Discussion from Fore/aft Balance thread

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Discussion from Fore/aft Balance thread

Postby gaku » Thu Oct 29, 2015 9:11 am

Moderator wrote:Topic split - posts moved from viewtopic.php?f=1&t=462


Probably the best post I've come across on here. Hip-to-feet relations are so important, not just to ski properly, but to overall athetlic performance and function. Sprinting is an extreme example of hip importance -- getting the hips "with you" so your CoG moves horisontally and the feet -- by extension -- have to keep up, rather than the common scenario for most people -- where the legs have to "pull forward" because the hips are constantly trailing behind. The problem, as we know, is just as widespread on the slopes -- probably because a lot of "skiing" deficiencies aren't actually specific to skiing, but to overall motor pattern deficiencies ingrained over time by our lifestyles (lots of sitting-->tight hip flexors, slouched upper body, anterior pelvic tilt/"sleeping butt syndrome"). Thus we come back full circle to Harald's statement about skiing being natural, as natural as it gets, but natural doesn't mean easy. When we can't move efficiently on our feet, how do we expect to move efficiently on a surface we spend less time on, with more external variables affecting our performance (leading to more "glaring" problems, or exposing of deficiences already there)?

Interestingly enough, due to the angle of the hill, the ski and surface friction, skiing has two ways of receentering. While we, when running for instance, can only efficiently get our hips with us by maintaining a neutral-to-open pelvis (any other means would mean significant loss of momentum), when skiing we can achieve it by doing 1) a posterior tilt of the pelvis, and 2) pulling feet back, waiting for CoG to realign over the feet, with close to no loss of momentum due to the ski/surface friction.

What I was wondering, is which do you prefer? I know you advocate feet-pullback to realign hip-/feet relationship, but I got the impression you also actively adjust your pelvis position, particularly during the high-C, maybe for additional/further precision?
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Re: Moving Fore/aft Balance

Postby jbotti » Thu Oct 29, 2015 12:13 pm

HH has made it abundantly clear time and time again that fore aft re balancing is done with the hamstrings which pull back the feet. There is no muscle to push your hips forward. In PMTS its all foot pull back.
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Re: Moving Fore/aft Balance

Postby Max_501 » Thu Oct 29, 2015 7:47 pm

gaku wrote:...but I got the impression you also actively adjust your pelvis position, particularly during the high-C, maybe for additional/further precision?


What did you read that gave you this idea?
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Re: Moving Fore/aft Balance

Postby Matt » Fri Oct 30, 2015 4:08 pm

gaku wrote: 1) a posterior tilt of the pelvis, and 2) pulling feet back, waiting for CoG to realign over the feet, with close to no loss of momentum due to the ski/surface friction.

What I was wondering, is which do you prefer?



The glutes are the main muscles involved in 1) but they are also activated in 2). As far as I understand 2) is what the cue is in PMTS; even though it probably involves 1).
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Re: Moving Fore/aft Balance

Postby jbotti » Sat Oct 31, 2015 11:05 am

Just to be clear, when you are in a flexed position at release your glutes will be engaged but that is not the muscle that pulls back the feet, its the hamstrings.
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Re: Moving Fore/aft Balance

Postby Max_501 » Sat Oct 31, 2015 11:36 am

jbotti is right on the money! Hamstrings are the large muscle used for the pullback which is how we get recentered. Here's a clip by HH that describes the pullback.

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Re: Moving Fore/aft Balance

Postby DougD » Sat Oct 31, 2015 4:10 pm

Perfect video example, Max.

Before taking up PMTS, I skied for 25+ years trying to "get/keep my hips forward", as well-meaning friends & instructors advised. That advice was useless and I never achieved it, at least not consistently and not in conditions that challenge fore-aft balance (bumps, heavy crud, etc.)

The first time I consciously tried the PMTS foot-pullback move, a light exploded in my skiing brain. It works. It works in all conditions, including the most challenging. It allows the finest possible tuning. I can place or move my balance point wherever I choose, whenever I choose, by sliding my feet forward or back. I can gauge exactly where it is by being aware of where the pressure is along the arch of my stance foot. I can anticipate an upcoming terrain feature by sliding my feet forward or back before I hit it.

No need to actively tilt my hips. The feet do it all, powered by the hamstrings.
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Re: Moving Fore/aft Balance

Postby gaku » Tue Nov 03, 2015 7:00 pm

jbotti wrote:HH has made it abundantly clear time and time again that fore aft re balancing is done with the hamstrings which pull back the feet. There is no muscle to push your hips forward. In PMTS its all foot pull back.


J,

"There are no moving the hip forward muscles in the body. You have only the boots and the skis with which you can lever the hips into position ... You have to know or learn how to organize it once it gets projected. This is a very high end movement." - Harald Harb

Yes, the hips by themselves can't move forward, of course. But the adjacent soft tissue in the core can aid in fore/aft alignment of the CoM. The pelvic tilt, for instance, will affect shin and lumbosacral angle. This, in turn, will play a role in your stance over the ski. So, what I meant by "bringing the hips forward" - a common cue given to sprinters to fix pelvic tilt, rather than being a biomechanically correct statement --was not to "move the hips [hard tissue] forward", but rather to initiate forward movement through posteriorly tilting the pelvis by contracting the deep abdominal muscles and/or glutes.

This was just to clarify in case any confusion arose with my locution; below I explain how I came to such a conclusion.



Max,

Max_501 wrote:
gaku wrote:...but I got the impression you also actively adjust your pelvis position, particularly during the high-C, maybe for additional/further precision?


What did you read that gave you this idea?


The following quotes specifically [all taken from HH's first post]:

1. "You have to know or learn how to organize it once it gets projected. This is a very high end movement."

2. "I describe this in both my books as, “bring the feet back or pulling the feet back”, to hold them under the hips as the hips move forward and into a more direct route to the next turn. The hips move forward relative to the feet. "

And in particular this:

3. "... we tried to reference the heel pressure and how it related to pressure under the ski edge and where that pressure helped or created part of the turn. He realized that the beginning of the arc the hips needed to stay open (reference in this case to forward tilt). Open means not bent at the waist or at the pelvis. The stronger position is with open or un-flexed pelvis. He had the habit of leaning forward with the shoulders and upper body. This is a substitute for keeping the boots under the hips."

That part specifically made me think of the role of the pelvis in getting proper fore/aft balance initiating, during, and transfering out of turns. Furthermore, I linked this, and the notion of it being a "high-end movement", with the second statement above regarding "bring the feet back or pulling the feet back". I didn't, by error, consider feet pullback a high-end movement, but controling the pelvis during each stage of a turn [so as to let proper skeletal alignment absorb most of the gravitational and centripetal forces with minimal muscle effort [pelvic tilt: glutes / abdominal wall and pelvic floor muscles; feet pullback: firing of hamstrings, gastrocnemius and to a lesser degree glutes ] - now that I considered a high-end skill requiring one to achieve refined motor control and awareness of limbs in relation to the CoM and a slope's profile. So initially, I thought Harald was saying this was another - if not more efficient - at least optional, supplementary or substitutional way of achieving the same end goal.


4. "When you are in the optimal position for the beginning of the turn you will feel you hips applying pressure to the front of the boots through the shins." - Harald Harb

My immediate thought process went like this: By posteriorly tilting the pelvis you achieve a) ankle dorsiflexion [<90 degrees]. Your CoM thus gets propelled ahead of your BoS. Your weight shifts from midfoot (or, if in a squat [anterior pelvic tilt], from heel) to the ball of the feet by using smaller muscle groups (contraction of hamstrings/gastrocnemius during the foot-pullback requires more effort than a pelvic tilt).

In hindsight I think that, while it does affect where your CoG is, the dorsiflexion of the ankle restricts lateral mobility (not an issue in sprinting), and the lumbar position might be too weak to control the dynamic conditions of a slope as opposed to a flat surface - so the skeletal alignment, due to variables I didn't first consider (slope profile; lateral movement), achieved by pelvic tilt may be sup-optimal to the one achieved by feet pullback? That makes some sense to me. If not, why wouldn't actively monitoring the pelvis' position be beneficial in establishing fore/aft balance?
Last edited by gaku on Wed Nov 04, 2015 5:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Moving Fore/aft Balance

Postby jbotti » Tue Nov 03, 2015 9:35 pm

Gaku, you are welcome to do whatever you like with any skiing subject, but you are making something that is quite simple extremely complicated. The only reason Harald ever talks about the hip is that some people lean forward as a substitute for pulling the feet back. I know that if you asked 20 high end skiers (including Harald) about what they focus on when they get back (if only slightly) is one thing: strong, powerful, aggressive and quick foot/feet pull back.

Again you can make this as complicated as you like....
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Re: Moving Fore/aft Balance

Postby gaku » Wed Nov 04, 2015 5:26 am

jbotti wrote:Gaku, you are welcome to do whatever you like with any skiing subject, but you are making something that is quite simple extremely complicated. The only reason Harald ever talks about the hip is that some people lean forward as a substitute for pulling the feet back. I know that if you asked 20 high end skiers (including Harald) about what they focus on when they get back (if only slightly) is one thing: strong, powerful, aggressive and quick foot/feet pull back.

Again you can make this as complicated as you like....


Yeah, I read too much into it because of my interpretation of the aforementioned lines. A classical, kneejerk "AHA" moment. When I used to race my coaches reiterated (almost like a mantra) "arch your back" and "tuck your tailbone under your hips" (I used to develop good lateral angles, but fore/aft alignment was an issue) without proper explanation, so when I read this I associated it back to past experience, believing it explained my problems, the importance and function of pelvic control to ski performance.

Anyway, any discussion where one walks away a little bit wiser I consider a good discussion. Thank you for helping me reach the right conclusion on my own. :)
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Re: Moving Fore/aft Balance

Postby GThomas » Wed Nov 04, 2015 7:55 am

There are those of us who like to think matters through and come to our own understanding hopefully with help the correct one.
Reading gaku's posts it seemed to me he had knowledge from the past and was trying to reconcile matters within his own mind.
I am exploring a lot myself and if you told me how to do something I might then go and try to do the opposite because i like to find why this does not work, in the end what doesn't seem like progress for me all happens very fast once i've got that out of the way.
It has surprised me while looking for the boot fit I want, combined with stance and balance, how in my case sanding the zeppa down to remove the shaping "spring"? as well as every single mm of drop at the heel made very noticeable and significant changes to how into and on my feet I am and balanced between the foot and being within the cuff not pressured into the tongue or cuff.
Happily every alteration has not only improved the feeling of alignment and balance (static) but also the fit and comfort of the boots themselves (two pairs) and about to work on a Redster which unfortunately does not have a nice to sand zeppa
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Re: Moving Fore/aft Balance

Postby emakarios » Wed Nov 04, 2015 8:49 am

My experience of my own learning process and observation of others learning PMTS is that the approach of reconciling PMTS methodology with one's earlier understanding does not work well.
I can think of lots of reasons why, including the amount of time, energy and financial resources someone has invested in other systems.
The people who learn PMTS most efficiently and effectively are able to do the old "Etch a Sketch" eraser routine-ie, wipe the slate clean and be able to take a completely fresh look at PMTS.
The inability to do this appears to me to be one of the greatest hindrances to learning PMTS.
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Re: Moving Fore/aft Balance

Postby GThomas » Wed Nov 04, 2015 9:28 am

emakarios im sure what you say is true that an inability to break old habits and replace them with clean new skills results in slow or no progress. That is however not what I am saying about the way way I personally have found to be my own fastest way to doing this which while apparently slower to begin with has ultimately led me to being solid in four other sports a bit like the tortoise and the hare.
Then maybe I am lucky in that although I have not done this with skiing I have never had trouble with breaking habits, and for me it is simply before PMTS skiing did not exist there are no old habits there is simply time to go and learn how to ski and this is how you do it.. Don't you just love learning new things I do and I am really excited to go skiing next time and learn a whole new sport, but in learning this new sport I will find out, this is what I am supposed to do what happens when I don't do that ? aha yea that doesn't work so well, question was answered and im more solid in what does work because of it.
Not for everyone for sure
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Re: Moving Fore/aft Balance

Postby Max_501 » Wed Nov 04, 2015 10:15 am

GThomas wrote:Happily every alteration has not only improved the feeling of alignment and balance (static) but also the fit and comfort of the boots themselves (two pairs) and about to work on a Redster which unfortunately does not have a nice to sand zeppa


Unfortunately, using feeling for verification of success in equipment changes rarely works and when it comes to fore/aft boot work the system is rather complex. Here are a few things to consider:

1) How does improving STATIC balance and STATIC fore/aft alignment translate to the DYNAMIC requirements of skiing?

2) Did you improve static balance in a deep flex or standing tall?

3) Did you improve static balance with the boots in or out of the skis?

4) Did you improve static balance on a flat surface or on a slope?
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Re: Moving Fore/aft Balance

Postby gaku » Wed Nov 04, 2015 10:47 am

emakarios wrote:My experience of my own learning process and observation of others learning PMTS is that the approach of reconciling PMTS methodology with one's earlier understanding does not work well.
I can think of lots of reasons why, including the amount of time, energy and financial resources someone has invested in other systems.
The people who learn PMTS most efficiently and effectively are able to do the old "Etch a Sketch" eraser routine-ie, wipe the slate clean and be able to take a completely fresh look at PMTS.
The inability to do this appears to me to be one of the greatest hindrances to learning PMTS.


Emakarios,

I (like to think I) understand the principles behind PMTS. At the very least, I wholeheartedly agree with its philosophy, because it's based on efficiency - how do we optimise skeletal alignment so that muscular efforts to control centripetal and gravitational forces can be minimised? Flexing to release and feet pullback rather than extension are perfect examples of how to maintain apropriate balance and alignment without using unecessary muscle effort just to push oneself off balance, for instance. Upper body management is not seperate movements, but an integrated whole which moves to enable the lower body to develop angles. Ever since I started looking at skiing this way, as an interplay between internal and external forces, it has become abundantly clear where other training methods miss -- they tend to see each part as seperate units rather than a holistic whole, thus misconceptions and incompatible movements creep into their system.

I wasn't trying to cling onto my old mental models of skiing, though I realise it might have seemed that way(?). I gave up on those a long time ago. :lol: I thought, based on prior experience, that perhaps there was another element to PMTS I had missed along the way.

GThomas,

I think that's a fantastic way to learn, especially when you're conscious about it. Learning through second- or third-hand experience is never as effective as first-hand experience. Our logical brain can believe what we're told or what we see, but until our reptilian brain can verify that external information through experience/doing it, there will always be that disconnect or gap between what we believe and what we know. When you're conscious about it, not only do you avoid ingraining poor motor patterns, you also learn why it doesn't work, which makes you more receptible to a different paradigm. In fact, I would argue "to wipe a slate clean" it is necessary to first analyse old patterns and find out why they don't work in order to be able to dive wholeheartedly into and perservere with a new way of doing things that does require a step back initially.
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