Try to keep your feet ahead of your hips.
There's an additional move that comes before the main leg-push.
Usually the recovery from the previous stroke brings your hips higher on
a straighter leg. For a more effective leg-push, you need to
first drop down with a vertical move to bend your knee strongly.
In the V2 stroke cycle, the pole-push is made at the same time as
this vertical down-move with the legs.
This is seems impossible, but skating has some magic in it which can
take over wonderfully, if you learn to harness it. Try some
exercises to start feeling this magic. [ to be added ]
Some backward motion in the push may be inevitable sometimes, like
when climbing up a steep hill -- but keep working on getting that
sideways push, even when your skis are angled out wider.
Keep the hips square to the overall line of forward travel. If
you held a pole across the front of your hips, each end of the pole
would point straight at the side of the trail. If you had a
headlight mounted on your navel, it would point straight ahead down the
The shoulders and upper body stay in line with the hips.
Do not tip the shoulders or tilt the upper body to initiate the new
stroke. Keep the weight of the upper body centered over the hips
-- and directly over the pushing ski as long as possible to the start of
the main push of the leg. Initiating with a tilt of the shoulders
may feel like it is helping -- but actually it is weakening the power of
The mental picture of "toe-push" messes up the whole mechanics of the
stroke. It ties in with several bad tendencies which limit speed:
cutting out the knee-bend, leaning and turning the shoulders, weighting
the tip of the ski, and pushing backward instead of out to the side.
Keep working on exaggerating the feeling of pushing through the heel.
The deeper the knee bend, the longer the range of motion in the main
leg push. It taxes a special static strength in the legs.
But it's the key way to more speed in skating -- and a necessity for a
competing seriously in freestyle races.
For a serious racer, "deep" could be like a 105 degree angle between
the lower and the upper leg bones.
This deep knee bend position is hard on the muscles and joints of the
leg. So just knowing the concept is not enough -- doing it too
much too soon could result in injury. You need to follow a
well-designed specific training program for it, both on snow and
Unnecessary moves with your upper body might feel powerful and make
you look good, but they do not make you go any faster.
But not with a sharp bend at the hips -- see how a cat arches its
back. Like speedskaters on ice, but not as low.
The idea is to get the shoulders lower, but not shift the weight to
the tips of the skis.
Usually start it with the initial
knee-bend move, and get it over with quick so it doesn't get in the way of
Start the pole-push lower than a classic-style double pole motion,
and be careful not to allow your weight to move to your toe.
Keep the hands in closer to the chest, and not have them go so low
passing the legs as in classic-style double poling.
End the pole-push soon after the hands pass the hips. Don't
worry about full extension.
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