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Balance? Stability?

post #1 of 61
Thread Starter 
When I see a tight rope walker I think "wow what balance". However, when I see someone skiing or riding with what appears to be great balance the concept of stability comes to mind. A friend turned me an to this concept and it makes too much sense. Any thoughts on stability = balance + motion?
post #2 of 61
Balance in Motion = Stability

I do find my core strength and ability to keep my torso stable at higher speeds and in rougher terrain are paramount for stability.

Strength has a place in the equation.

Core Strength + Balance in Motion = Stability<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Roto (edited July 18, 2001).]</FONT>
post #3 of 61
I think it can be both. Depends on whether your are Maier and Dorfmeister or Von Gruenigen and Neff. I find stability and elegance in both. Stability, I agree, seems to imply more than one point of contact.<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Robin (edited July 18, 2001).]</FONT>
post #4 of 61
Pierre Eh,
I don't feel jumped on.

I see your point. I like the mention of skeletal alignment, but for me skeletal alignment and balance-in-motion go hand-in-hand.

Skiing is largely finesse and technique related. That is why I put in the qualifiers of 'at higher speeds and in rougher terrain.' These qualifiers are relative to the skier.

People usually have stability problems somewhat towards the limits of their skill levels. In this (relative)zone of performance core strength is often an issue in maintaining skeletal alignment. That is why I believe core strength plays a role in stability. (Core strength being relative to the skier and situation.)
I do not need the strength of the Hermanator for what I do, nor could I do what he does without his strength.

Certainly, technique related improvements will bring about greater stability. For the most part, so will improved core strength.

I do not suggest core strength is more important than technique, but it is a factor in the continuum of skill improvement.
post #5 of 61
I like Pierre's comment that he can ski all day without getting tired. Isn't that what recreational skiing is all about?

Let me suggest a completely non-technical and deliberately simple theory: The minimum amount of strength needed to downhill ski is whatever is needed to resist those forces that would tend to upset your stability . In other words, whatever strength it takes to apply an opposite and equal reaction to forces that would make you either 1.)go too fast, 2.)lose your line in a traverse or your arc in a turn, or 3.) lose your balance, is necessary strength. Any more is unnecessary.

O.K. Who wants to either agree and expand on that, or disagree and explain why it's wrong?
post #6 of 61
Balance vs stability. Fore/aft balance and stability go hand in hand. Lateral/medial balance is not the same as stability. To attain lateral/medial balance, the co-contractors along the tibia, peroneals and the tibialis groups must be active. In a stable stance there is no need for the co-contractors to fire. In a narrow stance, skis weighted 20/80 or lighter, balance is paramount. In a wide stance, skis weighted 60/40, it is stability that is playing. I prefer the narrow stance because it takes less time for movements to take effect.

post #7 of 61
I like Pierre's comments too. I think strength helps with stamina, because when I'm in better shape, I can ski better after a long day. But then, it does depend on what/how you ski. If you spend 4 hours making skidded turns on green/blue terrain, then have another bagel and grab the remote. But if you are out there for 8 hours, hiking for your turns, and making hop turns in heavy crud, you might want to trade in that bagel for a glass of water and a long fast hike in the woods. On another note; as we gt better and more efficient, it takes less energy to ski all day, so you don't need to be in as good condition.
post #8 of 61
Or you come to california in the spring and ski on medium deep sierra cement/glue
post #9 of 61
BTDT, dchan.

But you're right. Heavy, wet and FLAT is a lot harder than heavy, wet and steep.

Gravity is your friend (so is Todd )
post #10 of 61
ok. I give. BTDT?
post #11 of 61
Been There Done That?
post #12 of 61
ahh. thanks.
post #13 of 61
post #14 of 61
First of all, Pierre, thank you for reaffirming that I am not clueless!

A few points: Cutting edge rsearch has determined that Skeletal Alignment is directly related to core strength. When I speak of core strength, I am referring to the workings of the deeper transverse abdominals, and the stabilizing, as opposed to the rotational qualities of the obliques.

With that in mind, a power lifter who can perform in PERFECT FORM, keeping a stable torso, actually has more core stability than someone doing 300 useless crunches in poor form. {TomB, comments?}

Let me also establish that strength training is important for life in general {there is life outside skiing, isn't there?} Osteoporosis prevention, maintaining a high metabolic rate, and for myself, assuring that my husband will not be looking at the 20 somethings are all crucially important!

That being said, my best skiing has been done when I forgo the machisma stuff and let myself surrender to the mountain. It is then that my sense of balance and stability becomes my most important allies.

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence

<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Lisamarie (edited July 19, 2001).]</FONT>
post #15 of 61
This may be mere semantics, but whether you "surrender to the mountain" or "conquer the mountain", either way it suggests a conflict. And a conflict suggests a winner and a loser. Personally, I've never won a fight with a mountain.

Do you remember a run when you and the mountain have cooperated? When you have become "one with the mountain"?
post #16 of 61
David, you are just too darn smart! In answer to your question, yes, at Bretton Woods. Afterwards, I described it as the mountain playing Fred Astaire to my Ginger Rodgers.

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #17 of 61
I will agree with everyone that stability, balance, and motion are all related and important for proficient skiing.

I think the best way to relate this topic is from a clinical perspective. Has anyone had a back injury lately? How's your balance?
When training the patient with low back pain (especially if chronic), neuromuscular issues have to be addressed along with core strength/coordination. There is a relationship between the two and this is also important for the skier.

Kinethetic awareness and coordination are key factors for appropriate movement patterns. Core strength/coordination influencing balance involves the abdominals, low back, and buttock musculature. Not just the tranverse abd. They have to be coordinated. Besides a portion of the population doesn't even have a tranverse abd. Ooooops....

Rick H mentioned there is no need for co-contractors during static stance. Sometimes that would appear to be true, but it is not. If you were to plug fine wires into your ankle muscles and measured their respective activity while standing still, you will see they are working big time!!! This is called an "ankle strategy" (part of motor control) and keeps you upright.

post #18 of 61
"Can you fire a cannon from a canoe?" Whew! Hadda stop and think about that one.

Good metaphor.

Looking at the discussion about off-season "dryland training" elsewhere, some folks at least are attempting to prove you can cast a fishing rod from a kayak.

Have a great weekend.

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[This message has been edited by David7 (edited July 20, 2001).]</FONT>
post #19 of 61
This keeps getting more interesting. Pierre, you have just proved the need for verbal clarity!

It is core STABILITY, as opposed to core strength, that I believe is more beneficial, at least for recreational skiing. Working on all sorts of balance apparatus, where I do not have a SIGNIFICANT sensation of the abdominal muscle "burning" has been more beneficial to my skiing than my more "hard core" training.

I am THRILLED to hear that someone as lovely as LarryC is also a good skier!
post #20 of 61
How much strength does a beginner need to develop basic direction changes? Depends on the teaching technique. Less for stepping turns, more for wedge. How much strength does an intermediate need to develop parallel turns? Not much if the student is taught to let the skis do the work. How much strength does a racer need to recover from a hooked up edge? Massive amounts of training and strength.

Strength, stability and balance are equated in what is the activity; Recreational skiing on groomers to racing and everything in between.

For me, at 66, I have to keep after the natural atrophy of aging. I have to work out on a regular basis. For a 5'6" 30 year old woman that weighs in at 200 pounds, can just have fun as an intermediate rec skier with no conditioning.

The point of this is: strength , stability and balance enhancements are very subjective. Different needs for everyone. What works for me, will probably not work for the rest of you folks.

post #21 of 61
LisaMarie said "With that in mind, a power lifter who can perform in PERFECT FORM, keeping a stable torso, actually has more core stability than someone doing 300 useless crunches in poor form. {TomB, comments?}"

I do agree with that 100%. I also agree that recreational skiing needs very little strength and stamina if the skill level of the skier is high. Unfortunately the need for strength, stability and stamina is inversely proportional to skill level. That is why beginners need to be in relatively good shape to learn to ski and ski all day. Beginners must use considerably more strength/energy than experts in order to achieve the stability required to get down the mountain. Conversely experts and instructors can be completely out of shape and still ski gracefully, all day. {Of course, as JohnH mentioned, skiing steeps, crud, bumps will require anyone to be in reasonably good shape and will demand stability at all times.}
post #22 of 61
Thread Starter 
You guys rock!!
Try this balance/strength excercise. If you can find or have a Voo-Doo balace board see how many squats you can do standing one footed on the board length wise with the roller under or near your arch. You will find all the smallest muscles in your foot and ankle working harder than ever. You will also find that squats have never worked you big muscles so hard either.
post #23 of 61
The concept of the abs, back and abdominals working in concert is referred to in the Pilates technique as The Powerhouse.

I've mentioned this before, but years ago, attempting to learn to ski when I was younger, and infinitely more of a muscle and cardio "freak" left me pretty humiliated. Because running marathons and weight taining two hours a day, as well as teaching was not doing anything for my balance and stability. It was only after training those muscle groups to work together was I able to feel comfortable on skis.

I am amazed that any discussions on other threads have attempted to divorce the concepts of stabilty and power.

Shouldn't they go hand and hand?

Can you fire a cannon from a canoe?

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #24 of 61
Yes, Yes! What he said!
post #25 of 61
Other thoughts; In Pilates training, we are instructed to teach people how to use "as much as necessary and as little as possible", which may possibly account for the fluidity of the technique. This sounds like what some of you are sayingabout recreational skiing.

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #26 of 61
I saw a guy catch a 50# halibut from a kayak. He got towed a round a bit before he managed to get ashore and land it.
post #27 of 61
I screwed up! 60 stance foot/40 free foot. Or 80 stance/20 free. If I am engaging my stance ski, It takes less time for my CM to move if I am in a narrow stance. try this in tennies; lift your arch in narrow and wide stance. Note the reaction time for your CM to react.

post #28 of 61
I feel like a weeble when I try that with my feet together. Also, maybe its a "girl thing", but I notice I need a lateral shift of the hips to make the move in the narrow stance.

The wider stance feels more athletic. The narrow feels a bit contrived.

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #29 of 61
Additionally - when you are pushing yourself and need to make a quick move . . . such as engage an edge deeply and immediately; if you are in a narrow stance you must move twice the mass (the new dominant ski and the other leg out of its way)in order to accomplish the movement. Moving more mass takes more effort and more time.

You'll often see high-level skiers, when they are skiing hard, actually make a sequential leg movement for a turn. A narrow stance inhibits this.<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Todd Murchison (edited July 22, 2001).]</FONT>
post #30 of 61
Pierre eh! - Now I feel better - I got very confused as well, and that's precisely why I stayed out of this thread.

I should probably continue to stay out, but I can't resist making a couple of comments.

When people talk about movement of their center of mass, they have to be be very specific about what they mean for their descriptions to convey meaningful info to other people.

For example, at various points in this thread, when referring to movement of the CM, I was not at all sure if a given writer meant up and down (relative to the earth), across your skis, changing the overall shape of your body into a "C" so that the CM moves from your lower abdomen to some point that may actually be outside your body, etc. etc.

I am not even going to get into the discussion of what reference frame do you use to describe the movements of the CM of the skier. (BTW, just ignore this and the following paragraphs if you don't understand it).

Using the reference frame of the earth is awkward because the CM of the skier is always moving (ie, downhill). Describing the movements in the frame of reference of the skier is not a very good idea since this is not an inertial frame. Describing the movements relative to a point on the slope that is always under the skier is a start, but then the skier can't do anything but go straight for this frame to be usable, etc. etc.

Unfortunately, I don't have any solutions to this descriptive dilemma that don't involve a lot of long winded academic detail, and like you, I don't think full-bore scientific mode correctness is the best way to go here.


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[This message has been edited by PhysicsMan (edited July 22, 2001).]</FONT>
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