is not to say the effort is driven from the hip thou.....

Exhibit A:

Attachment 3263




This is not new, or limited to extreme racing...the concept is one of foot placement...AND anticipation of the edge egadement. On the CSIA level 4 there is entire exam maneouver dedicated to this...the treaded "parallel with traverse"....

Hence in a modern steered turn...where...and I will go out on a limb here and say that the bulk of the pivoting is done at the top of the turn...and then you can see with Bode here, the hip placement...you have steered alot...but also, almost in a way "re-set" yourself....this is why good skiers never run out of "femur rotation room".

How much do you need? Well that is obviously turn specific.


Second point:

Warren Whithrel in the Athletic Skier wrote about pivoting an edged ski to "steer". His idea was that it would be impossible to actually rotate the femur...but the effort was at least very real, and that effort did apply pressure to the ski tip, which helped tighten the arc.

FWIW:

I have discussed this idea with lots of pros over the years....and I have come to the conclusion that on modern skis the effect is not really worth pursuing, and you are better to focus on increasing edge angles.
525x525px-LL-vbattach3263.jpg
post #71 of 83
Skidude, I don't know who you are speaking to, but I totally agree with the statement that femur rotation does not happen in isolation, and neither does steering from the waist. As well I draw a distinction between maintaining a desired amount of pelvis orientation or counter, versus stopping rotational femur movement. What happens when we want to tip the skis further on edge and the femur has been stopped from rotating? When we are focused on "maintaining" pelvis orientation we have the ability to instantly add to or subtract from this orientation on the fly as well as control our tipping on the fly.
post #72 of 83
Quote:
First....now that I finally undestand what you are getting at...GREAT TOPIC! I have been wanting to discuss this concept for a long while now...but had no idea how to put into words...(clearly I am not the only one)....but I think I understand where you are coming from now. -SkiDude72
Please do share with the class about this!

Ok I've read a lot on this thread a while ago and got a headache. I believe I've had my head in the freezer long enough to join in. Lot of good stuff here but I think y'all are gettin' a little too hung up on dem muscles.

Since the thread is about steering and femurs it might be best to go back to those two instead of what muscle groups one should engage.

In terms of "not moving the femurs" perhaps there should be a distinction of significant rotation or minor "secondary rotation". For example, sitting in this chair legs at roughly 90 degrees, I rotate my feet inward and outward. My tibia moves, probably the fibula, and I can feel the femur in the hip socket do something. Is it rotating or moving in or out? Not sure. This would be a "minor" rotation though if it's rotating. Does that count as rotation of the femurs?

When one flexes the leg, are we considering that movement of the femur in the hip socket rotation? I take it not.

Quote:
I use the term steering angle as the angle between the direction the skis are pointing and the direction of travel. It is important to realize that the direction of travel is not necessarily the direction in which you are facing.

When you overpressure the tips so that the tails break away, and a steering angle is created. It is not necessary for the femurs to rotate in the hip socket to create this steering angle -- the whole body rotates to stay square to the skis; the body continues to faces the direction that the skis are pointing.

It is possible to add to the rotation of the entire body in this "oversquare" position by using pole movement and hyper engaged core to drag the outside of the body further around it's rotational axis. Some may say that this pole movement is a sophisticated way to hide a "thrown shoulder".BigE
So BigE's talking about steering with fore/aft movement such as in doing a falling leaf drill.
What about steering with just the feet? One can initiate a 360 on snow just by tipping one foot and then following it with the body. I usually do it tipping to little toe side, then the forebody of the ski is steered around and subtle movements of the feet keep it going. There will be rotation of the femurs but if you follow with the pelvis, won't it be minor?

You're going straight downhill. Now inclinate to the left and skis will tip and start turning. You could then adjust fore/aft pressure to adjust turn shape. I doubt that would have much "quality" steering to it though.

Tipping the feet will rotate the femurs some. Does that count as rotation?

One could tip the feet and start a steering force and follow that with the pelvis so that femur rotation will be minimal. Is this not full body rotation into the turn which happens everyday all over the place?

Quote:
Warren Whithrel in the Athletic Skier wrote about pivoting an edged ski to "steer". His idea was that it would be impossible to actually rotate the femur...but the effort was at least very real, and that effort did apply pressure to the ski tip, which helped tighten the arc.

FWIW:
I have discussed this idea with lots of pros over the years....and I have come to the conclusion that on modern skis the effect is not really worth pursuing, and you are better to focus on increasing edge angles. -SkiDude
Brought this up in that other steering thread. It's an interesting topic. Perhaps this is an area where the stabilizing effect of various muscle groups could be explored but I don't know about that.

Is it not related to counter where the outside foot is subtley rotated a bit downward at the heel and supposedly stablizes the foot/ski?
Would be good to discuss the purpose of counter but frankly I need help here.
Feel free to incinerate any of the following points and make a good bonfire:

Some say that it's used to increase edge angle on the outside ski but I believe it actually has somewhat of the opposite effect - it tends to invert the foot and reduce edge angle. This effect may be small and the effect of stabilizing the foot - from slight rotation down at heel, may compensate.

It does perhaps put your outside leg in a more powerful position and align the knee a little better with the force from the ski.

It puts you in a better position to get into the next turn. Though one could perhaps just use the torso and hold the pelvis more square. I belive pelvis would move a bit anyway.

Conscious counter can stop the dreaded full body rotation.
post #73 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by medmarkco View Post
If ...

Steering is deinfined as "to guide or direct the course of"
and
Quality is defined as "inherent or distinguishing quality"
and
Rotation is defined as "movement within the socket"

Then .... yes, rotation is required.

Stated another way, could a person direct the course of his/her skis in an inherently functional way with "pinned" hip sockets (ie. incapable of rotational movement in any direction). ... No.
I guess the key concept here is "quality steering" becuase I am in agreement/ Leg rotation within the sockets is essential to quality steering and that consequently it is essential to learn leg rotation skills to develop advanced skiing skills.

Nonetheless I feel obliged to cite the example of Bob Briggs the fellow who was first to ski the Grand Teton. Many of you may have seen the poster with the aerial photograph showing the tracks left by that amazing descent which I think may have required a short rappel. It is my understanding that he has or had one fused hip joint thus only one functioning hip joint.
post #74 of 83
RicB,

As stated many times above I too think real-world skiers use coordinated rotation of the femurs as well as core muscle. No one has suggested (let alone advocated) "locking up the hip/leg and pelvis" or holding anything "tense and rigid" as you seem to be arguing against.

I have tried to descriptively isolate each area of movement to better identify and describe the patterns proposed but it's a mischaracterization to reinterpret my descriptions into an advocacy for rigid or locked components. There will always be practical coordination between core and hips when skiing. Is it possible to get more power by adding the assistance of more muscles from other components...? Of course.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RicB
Lets take your wheel chair scenario. The body will adapt for sure, but who can generate anywhere near the power they generate swinging a bat or tossing a bale when they utilize whole body integration including the legs and hips, as opposed to sitting in a wheel chair and have no use of their legs? I think the answer is obvious.
The wheelchair example is only intended to make it clear that we don't require the involvement of our legs to create rotational force and movement. The relevance is that we can create a significant rotational force without hip involvement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RicB
For me tense and rigid will always interfere with transmission of energy.
Again, No one has suggested any joint be "Tense and Rigid". No doubt we all agree that being tense and rigid would be unhelpful in nearly all skiing patterns.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RicB
Make the hip joint rigid, and you will interfere and degrade the transfer of energy down to the feet and skis.
Aside from no one advocating rigid anything, in the literal sense this statement is mechanically untrue. A Rigid Object does in fact 'transmit energy' more efficiently through itself better than a flexible, deformable or 'slightly tensioned' object. (further explanation below)


Quote:
Originally Posted by RicB
For an analogy of energy movement in the body, and think of the ripples that move outward after dropping a stone in the water as energy. They will smoothly move out across the water until they reach their destination of the shore. now think of the effect a rigid board floating in the water will have on those ripples. This will interfere and degrade the energy in the ripples. The board is akin to rigid tension in the body. Rigid tension in the body will degrade and interfere with the smooth transmission of energy through the body in the same way. A concept commonly misunderstood.
I suspect your energy transmission idea is misapplied.

While a board in the water will interfere with the original wave pattern on the surface of a pond a closer look at the water just beyond the board will reveal that the transmission of 'power' through the rigid board is much faster and just as powerful.

When the first ripple hits the leading end of the board an impulse will travel to the other end of the board almost immediately because the board is rigid. This impulse of force will show up at the other end to immediately cause a new ripple to appear long before the original traveling ripple reaches that end of the board. No 'energy' is actually lost overall - though we might accurately say energy is lost to the original ripples as the board redirects parts of the original energy wave.

Long ago I found the whole idea of "transmitting energy through the body" as expressed in martial arts writing to be too Metaphysical for my taste when examined in light of mechanical realities. I simply don't believe a skier is ever trying to "transmit energy around their body" and consider such mystical descriptions to be an inaccurate way to talk about standard structural mechanics, force creation and dissipation, leverage and other more genuinely descriptive and useful ideas.


Quote:
Originally Posted by RicB
And Michael, you just might have tight hips, and you might benefit from off snow exercises that will open them up, increasing their range of motion. If you frequently use up your range of motion in your hips while skiing then you may be developing unwanted tension in the body. Those clinicians may just have a valid point, whether or not the whys they offer up makes any sense.
True in a way. A person who recognizes that I'm not turning my legs as far as is normal (for others) has made an accurate observation. It's their analysis of underlying cause and their prescription(s) that are generally inaccurate. If a person can only twist a leg so far, then insisting that they twist it further to be 'done right' is pointless.

I've been trying to improve my own range of motion for at least eight years with little success. A far easier (and faster) solution was to simply adapt to my available resources and make use of a very practical alternative - core and waist. It's an alternative that many others offhandedly reject solely because their own bodies accommodate other methods they themselves have become skilled at using.



If we genuinely want to help our students I think we should focus on training them to use the resources they themselves have available rather than trying to impose techniques that rely (perhaps exclusively) on our own bio-mechanical resources. I can show a student 'my way' and when it fails, tell them to "just keep practicing" until someday it may work for them (it wont) -or- I can look at the individual resources they bring to the table and show them an alternative movement pattern that will immediately work for them even if it's not necessarily ideal for others.

In the end, I don't believe instructors have a valid point when they insist on patterns that simply do not (and will not) work for that particular student. Instead I think such instructors are simply not up to speed on mechanical and bio-mechanical realities or are not willing to examine other possibilities. This is not to say they're bad people, don't mean well or are incompetent - just that they're not looking deeply enough at the situation before coming to an unyielding opinion about it.

.ma
post #75 of 83
Skidude72,

Ironic that you should pick Bode since it was observing his movement patterns that caused the 'waiststeering' technique to be examined and officially documented in the first place.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidude72
You seem to be carrying an invalid assumption......femur rotation, especially at turn initiation happens in isolation....that fact is, the hips do come around as well...this is not to say the effort is driven from the hip thou.....
I'm not sure who you are pointing out as having an invalid assumption but most of us are in agreement that femur rotation probably never happens in true isolation - including at turn entry. The only purpose for which I've used the word "isolation" above was to help direct attention to specific components and their own movements.

I strongly suspect most skiers activate rotational core muscles at turn entry - but in the opposite direction of the new turn.

We passively (or actively) twist our pelvis in the opposite direction our skis are beginning to turn to permit (or create) counter and to assist the creation of femur angles to the new outside. This may be a slight pelvic rotation or it may be a large rotation depending on technique in use and turn intent. The idea of 'skiing into counter' suggests passive rotation and 'creating early counter' suggests active rotation.

.ma
post #76 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelA View Post
RicB,

As stated many times above I too think real-world skiers use coordinated rotation of the femurs as well as core muscle. No one has suggested (let alone advocated) "locking up the hip/leg and pelvis" or holding anything "tense and rigid" as you seem to be arguing against.

I have tried to descriptively isolate each area of movement to better identify and describe the patterns proposed but it's a mischaracterization to reinterpret my descriptions into an advocacy for rigid or locked components. There will always be practical coordination between core and hips when skiing. Is it possible to get more power by adding the assistance of more muscles from other components...? Of course.
Well consciously keeping both femurs from rotating while trying to steer the skis from further up the chain would translate to rigid hips in my book. Otherwise I think that we would have some natural movement in the hips. I think this is an important distinction, as I explain further down.


Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelA View Post
The wheelchair example is only intended to make it clear that we don't require the involvement of our legs to create rotational force and movement. The relevance is that we can create a significant rotational force without hip involvement.



Again, No one has suggested any joint be "Tense and Rigid". No doubt we all agree that being tense and rigid would be unhelpful in nearly all skiing patterns.



Aside from no one advocating rigid anything, in the literal sense this statement is mechanically untrue. A Rigid Object does in fact 'transmit energy' more efficiently through itself better than a flexible, deformable or 'slightly tensioned' object. (further explanation below)

I can see we aren't going to agree here Michael. I was in a clinic with Charlie MacCarthy (spelling) where he demonstrated just this very concept on me and actually had the entire group partner up and try it on each other. It was with an exercise called straight arm. This was a rigid arm versus an arm held straight as the partner pulled down on it at teh elbow, with the idea of energy projection through it as we wiggled our fingers. Guess which one resisted the most pull? The rigid arm lost every time. If you ever tried partner work and push hands tai chi exercises you would find this out as well. I think the difference here is that with our body we aren't talking about rigid objects but soft tissue. Also we have the difference between concentric and eccentric contraction. The latter allows elasticity and subtle control of movement, yet still generates greater resistance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelA View Post
I suspect your energy transmission idea is misapplied.

While a board in the water will interfere with the original wave pattern on the surface of a pond a closer look at the water just beyond the board will reveal that the transmission of 'power' through the rigid board is much faster and just as powerful.

When the first ripple hits the leading end of the board an impulse will travel to the other end of the board almost immediately because the board is rigid. This impulse of force will show up at the other end to immediately cause a new ripple to appear long before the original traveling ripple reaches that end of the board. No 'energy' is actually lost overall - though we might accurately say energy is lost to the original ripples as the board redirects parts of the original energy wave.

Long ago I found the whole idea of "transmitting energy through the body" as expressed in martial arts writing to be too Metaphysical for my taste when examined in light of mechanical realities. I simply don't believe a skier is ever trying to "transmit energy around their body" and consider such mystical descriptions to be an inaccurate way to talk about standard structural mechanics, force creation and dissipation, leverage and other more genuinely descriptive and useful ideas.
Isn't steering simply one part of our body generating energy (force) that is transmitted through the body to the part of the body that is closest to the skis? Isn't it our muscles that not only generates the energy (force), but also transmits the energy (force) down through the body? This is where tenseness and rigidity interferes (read parts consciously kept from moving). This is where alignment enters into the equation as well. For optimal alignment and posture minimize tension and maximize “force creation and dissipation, leverage”.

Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelA View Post
True in a way. A person who recognizes that I'm not turning my legs as far as is normal (for others) has made an accurate observation. It's their analysis of underlying cause and their prescription(s) that are generally inaccurate. If a person can only twist a leg so far, then insisting that they twist it further to be 'done right' is pointless.

I've been trying to improve my own range of motion for at least eight years with little success. A far easier (and faster) solution was to simply adapt to my available resources and make use of a very practical alternative - core and waist. It's an alternative that many others offhandedly reject solely because their own bodies accommodate other methods they themselves have become skilled at using.
I tend to agree with you here Michael. Our technique should fit our fitness level. A good instructor will encourage and as well may help guide a student to better functional fitness. What I will say is that the only way to increase our range of motion is to use it. I think there are better ways to accomplish this than on the snow, but it can be increased by pushing our limits on the snow as well if it is done in a deliberate and controlled manner.


Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelA View Post
If we genuinely want to help our students I think we should focus on training them to use the resources they themselves have available rather than trying to impose techniques that rely (perhaps exclusively) on our own bio-mechanical resources. I can show a student 'my way' and when it fails, tell them to "just keep practicing" until someday it may work for them (it wont) -or- I can look at the individual resources they bring to the table and show them an alternative movement pattern that will immediately work for them even if it's not necessarily ideal for others.

In the end, I don't believe instructors have a valid point when they insist on patterns that simply do not (and will not) work for that particular student. Instead I think such instructors are simply not up to speed on mechanical and bio-mechanical realities or are not willing to examine other possibilities. This is not to say they're bad people, don't mean well or are incompetent - just that they're not looking deeply enough at the situation before coming to an unyielding opinion about it.

.ma
Some things can be changed, and some things can't. As instructors/coaches we need to be adaptable for both scenarios and provide a path for change and/or adaption for every individual. That's just good ski teaching.
post #77 of 83
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RicB View Post
So a question. For how long do you feel that you can halt rotation of both femurs (no movement) and still continue to steer with the waist?
Not sure the context of the question, so I will answer it both ways.

First context, if the femurs are not rotating, no steering is happening. The core can not power steering without the involvement of the muscles in the legs. The legs are the connection to the earth that must be present. The levers against which we pry. The focus point of power production for steering can be the legs, or the core, but in either case they must work together to produce the desired result.

Second context, if you mean halting femur rotation in the hip sockets, then my answer is: As long as gravity and momentum continue to keep you moving. High quality steering can be done for the duration of a turn while keeping the pelvis continuously very square to the rotating femurs/legs/feet/skis. How much you rotate the femurs in the hip sockets while steering, and thus create varying states of counter, is a matter of choice,,, not necessity.
post #78 of 83
RicB, you're probably right that we wont find an area of literal agreement because I'm talking about apples and you're talking about oranges. Not sure what exercise you're referring to with that fellow but I suppose anyone can come up with a specific context where the general principles described above can be circumvented. I take it from this kind of reaching that you're unable to find fault with the actual skiing context we've provided?

Last weekend I saw a couple of people on ski-boards where both bindings were placed parallel on a single board. They were notDon't try to tell me they were using Independent Leg Steering or Femur rotation in the many bumps present. Instead, they would steer the device primarily with waist rotation and augment with steering driven by sidecut and pressure adaptations.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RicB
Isn't steering simply one part of our body generating energy (force) that is transmitted through the body to the part of the body that is closest to the skis? Isn't it our muscles that not only generates the energy (force), but also transmits the energy (force) down through the body? This is where tenseness and rigidity interferes (read parts consciously kept from moving). This is where alignment enters into the equation as well. For optimal alignment and posture minimize tension and maximize “force creation and dissipation, leverage”.
However you cleverly describe it, "tenseness and rigidity" within an object improves force transmission, not the other way around. Your new representation neglects to mention that it's an integrated series of muscle activations against Rigid Objects (Bones) that actually brings about the results you describe.

The motive force generated by muscle use anywhere in the body is carried by those rigid objects (bones), so no it is not our muscles that transmit motive force through our bodies as you've suggested. Individual muscles can add to an existing state of motion after it begins and these needn't be the same muscles that started the movement, but that's not nearly the same thing as the wave-theory of transmission your pond ripples example proposes.

It's the ongoing energy-consuming act of muscle activation driving bone which is operating here - not the transmission of the original force through soft tissues. The scenario you describe above also seems to require constant energy consumption by muscles not only to generate the initial motion but to maintain it. Increased energy is also consumed if joints are bent because muscles must restrain other bones and force them along if they are not in proper alignment. Alignment (to the degree available) produces a largely Rigid connection between bones through which force can be transferred. When we hold muscles rigid we actually transmit force better than when muscles are relaxed - though a muscle held rigid doesn't move smoothly nor is it easily guided with a deft touch - a much bigger issue when skiing.

Ultimately, it is Rigidity that transmits force best within a skier and there's no way around it. A Rubber Chicken cannot walk...

Of course, if you're proposing that a person can interfere with their own movements by countering them with uncoordinated or contrary muscle involvement, or tensing the wrong muscles for the given task then I don't think you'll get an argument from anyone.


Rick,

What about the context of the person on a ski-board or on a single ski? I think these are cases where steering can easily be accomplished without femur rotation.

If this is true then it suggests that a person with mild edge angles could do the same despite having two independent skis. I often see people skiing in that classic 70's style, you know - with both legs and feet locked firmly together as they make their way down the hill. May not be ideal, but it obviously does work.

.ma
post #79 of 83
Michael that "guy" was a d-teamer from aspen and it was about 7-8 years
ago. Just thought you might appreciate an example from a skiing context. Oh well.

Maybe a rubber chicken can't walk, but how well do you walk in "unibody" mode, or with bones alone. The studies I have read on walking and gait mechanics show that any time we place undue tension in our joints or purposefully hinder joint movement, more work is then required from the muscles that are moving to accomplish the task and we find ourselves compensating for this lack of movement and function.

Certainly our bones have a big role to play, but their role is totally dependent on the surrounding muscles. I have a good friend who is long time stroke survivor. one side of his body is affected. nothing wrong with his bones, but there is something wrong with his muscles. One side tense and rigid, the other side elastic, strong, and functioning well. His good side generates and transmits forces well, but the other side can do nothing but be tense and rigid with little to no ability generate or much less transmit any kind of usable force. Even when forces are generated by his good side and transmitted to his rigid side, his ability to transmit and utilize these forces throughout his rigid side in a usable way are basically non functional. A good description of his rigid side would be unibody.

A mono ski is a good example of the compensations the body goes through when we no longer have available to us a normal vital function such as hip movement. Yeah we can duplicate that on two skis, but do we want to?
post #80 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post
Not sure the context of the question, so I will answer it both ways.

First context, if the femurs are not rotating, no steering is happening. The core can not power steering without the involvement of the muscles in the legs. The legs are the connection to the earth that must be present. The levers against which we pry. The focus point of power production for steering can be the legs, or the core, but in either case they must work together to produce the desired result.

Second context, if you mean halting femur rotation in the hip sockets, then my answer is: As long as gravity and momentum continue to keep you moving. High quality steering can be done for the duration of a turn while keeping the pelvis continuously very square to the rotating femurs/legs/feet/skis. How much you rotate the femurs in the hip sockets while steering, and thus create varying states of counter, is a matter of choice,,, not necessity.
Well this kinda morphed into counter from steering. you spoke of moving into counter to a point and then maintaining this orientation for the rest of the turn. I was wondering when and for how long you maintained this orientation and for how long you felt you could maintain steering input from this orientation? Like everything else in skiing, when something is done too much or for too long there is usually a down side to it. I was looking for your take on both the positives of what you are presenting as well as the negatives of it.

On the choices side of steering I think it's good to bring up that how much counter we end up with has as much to do with the rate we do it as well as how much energy or intensity we put into it. Further moving into counter does not in and of itself introduce steering (I know you know that ), and while steering from a controlled orientation to the skis travel, does not need to result in more counter, I still have a hard time with no rotational hip movement happening at all. Reversing, deceleration/acceleration independently or opposite of each other, and isolating movement to one hip or the other, are all ways to steer without increasing counter.
post #81 of 83
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelA View Post

Rick,

What about the context of the person on a ski-board or on a single ski? I think these are cases where steering can easily be accomplished without femur rotation.

If this is true then it suggests that a person with mild edge angles could do the same despite having two independent skis. I often see people skiing in that classic 70's style, you know - with both legs and feet locked firmly together as they make their way down the hill. May not be ideal, but it obviously does work.

.ma
Yep, it sure does work. That's the very point I've apparently been swinging my little hammer blindly at in this thread. Perhaps I threw you when I said "femur" rotation when trying to decipher Ric's usage of the term in responding to him. I'm agreeing with the majority of what you are saying. OK, I'll try again. Forget what I said above,,, freshen your ears,,, I'll try again.


You are spot on in the rotational tension needed to produce steering. It's very easy to see what happens if no rotational tension is used while rotating the legs, with a simple indoor exercise. To do it, it's best to work backwards, and duplicate the result. (the following drills are presented as a discovery tool for everyone)

Stand with feet in your normal skiing stance width. Now, while keeping your feet facing forward, rotate your legs and hips to the left. You just rotated your body to the left with little rotary (steering) force being transmitted to the feet. It was done by keeping rotational looseness in the lower body joints, and is the movement means by which we change our rotational state while carving without affecting the integrity of our carve.

Next, do the same drill, except this time as you rotate the legs and hips left, rotate the feet with them. There,,, you just introduced rotational tension in your lower body joints, and the rotary force you produced was thereby transferred down to your feet, forcing them to turn (steer).

Final drill: turn the feet again, but this time instead of letting the pelvis turn in unison with the feet, as you did in the last drill, leave it behind, facing the direction the feet were before you started to twist them to the left. You just introduced femur rotation in the hip sockets, allowing the legs and feet to rotate independent of the pelvis.

I think those drills should make it pretty clear to an open mind how rotational tension in a joint affects the performance outcome of rotary inputs while we ski,,, and how we can manage the amount of "femur in hip socket rotation" we choose to use while steering our turns.
post #82 of 83
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RicB View Post
Well this kinda morphed into counter from steering. you spoke of moving into counter to a point and then maintaining this orientation for the rest of the turn. I was wondering when and for how long you maintained this orientation and for how long you felt you could maintain steering input from this orientation?
OK, Ric, then it would be my first answer: "As long a gravity and momentum keep you moving." What workings in the beginning continues to work till the end. The point at which one is in the turn is irrelevant. The body and skis don't know, nor care, because little is changing in their orientation to each other,,, they just keep doing what they're doing till the skier decides to do something different, such as end the turn.




Quote:
On the choices side of steering I think it's good to bring up that how much counter we end up with has as much to do with the rate we do it as well as how much energy or intensity we put into it. Further moving into counter does not in and of itself introduce steering (I know you know that ), and while steering from a controlled orientation to the skis travel, does not need to result in more counter, I still have a hard time with no rotational hip movement happening at all. Reversing, deceleration/acceleration independently or opposite of each other, and isolating movement to one hip or the other, are all ways to steer without increasing counter
Ric, there will always be fine movement happening in the hip/femur joints as we travel over the undulating surfaces while skiing, as there will in all our joints. The larger point I'm trying to make here is that the general movement pattern used while steering does not REQUIRE femur rotation in the hip socket, and as such maintaining a generally stable state of counter, and choosing the state it will be, is very possible.

I feel it's an important concept for skiers to understand. Improper states of counter (read as too much) have a huge affect on the quality of steered turn initiations. Misconceptions about the use of femur rotation in the hip sockets while steering could very easily lead people to gravitate toward those counterproductive states of counter,,, and my feeling is it does.
post #83 of 83
Believe or not Rick I do various forms of your exercises every day in my tai chi chaun practice. I'm gonna leave it here as this has gone on long enough.

Functional tension is not the same as rigid, unibody, or not allowing movement. It is very misleading IMHO to use these interchageably. This has been the main sticking point for me all along, and one of the two main points Charlie demonstrated so well with his straight arm exercise. the other point he was trying to drive home was how to best use our body as it relates to power transfer through the body and legs to the skis.

There is a forth way to do your exercise and that would be to think of not allowing movement in the hip, making the hip joint rigid, and then try to rotate both the pelvis and the feet together the same amount. This will inhibit the execution and restrict the outcome.

The biggest obstacle I find in helping my students be successfull at these integrated movements, and it is most obvious in teaching tai chi, is the reluctance to abandon the idea of stopping or inhibiting movement and to allow the parts to "move" together with a defined outcome. When we allow movement with a defined outcome the parts will do whats required without inhibiting the outcome. When we take select parts out of commission, there is generally a consequence that negatively effects the outcome.

The biggest general inhibitor of performance and balance is being rigid and tense. Ok I'm better now.
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