Simple experiment

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Simple experiment

Postby h.harb » Tue Sep 10, 2013 4:57 pm

If you have studied the teachings of PMTS or been to one of our camps you already know that ankle eversion for initiating the stance foot and ski angle (the ability to move the foot and ankle toward the side of the boot) is a big deal in the way we introduce skiing movements. This starts the kinetic chain acting correctly, but consider the kinetic chain can also act badly, if the wrong movements or instruction are employed. So why are the wrong movements taught and part of basic, large, teaching systems? And even if you were not taught wrong movements; how is it that they seem to dominate. We must always remember that skiing is not a natural sport. The body doesn't automatically know the best way to react, it needs to be instructed. If you began skiing with poor alignment and weak glutes, you learned numerous compensatory movements to make up for these disabilities.

Even when you have the right instruction, but come with poor alignment and poor glute strength, performing correct movements is a huge challenge. It's no secret that some athletes learn quickly, because they they have well developed muscle groups and control, but not all athletes.

I have watched my friend Tom Barbeau, who is a Burdenko practitioner, put many athletes through a preliminary muscle testing session. What is amazing about this is the lack of flexibility and strength in "thought to be" very strong and young athletes. These deficiencies really show up in glutei area balancing and hip control exercises. So no one is immune to Glutei area deficiency.

Let's look at what constitutes a correct movement, and engagement of glute muscles, the results of the kinetic chain in action.. In PMTS we teach ankle eversion to set the ski on edge, without knee drive or foot and leg steering. If you dissect the abilities that result from this movement, we see an outside knee more inline (straighter) to and with a long leg. This directs the forces to line up to the pelvis, going through the knee, almost perfectly through the center of the knee. This requires that the muscles on your backside be engaged, to keep the pelvis stable and level. The primary muscle I'm referring to is the gluteus medius.

A comment about alignment and boots a this point is appropriate. With correct alignment the above ideal situation is achievable for most skiers, but with a knocked kneed stance it's almost impossible to achieve vertical hips, and slightly bowed knees. A strong body alignment, is looking at the hips from the side, the hips should stay in line with a fairly straight outside leg in the loaded phase of the turn. What we see more often is an anterior tilt (top of hips forward, butt back) to the hips and knees together.


Image

Many will remember the images I put up years ago (link below) of me standing on a box and lowering and lifting the pelvis on one side. Notice that the top of my hips don't tilt forward. This exercise or movement is key to success for skiing with strength and power generated by angles from the ski, without using unneeded muscle effort. Correct use and well developed glutei package also helps to learn unwanted movements developed from incorrect technique. With all things going right, and moving with the correct techniques, keeping the hips and your body level is essential for mastering PMTS and higher levels of skiing.

Now imagine if you are told to ski by twisting or turning your foot or ski. This also begins a series of movements up the body that are part of a kinetic chain, but a highly destructive chain. To create this movement you must let go of the Glute medius's and maximus's control of hip counter and femur internal rotation. The very movement that is taught, "steering" unhinges the gluteus muscles that hold and can create CA.

In my experience over the years teaching skiers who learned with knee drive, foot and leg steering, that reversing the damage done is a serious process and I know the reasons for this even more today, than when I wrote my first book. PMTS development and learning about skier movements never stops at Harb Ski systems.

The actions of starting the correct kinetic reaction up the body provides many benefits as well. First the ankle eversion movement stabilizes the ankle against the side of the boot for support, this in turn keeps the ski edge engaging and gives the upper body more control in lateral balancing. If you begin with the foot steering, this is functionally a ski flattening move, and recruits bigger muscles such as the adductors and releases the hip into rotation. Foot steering unlocks the glutei group of muscles so that the adductors and femur rotators can exert twist to the ski. The mere thought of steering in any form, reduces the activity that holds the hip in balance relative to the upper body mass, toward a loaded ski edge.

On the Harb Ski Systems web site you'll find this article about hip counter-balancing I referred to earlier.
http://harbskisystems.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=232:the-pelvis-in-counterbalancing-sp-26050&catid=43:tech-articles&Itemid=311

The gist of all this is to help you prepare better for the season to maximize your skiing potential. What are the best exercises for glutei area development. There are many, and if you Google for information about these exercises, you'll see many different approaches. It's important to recognize how to engage and where your glutei group resides and reacts in your body to movements. One video online I saw showed the "Clam Shell" exercise, with precise instruction on how to control and contract the right muscles. It's important to note when you are doing typical glutei exercises other muscles groups are recruited, if you don't have a real sense of the correct way of performing the exercises, you may not be gaining what you want. One exercise I found useful is seated leg press, with a stretch band around your legs above the knees. Keeping the knees moving apart as the leg press is performed keeps the glutes doing the right thing to control internal rotation.

Here are some references:



This is a series of 4 videos with explanations basically the same, but somewhat tedious. The information is for learning where and how your glutei medius is used. More exercises include: front and side lunges with or without a box or bench. Move into tele-hops (shown on the pmts training program with weights or kettle bells. Rubber stretch cords are very useful, for behind the body leg raises. I'll get some photos or video up for some of these exercises. Or look some up on You tube. Form is very important, for example you don't want to collapse you hips or get your knee forward of your feet in lung exercises. Keep everything straight and up right.
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Re: Simple experiment

Postby rwd » Wed Sep 11, 2013 6:02 am

Harald,
For the past few years I have been doing exercises designed to strengthen my hip muscles. These were prescribed by a physical therapist to treat a muscle imbalance which was affecting my gait. They are performed standing, and isolate the gluteal muscles. In addition to strenghtening the muscles, I became much more aware of movements of the pelvis in skiing and skate training, with respect to CB and CA. For me, an external cue for effective pelvic CB has become feeling the stretch on the outside of the free hip. For CA, rather than "show your back to the inside of the turn" (ACBES2), my cue has become "show your backside, or free buttock to the inside of the turn". I wonder if others may find this helpful. I can provide more specifics on the exercises if anyone is interested.
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Re: Simple experiment

Postby h.harb » Wed Sep 11, 2013 8:47 am

It is good that you have found your own cue that works. We try many different cues for people, but everyone has to eventually figure out what one cue works for them. These things turn out to be much more individual then one would think.
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Re: Simple experiment

Postby h.harb » Wed Sep 11, 2013 12:49 pm

http://www.skibootcla.com/skiboot_eng/Ski-Boot-CLA/Why-use-it

I received this web site from the representative in Italy. The device or instrument looks cool and can impress many people, however, this approach to canting and alignment is wrong. Here we go again, a whole new series of mis-information going out. When are people around the world in skiing going to really study how canting works, this is just trying to fix canting by moving the cuff. It will never work properly and in many cases make your skiing worst. In the ad it says, Hirscher tried the machine, it didn't say he adjusted his boots with the findings.
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Re: Simple experiment

Postby emakarios » Thu Sep 12, 2013 6:23 am

Would be interested in RWD's hip exercises. thanks
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Re: Simple experiment

Postby NoCleverName » Thu Sep 12, 2013 7:14 am

h.harb wrote:I received this web site from the representative in Italy. The device or instrument looks cool and can impress many people, however, this approach to canting and alignment is wrong.


So the long and the short of it is that this technique presumes your "natural stance" is appropriate and correct for skiing so it modifies the boot geometry to keep it from interfering with your "natural, perfect-for-skiing stance".

Obviously, the flaw is in the presumption.
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Re: Simple experiment

Postby geoffda » Thu Sep 12, 2013 9:18 am

h.harb wrote:http://www.skibootcla.com/skiboot_eng/Ski-Boot-CLA/Why-use-it

I received this web site from the representative in Italy. The device or instrument looks cool and can impress many people, however, this approach to canting and alignment is wrong. Here we go again, a whole new series of mis-information going out. When are people around the world in skiing going to really study how canting works, this is just trying to fix canting by moving the cuff. It will never work properly and in many cases make your skiing worst. In the ad it says, Hirscher tried the machine, it didn't say he adjusted his boots with the findings.


Did the clock just turn back to 1972?
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Re: Simple experiment

Postby h.harb » Thu Sep 12, 2013 4:41 pm

I just don't get it, the ski industry just doesn't want to accept the reality that cuff alignment to the leg, just doesn't substitute for boot alignment on the outside sole bottom. Just think if you have straight shins, but your stance is 2 or three degrees inside the center line of the ski boot.

With this instrument and way of measuring, you would move the cuff to follow the leg, this does the opposite of what you need. If you adjust the cuff even with the fancy laser device, it accomplishes nothing for that skier.

The same is true about a varus shin, curve to the outside at the bottom, but back to the center at the knee, if you don't change the knee mass to be centered over the boot, to bring your knee center back to the correct balance point or alignment, you are still mis-aligned. We do change cuff angles often, to enhance edging, but almost in every case the soles need to be adjusted to achieve optimal balance and edge angles.

The industry likes to invent fancy, expensive, machines to baffle the customers, but they do little to make things right. I'm sure if customers walk into the shop and see this fancy laser thing at work they would be impressed. I'd be really impressed also, if it actually did my job and eliminated my need to measure skiers, but that is still a way off. Until you can feed the skier's skiing into the computer and have it analyzed dynamically, all these fancy instruments are just another hoax.
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Re: Simple experiment

Postby rwd » Fri Sep 13, 2013 6:35 am

To Emakarios:
There are a series of exercises to strenghen the hip, but I think these two are most applicable to skiing.
1. Stand parrallel to hip-high counter, R hip fist width from edge. R foot is stance foot. Lift left(free) foot and drop L hip, while moving R hip laterally to touch counter edge. Return to neutral position, then put free foot down. I usually do 10-20 rep per side. This exercise helps with use of the pelvis in CB.

2.Stand parallel to wall, R hip (stance) one foot from wall. First, break slightly at the hips keeping back straight (don't bend at waist). This isolates the hip muscles. Raise the L foot (free) and rotate the pelvis toward the wall. Let your torso move with the pelvis, and touch your hands to the wall. Rotate back to neutral position, and return free foot to floor. 10-20 reps both sides. This one replicates CA, with the wall representing the outside of the turn.

If you do the exercises slowly and deliberately you will become more aware of your hip muscles controlling the movement. Hope you find these useful.
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Re: Simple experiment

Postby Max_501 » Fri Sep 13, 2013 10:03 am

rwd wrote:1. Stand parrallel to hip-high counter, R hip fist width from edge. R foot is stance foot. Lift left(free) foot and drop L hip, while moving R hip laterally to touch counter edge. Return to neutral position, then put free foot down. I usually do 10-20 rep per side. This exercise helps with use of the pelvis in CB.


Raising the inside hip is CB so this exercise is opposite of CB.
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Re: Simple experiment

Postby rwd » Fri Sep 13, 2013 12:20 pm

Max,

This exercise was designed to strengthen the hip muscles. These are the same muscles that are used to elevate the pelvis in CB. You feel this especially as you move the hip laterally back to neutral. When you return to neutral, if you then elevate the free hip, as you would with CB, you can feel that you are using the muscles that you have just exercised. These were not designed as ski-specific exercises, but I found that they increased my awareness of how the hips function with CB/CA.
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Re: Simple experiment

Postby rwd » Fri Sep 13, 2013 1:04 pm

Max_501 wrote:
rwd wrote:1. Stand parrallel to hip-high counter, R hip fist width from edge. R foot is stance foot. Lift left(free) foot and drop L hip, while moving R hip laterally to touch counter edge. Return to neutral position, then put free foot down. I usually do 10-20 rep per side. This exercise helps with use of the pelvis in CB.


Raising the inside hip is CB so this exercise is opposite of CB.


It feels like dong a weighted release :D
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Re: Simple experiment

Postby h.harb » Fri Sep 13, 2013 1:08 pm

RWD, This is a rather confusing description, could you put up a photo or video? The exercise itself may help hip movement, but sounds as Max says, like it may not create a level pelvis relative to skiing.

Remember Counter Acting is not the same as Counter Balance. The actions are in the same area of the body. Counter acting and Counter Balancing have movements and muscle engagements, one for each side of the pelvis, ribs and torso.

Counter Balance first:
Hip Lift: Happens on the inside hip, of the arc or turn. A tiny movement wherein the lateral aspect of the hip is tilted upwards towards the waist by contracting the lateral muscles of the waist.
When you study skiing photos, this is at times not obvious, however trust me in great skiers the act of moving this way is there even if the inside hip doesn't look like it's lifted in a turn. If you were to see the same skier in a vertical position with the lifting movement, you would see the hip going up.

This is done by contracting the external and internal obliques together with the quadratus lumborum and erector spinae muscles, on the same side as the hip lift. Although this is a tiny range of movement it has a huge effect on your hip stability. Lower down on the same side if you are tipping to the little toe edge, yes this famous movement. You are essentially doing a "Clam Shell" type movement. Remember although it's like a clam shell, it's done with foot inversion and gluteus medius external rotation, not knee drive or pointing. If you followed this thread and watched the Clam Shell explained in detail, you will see why we don't recommend moving the knee. We want to have the glutes involved not the hip flexors or tibial band. In PSIA or TT it's all about big muscles that involve moving the knee, this distinction is not trivial when you understand the difference in movement quality.

Let's move now to the hip on the outside of the arc or stance foot side. This is much more complex as it requires hip stability engaged by the glutes to keep the hip from rotating and also that side of the body has to support your weight and the extra forces created by skiing. Which means all the muscles of the leg are involved. Calf, anterior tibialis, inverters and evertors and quads, with hamstring also for co-contaction. Basically this means holding your stance and balancing on one leg.

Now comes the outside hip, it needs to be locked into CA with the glutei muscles or angular momentum will swing the hip and upper body into rotation. The momentum produced by a moving body which is following an arc, such as in skiing, wants to swing everything around the axis of your body, or overcome the inertia of the hip and mid body mass. This happens easily in most skiers, they freely swing their hips and upper body with the arc or allow the whole mid body unit to rotate with the skis. As we know that's what we are trying to control. Because it results in less control, over turning and no rebound. The upper body also has to be tied down, (tilted toward the stance boot) or locked in while this is all happening. If UB starts leaning toward the inside of the arc, you lose your outside edge hold. This is the job of CB.

The best exercise and much easier to learn than all the glute exercises is the side up on the roman bench. I have one of these in my house and I love side ups. They are very difficult at first, because few people have these muscles developed, with side up or oblique exercises.
This is slow to load so please be patient.
http://www.weightwatchers.com/util/art/index_art.aspx?art_id=192661

Counter acting reduces or stops the forces from acting on the hip and upper body. I'm sure there is more to come on this topic.
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Re: Simple experiment

Postby h.harb » Fri Sep 13, 2013 1:11 pm

These were not designed as ski-specific exercises, but I found that they increased my awareness of how the hips function with CB/CA.


That's what I figured and why I wrote the pervious post. The post before this one has specific descriptions of how the muscles are used relative to skiing.
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Re: Simple experiment

Postby rwd » Fri Sep 13, 2013 5:26 pm

Unfortunately, I don't have any photos or video. I could post some drawings, if someone could tell me how to attach to a post.

Simple experiment: 1. Stand with feet together, raise free foot, and counterbalance the torso by crunching the abdominal obliques on the stance side. Repeat, but this time CB by raising the free hip, using the stance hip abductors (gluteus medius and gluteus minimus). The spine does not have to curve to the stance side, even though the torso is tilted to the stance side.
2. Raise free foot, and CA by turning the shoulders and torso. Hopefully, the hips will follow,but often the shoulders turn more than the hips. Repeat, but this time, lead the counteracting with the hips. Again, this is accomplished by contracting the gluteus muscles of the stance hip. The torso will follow the CA movement passively, and the shoulders will remain in line with the hips.

Is there a bio-mechanical advantage to leading CA and CB with the hips rather than the torso?

The exercises I described strengthen the gluteus muscles. I have also found that isolating and exercising these muscles has increased my awareness of their function in skiing.

Has anyone tried the exercises? I think, if you do, you will feel what I am talking about. If the movements are unclear I will try to clarify further.
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