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How to get rid of "rebar legs " ?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
One of the biggest problems I have when skiing, that's holding me back from advancing from an intermediate  skier, is that my legs tense up, where it feels like I have rebar in my legs!  I'm noticing that not too long after I clip into my bindings and do a run or two, my leg muscles seem to tense up and get very stiff. All it takes is one moderate run, and my legs muscles are very tense.  Even if I back off and do an easier run, and even when I'm on the chair lift, my legs feel very stiff.  I consciously try to relax and ski "loose" on easier terrain, but usually, once I tense up, it seems like I've got rebar legs for the rest of the day and my skiing goes to crap.  It's not an issue of exercising, and  getting in better skiing shape, I already do that. I think it has more to do with confidence  (or lack thereof) that makes me tense up and not let go.  Anyone have any suggestions  - it's driving me crazy ?
post #2 of 6
ILOJ,  it could be a technique issue, but it could also be how your boots are set up is not letting you relax, even if when you try.  Too much ramp or delta angle, or too much forward lean are just a few potential culprits.  Might be worth looking into. ,
post #3 of 6

At what position can you stand relaxed on your skis?  If necessary, point them upslope and find where you can be relaxed.  If this is more than just a couple of degrees past horizontal, you need boot or binding work.  Most of us are just about straight legged when we're standing on the flat on skis.  As Rick said, your boots might tilt you too far forward, or your bindings might do that, or both.

Or, has someone told you to get into a position while skiing that is completely unnatural?  I suspect the equipment set up is the most likely culprit.  Jim Mates' Custom Boot Service in Ballard is your best bet for proper set up.  If he tells you that your boots are way too stiff and lean way too far forward, or otherwise just wrong for you, start to budget for new, suitable boots.  Don't spend a lot of money on boots that never will be right.

If you can post a video of your skiing, that is always a huge help.
post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input - I'll have a trained eye  look into my equipment setup. 
post #5 of 6
I have been through this myself a while ago. I have fixed the problem completely by adjusting my boots and bindings. Do not even look into exercising more – it is not the problem. I am positive your boots force you into too much forward lean. Here is how I would approach it:
First to check: Remove extra spoiler from the back of your boot. (if you have one)
Second:  Replace heel lifter that was most likely inserted under you insole with whole length insole to maintain minimal ramp angle.
Third: To check on that, stand in your boots on the floor in neutral position (boot pressure on your shin and calf should be about the same). Drop the plumb line from the lowest point of your patella in the knee. This plumb line should hit your boot somewhere in the middle of the big toe (where the rubber piece sticks out of your boot). If it is anywhere forward of this position you need to have your boot fitter to straighten calf of your boot.
Final: When first item is fixed, have your boot fitter to measure pressure on the ball of foot and heel - it should be 50/50, not 75/25 as many shops recommend. To distribute pressure equally have your boot fitter insert a plastic plate under the toe of your binding.
These are not standard adjustments, only a few boot fitters out there have an idea on how to do it. Talk to them first describe them the process above to make sure they understand (qualified) to do what you need. Unfortunately, I do not know anybody in your area. Ask these boot fitters for referral:
The topic of too stiff boots is controversial. I personally believe that too soft boots (under 120 for adult) will make you tired. It could be personal though.
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Stroller, SoftSnowGuy, Rick:

Thanks for the input !  I took the extra spoiler out of my boots  - I purchased new Technica Dragons at the end of last season, and forgot the spoilers where in there.  I also took the bindings off of my new K2 Outlaws and found that the bindings were set for a much smaller boot sole length.  The reason that the boots fit in the binding is that the forward pressure adjustment was almost all the way out.  This effectively put my boots much further aft than they should have been.  My bindings are now adjusted  properly - positioning my foot more forward on the ski.  Anyway, skied on the "correct" boot and binding setup today - and my legs were just fine !!!  Thanks so much - now I can do more turns and better turns all day long - almost !!!
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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › How to get rid of "rebar legs " ?