or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

dominant/stronger leg?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Is it normal for a skiier to have a dominant leg? I find that my right leg is noticeably stronger than my left, leading to more powerful left turns. This manifests itself in my skiing on the right side of trails to try to get fresher snow, since I am more confident in turning left to avoid trees and other hazards. I do no weight training at all, just jogging, swimming, biking, and many other sports? Thanks for the input...
post #2 of 11
Yep its normal. Almost everyone has one leg stronger than the other. Almost everyone has a right or a left turn that is better. If you want to improve the right turns put 90% of you're weight on the left foot and 10% on the right and ski turns. The 90% stays on the left foot when turning right or left and the right foot stays on the snow all the time. This exercise will improve you're right turns and strengthen the left leg.

[ January 16, 2004, 02:00 PM: Message edited by: Pierre ]
post #3 of 11
I don't belive one leg is stronger than the other: it's just that one is our dominant, or favourite, leg. We like standing on it, it's the one we move onto when standing around. and the problem is, we aren't transfering our weight properly onto the unliked leg; we aren't aligning properly over it.
Novices especially have trouble with this, the dreaded "can't turn right" syndrome, cos they aren't moving onto their left leg. I warn newbies about this, and it really cuts the problem down to almost nothing. They are aware of it, and so they actively work to correct it, right from turn-one. And bingo, no "weak" leg, just a recalcitrant one.
post #4 of 11
Ant, that's the best analyisis I've ever heard of a problem that has haunted me my whole skiing life and I suspect almost everyone else, too. Especially in tough terrain or dicey situations when we are reluctent to put our trust in a leg that we already don't trust to begin with. And even when you're aware of the problem, it still takes a lot of concentration to correct it. I'm surprised that more instructors don't pick up on it and try to relay it to their students. I'm equally surprised that it is not talked about more often, and because of this I think that most people feel like it's a problem that is their's exclusively, that it's not a problem that most skiers share.
post #5 of 11
This has been my bĂȘte noire - the right turn is easy, the left turn has gone fishin'.

I have the good fortune of having been critiqued and instructed by the best. As a result, I have concluded that neither leg strength nor dominance are at work - it's body asymmetry, and technique.

For me, and I'm sure for many others, a right turn is simply not the same mechanicly as a left turn. They are two completely different acts, and they require two completely different techniques. . . but not exactly.

The most recent observation of my skiing by an instructor leagues ahead of me was this: "You ski with your right shoulder lower than your left. Keep your shoulders level and square to the fall line." Damn!

It doesn't come easy to the likes of me. It takes work - I know what to do, and I must convince my body to do it until it becomes second nature. At this point, I'm "knowledgeably incompetent". With work and time, I'll become "knowledgeably competent." To steal from Vince Lombardi, "Practice doesn't make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect." So if I practice perfectly, every time, all the time, I may yet become "unknowingly competent". I hope I got that right, Ric and Tom.
post #6 of 11
good point Mac: I must add that to the "tips" page on my site. You are right, many people will confide that "I have a weak leg..." as though it's a unique disability!
They leave my lessons with no weak legs, just one very pushy leg and one shy retiring leg. My "bad" leg changes depending on which ankle or knee hurts more that day, but I'm right legged.
I'm doing a straw poll on right leggedness vs left leggedness, and I'm afraid the Righties have it so far.

But when I'm talking about this tendency (often while we are doing the one-ski thing in first timer land), the lightbulbs will start to go off as everyone notices that they have automatically moved onto one leg while they are standing there. And when they are doing 1-ski drills, they will all notice that one leg works better than the other leg. They start fixing that right away. It's about aligning the body over the leg, and learning to do it over both legs, not just their "good" leg.

[ January 16, 2004, 07:13 PM: Message edited by: ant ]
post #7 of 11
The "one ski drill" and exercises like the "White Pass Turn" must be dynamite in working on this "dominant" sidedness. The level shoulders help, too.
post #8 of 11
You will see this "issue" in every activity where left and right sides of the body work independently. It is very normal and one simply has to be aware of it and practice to improve.

The more specialized the activity, the bigger the discrepancy. The brain always favors one side, but with practice you can almost completely eliminate this discrepancy.

Interesting story: I have a twin brother who (unlike me) was left handed. When we were young, left handers were regarded as odd, so my parents actually forced him to write with his right hand : . At the beginning it was a disaster as he constantly wanted to write with his left hand. After about 1 year, he became comfortable and eventually became a right-handed person. But only for writing. For physical activities, tennis, throwing, arm-wrestling etc. he remained (to this day) left handed.

In case you are wondering, his writing was always considerable better (nicer) than mine. And none of this affected his mental capacity, as he graduated with an engineering degree and always had better marks than me. [img]smile.gif[/img]

So never underestimate what the brain can do to your body when you put your mind to it.
post #9 of 11
Leg dominance affects things such as which foot a boarder uses as their lead foot and whether a bowler (not talking cricket here) takes an even number of steps or and odd number of steps in their approach. If you make a running leap you will launch off of your dominate leg. Skiers will make their hockey stops with their dominate foot/leg in the the downhill position. If walking in a straight line the first step will be off the dominate foot onto the non-dominate foot.

My observations have always put the left foot dominate people in the majority and this is backed up by things such as most bowlers taking a four step approach instead of a three or five step approach, surfers and boardes call right footed people 'goofy foot', and seeing which foot novice ski instructors stop on. Handedness seems to bear no relation to footedness.

Back when my sking was oriented to the outside foot my left turn was my strong turn. Since becoming oriented to using the inside foot to initiate and shape my turns my right turn has become the better one.

post #10 of 11
My right side is the stronger of the two, but oddly enough, I can balance better on my left foot. I think it just boils down to a left handed/right handed kind of a thing; why people write better with one hand than another, why we kick a ball lefty or righty, people that have any experience with firearms are all aware that everyone even has a dominant eye. Ant, if I get up to Stowe this season, I'll look you up and we can work on it, I could use the help, although I'm not sure if it will be this season, as I've used up most of my vacation time, and I hate skiing at Stowe on the weekends.
post #11 of 11
I tend to find I have different dominant side depending on the movement pattern needed...

Eg I arm prefers to lift & pull - the other to push....
One leg is preferred to stand on & leap off... the other to stride out(leaving the stand on one grounded)

I found it always easier to control my left arm when skiing (I am right handed) .... it wandered off on its own less....
Kind of makes sense if you think about what I do with the dominant hand - all the "watching" things - writing & fine movement... the left hand has had more chance to learn to "stay put" than the right one has.....

Similarly although I have a DEFINITE strong turn I don't feel it is because the leg is stronger - simply that the movements are easier on that side.... If I am given certain focus points or doing certain exercises the weaker turn side will suddenly become the stronger.... Obviously that side is better at the new movement than the 'strong' side....

As I have a little trouble with alignment on one side the weak turn side always returns to being the weaker when I practice enough...
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Instruction & Coaching