- A mental image that helps me and other folks to avoid touching our
new glide ski down before the leg-push is complete:
"Think of kicking a soccer ball which is out in front of
- An image that helps some folks move out over the next leg-push
"Line up your nose directly over your knee and the toe
of your boot which is on the gliding ski."
- An image that helps some folks recover their hips back forward
before starting the next leg-push:
"Move your hips high and forward." (more
But knowing and using these images is not a substitute for working
through the Exercises to learn
And it's pretty hard to be successful with the exercises without
(unconsciously?) doing the things these mental images are designed to
help promote. These images are mostly to give ideas that might
help succeed with the exercises -- not more things to be learned
in addition to the exercises.
- It's pretty difficult to commit sideways
to the new leg-push ski if I do not first recover my hip forward
to over my leg-push foot.
- - Some skiers lift their leg-push foot all the way off the snow
after the leg-push briefly -- but then they quickly put it down
again behind the other foot -- before they finish the next leg-push
with the other foot.
- - Other skiers never lift their previous leg-push toe off the snow at all.
- This is tricky for several reasons -- so best learned with a good
- - I can't see myself from the side, so it's hard to know if I'm
- - It feels more stable and comfortable with my previous leg-push
foot touching the snow out behind me, because in the basic physics of
balance I am more stable with some weight on my other foot
- - It takes work with my leg muscles to bring my hips
forward. I instinctively want to reserve my leg-strength for
other things, so I unconsciously avoid it.
- - If the hips are back, there's a temptation to have the weight
back on the heel at the start of the kick -- bad for
- Many skiers find that in order to learn this, they need to think of
moving their hip joint high, not just forward.
- - Normally the two have to go together, the forward and the
upward. It's just the way the hip joint and bone and knee joint
- - Perhaps thinking of "move the hip high" makes it
sound like lifting, which sounds like muscular work. And that
helps make it really happen, because it can't happen without work.
- - Many skiers do not have the leg-strength to support their upper
body weight on a strongly-flexed knee for a large percentage of the
stroke cycle. A higher hip position helps them conserve leg
- There are some other benefits to moving the hips and upper body
- - The movement of extending the knee joint to lift the
hips forward helps pump more blood through the big leg muscles, so
there is less lactic acid build-up than if they held a static position
with their legs.
- - It's a second way to use the powerful quadriceps leg muscles to
add power to classic striding. Because after weight of the hips
and upper body has been lifted higher, it adds more power when it
drops back down to help drive the start of the pole-push. (The
first way is the extension of the knee joint during the later part of
- Recently (in 2002) some racing coaches have been saying that
moving the hip high is a hindrance to speed or efficiency -- rather the more knee-bend, the more leg-push power.
- - I doubt this new racing idea has much relevance for non-racers.
- - for more on this, see High
Hips : good or bad?
- The hip does not stay high through the whole stroke.
- - The knee must bend for best use of the big leg muscles.
- - The hip must move back and down to the end of the leg-push,
otherwise the ski would have to come off the snow, and the leg-push
would be cut short.
- Why not lean the shoulders and upper body forward?
- - Actually this can help for some aspects of striding.
- - But it can put strain on the back muscles.
- - It doesn't solve the problem of having some weight back on the
previous leg-push ski.
- - So it can be a trap for avoiding the critical issue.
- If I want to lean down on a near-vertical pole for balance, I do it before
I start my next leg-push.
I get out of balance lots of times in my ski
striding (doesn't everybody?). Leaning down on a near-vertical
pole is often a helpful way to recover from that. But if I do
that lean during my leg-push, it reduces my grip friction. [
It provides a natural time for me to get in the
habit of making those "lean on a near-vertical pole for
balance-recovery" moves -- without hindering my grip
A key advantage of offsetting the timing of my pole-push
initiation from my leg-push is that it gets through the more
vertical part of the pole-push before the leg-push begins (see the offset
pole initiation diagram). Then
during most of the leg-push phase the pole-push is more angled back. See the
Offset Pole Timing "secret", and these diagrams: offset
kick initiation - finish
This also allows me to use a larger range of motion
in my pole-push stroke -- without hindering my grip friction -- so my
pole-push can deliver more forward-moving energy.
- If your pole timing is that you start your leg-push simultaneous with
the start of your pole-push -- then plant the tip of your pole well back
behind your foot.
This pole timing is used by elite racers when climbing up a steep
hill. But many skiers use it all the time because it's
simple -- and they have not learned the Offset
Pole Timing "secret".
angling the pole further backward, less of my pole-push goes into
pushing my body upward -- which opposes body-weight down-force on the grip of the
leg-push ski -- and more of my pole-push goes into pushing me
forward. Compare the second
pole angle diagram (bad for synchronized) with the third
pole angle diagram (not as bad, though not as good as offset).
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