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Calfs on Fire

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I spent the last week skiing in Winter Park and Copper Mountain. After three days I found my calfs were killing me while making those great carving turns down the mountain.

Why am I having so much problem there? Quads are Ok. My own thoughts are that I am putting too much pressure on the front of my feet with my weight a bit forward and may be fearful of getting too far back on the skis.

I have Atomic Beta Ride 9.22 skis and really like the performance.
Any suggestions on correcting this problem with calfs on fire?

post #2 of 9
The same thing happens to me the first few days every year. The solution is more time on skis and more time at the gym in the off-season.

post #3 of 9
did a race clinic with michel pratte last december and he said
if your calfs hurt and your quads are fine your skiing right.
so enjoy it.
post #4 of 9
Are you skiing with your toes scrunched up. If you are, it tightens your calf muscles up.
post #5 of 9
funny I have 9.22's and have the same problem(is it the equipment or operator) hmm but perhaps this will help-

hey bob, there are a lot of very good things happening in those pics methinks. importantly, looks like your having a reasonable amount of fun. technically, you are searching for edge from an uncentred body position, and finding it by dropping your hip into the turn, not a bad way to go, but a wee bit inefficient, especially when you get to the steeper lines or on the very hard stuff; its then you will notice the 'burnin thighs o' fire'. separating the legs as if you are sitting on a thin saddle will get you out of the ole 'austrian leg lock' (a 40 -ish year old technique), then try some nice round 'instructor' turns at a reasonable pace, not too fast mind you, at this point, forget the technical stuff (not forever, just for this run), and feel your feet. where's the weight? try to keep it across the entire foot throughout the entire turn.practice this at slower speeds on a flat hill with your boots undone even, (very flat hill eh. when you make these turns, you might find that a general up and down rythym, where you have constant movement occurs. when you feel that, you can advance this 'feeling' exercise by doing the same thing, (boots nice and secure here tho), at a faster pace, down bluish runs, and now trying to 'feel' the legs out from under the body half way through the turn. remember, kids get better by just having fun and not thinking to much, we will get better faster by having a blast, than by requring improvement to have a blast.feel your feet. feel gravity, manipulate it, don't fight it.
post #6 of 9
My first reaction to the title was that "Its Wrong, the Calves in Cleveland haven't done all that well" then I remembered we are in a ski forum.
The most likely cause is a tight achilles tendon resulting in low ankle (dorsiflex) range of motion. You flex forward and the calf muscle is stretched. The easiest fix is a heel lift inside the boot and more upright forward lean on the boot. Stiff boots would help also.
You can check range of motion. Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Take a framing square and get your tibia at right angles to the floor. have someone put the framing square flat on the floor under your heel and in line with your foot. In this case the square is simply a flat piece of metal. Now lift the toes as high as you can and have a helper lift the square until it touches the bottom of your foot. Measure the angle between the square and the floor. If this angle is less than 13 degrees you could benefit from a heel lift. Hope this helps.

[ January 17, 2003, 06:27 PM: Message edited by: Pierre ]
post #7 of 9
If you have tight Achilles tendons, it's time to initiate a REGULAR DAILY stretching routine, and I don't mean 20 seconds of leaning against a wall with your foot out behind you.

I used to have tight Achilles tendons that would ache mildly during ski seasons. Then I ruptured one. After the reattchment surgery and six months in casts and braces, the therapists instructed me to warm the tendons up some (I do 120 toe rises on a 2 X 4 in a doorway in two sets each morning. They used to have me pedal a bike for 10 minutes) and then stretch them by standing on a ramp. I stand on a 30-degree ramp for a minimum of 10 minutes. Have had no Achilles pain in the six years I've followed this routine.
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the suggestions. I think a combination of all of them may help. I did feel that before ski season started that I should have spent more time working on the calf stretching exercises along with the quad workouts. I also read with great interest funkybobs discussion on weight distribution. I think there is some good material there. I did feel that I was "fighting' gravity by being too far forward on my skis and using the toe and ball of the feet to press against gravity while in my turns. Since I weigh in at 255 lbs it brings a lot of pressure on my calfs. I would think that if I could get my weight more centered by leaning more into the mountain and being a bit more back on the skis then the downward pressure would be more evenly distributed throughout my body. As an example, when I come across an unexpected bump the additional downward pressure is noticed by a tendency to fall forward and not absorbing it in the knees.

This may sound strange but I have to compare my weight distribution problem to water skiing. When I used to water ski on two skis my back was always killing me because I was leaning forward holding on to the toe rope. When I dropped one ski and started slalom I immediately pressed down on the back foot and straightened up by leaning back and allowed the pull of the toe rope to be transmitted throughout my body to the ski instead of my back. I could go all day that way without any back problems.
Can this be similar to snow skiing where I need to lean more into the mountain during my turns and allow that downward gravity pressure to transmit itself out evenly through the feet? Am I
making sense here?
post #9 of 9
I don't like the idea of "leaning" anywhere on skis. I prefer a relaxed, upright position for the torso and creation of angles for edge application by allowing the hips to slide to the inside of the turn. I like to maintain contact (not press on) the front of the boot cuff or somewhat to the side of the cuff, depending upon where I am in a turn, and let most of the pressure build on the outside foot between the ball and the heel pad. Some weight stays on the outside edge of the inside ski through the turn and I try to flex the inside ankle more, so I generally feel a bit more pressure on that cuff than on the other.
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