Originally Posted by bud heishman
Steve! great to see you here! Happy New Year and ski season!
I like MichaelA's view!
Eccentric contractions (where the muscles do the work as they are lengthening) are a very common in skiing and will fatigue even a well balanced skier. Fitness plays a key role in how long it takes until the leg muscles begin to fatigue and build up lactic acid. Certainly over use of these muscles to compensate for poor alignment or poor technique will accelerate the fatigue threshold.
We can not ski effectively by maintaining a taller stance, especially when skiing more dynamically or in variable terrain and bumps. Good skiing requires active legs which taxes the muscles. I don't believe there is any way around this fact?
You are just going to have to ride your bike more and do lot's of squats Steve!
PS. of course proper alignment on the sagittal plane helps immensely too!
Hi, Bud... thanks...!
Be careful of assumptions! I'm exploring the idea that muscle fatigue tells us something about our skiing (or can), not about anything in particular that I am experiencing regularly.
I'm curious about your comment about a "more upright stance," especially since this is an area of focus for me personally in my skiing this year. I'm very much working on being more extended in my legs (especially my knees and hips). While it's certainly essential to remain flexible and absorb the forces in skiing, "getting tall" as a mantra is working pretty well for me this year. Care to elaborate on that aspect of your comment?
Your comments about variable terrain and bumps seems to align with what I said about the quads being used to raise (or concentrically lower, I guess!) the upper body. That's appropriate work for the quads. However, carrying your upper body on your quads by being too far back is ineffective, and if one's legs are communicating this, it can be helpful to listen.
Originally Posted by michaelA
"Without the muscles, the bones would fall into a jumbled pile, wouldn't they?"
Dunno. Haven't you ever seen one of those Dinosaur Skeleton thingies at the museum?
Guess it depends on our perspective about What's holding What up. For a pup tent I could say it's the poles holding it up or
I could say it's the ropes holding it up. I'd probably go with the poles holding things "up" with the ropes holding the poles upright
. From that perspective we could go further and say muscles provide stability, but they also provide positioning and maybe it's the improper ongoing positioning
effort that's really the problem in tired legs.Then there's this
. And also this
In these cases I'd definitely accept that the load is shared between ropes and poles.
I can agree that it's shared. Note, however, that the moment your bones are at an angle, the muscles come into play. If your bones were carrying you, you would have to be "locked out" in your hips and knees, at least, I would think. Otherwise, your muscles are responsible for holding the angle and thus which muscle and how comes into the picture.
Originally Posted by SkiMangoJazz
This is an interesting discussion. I agree with the OP. When I was an intermediate skier my quads always burned after skiing, particularly the first couple of weeks of the season. Now they don't. Granted I workout more and get them strong, but the same thing can be said about my calfs, which were actually the muscles that hurt the most after skiing.
michael, I think the muscles stabilize the bones, as you said, but the bones still support each other. Think of a tall antenna. The guy wires hold it up, but the antenna doesn't bend or break due to the fact that it is "stacked" and the pressure/weight is directed straight down through it's structure. The guy wires are similar to the muscles in that case.
In high winds the guy wires most likely are stressed considerably, just like our muscles are when we get out of alignment.
Ditto on the "great to see you here, ssh" by the way!
Thanks, SMJ... Yes, I agree that we could consider the muscles as "stabilizing," but I think that the stabilizing effect, especially at the joints, is more than "stack your bones" implies. Especially since we can't really ski with our bones stacked (see my above comment about locked joints). Unless I'm wrong about that.
Originally Posted by Lars
Steve, you're still alive. That's good.
Why is it most everyone attributes sore quads to improper stance and lousy skiing?
Mostly, I think it's due to a long day of skiing powder and moguls, or a day of skiing in an out of shape body.
Even if you ski a hundred days a year, you're going to feel a tinge in the quads at the end of the day.
I'm sure that poor technique can be thrown into the arguement. But I don't think it's the only reason. jmho
I apologize if it seemed that I was saying that sore quads were always a sign of improper stance and lousy skiing. I didn't meant that at all! I am exploring the idea that our muscles may communicate to us something about our approach to skiing that we may find useful in adjusting that approach should we choose to do so. There are certainly other reasons that our muscles get sore (being out of shape, pushing hard all day, an especially great day of skiing, hiking to the summit, etc.), so it isn't always a message about our skiing. But, sometimes it is, I think.
Originally Posted by chris719
ssh, I agree that ideally you would "open" your knee to get forward, but I don't know if it works in practice except with people who are squatting on purpose because they think it's correct.
Judging from my own issues and those of friends, if you are overflexed at the knees to begin, you can't stay upright because standing more upright puts you out of balance (weight too far forward). The natural reaction is for the hips to drop back and cause the majority of your weight to be supported by your quads. The problem may be ramp or forward lean related, but if the person has sufficient ankle mobility they may be able to use what I have found helpful, which is the cue to pull the feet back and flex at the ankles, causing the hips to come forward in relation to the feet and relieving tension on the quads.
Just to clarify Lars, I'm talking about abnormal quad burn, the kind that sets in after a few runs on groomers.
I haven't ever felt calf fatigue skiing so I can't comment on that one.
Chris, I have found that the idea of opening the knee joint resonates with some people, but your idea has an interesting angle, especially if you feel your ankle joint more than your knee joint. I will say that when I am in my ski boots, there isn't a lot of ankle flexion going on, and I'm doubtful that I could get enough to move my hips in relation to my feet.
Originally Posted by RicB
When I end a hard day of skiing I want my hamstrings and glutes to be as tired as my quads are. If only my quads are tired it usually means that either I am letting my hips settle back too much or I'm skiing too static, as in holding a position. When I'm skiing my centered best, I will end the day with both the front and the back of my leg muscles feeling tired. This is something I tune into early season for sure, and I sometimes put this challenge out to my students as well,,,,,,ski in such a way that the back of your legs and butt muscles get as tired as the front of your legs.
RicB, thank you! As usual, your clear idea is succinctly stated and I get it. I agree completely. Imbalance is one of the key messages that I missed in my initial thinking on this. Thank you! I really like your perspective on this and am going to adopt it. Well said!