Saturday, December 28, 2013

Rodion 2 - Fixing Rodion’s Hips

Cause and Effect

This morning I reminded Rodion that skiing is based only on two things; dynamics and skating. “Facing downhill” comes as a result of skating and not from trying to “face downhill”. It is important to identify “cause” and “effect” correctly. You do not TRY to face downhill. You don not drop your hips into the turn. Hip angulation comes from skating the ski out away from the body at the start of the turn and from holding the body down and inside the turn as it continues and the ski comes back around in front . The skier is simply trying to skate downhill and so ends up facing downhill for a natural and strong skating action.


Skating up from the downhill leg and then skating the top leg forwards. This exercise generates independent leg action and a strong pressure against one ski at a time. Part of Rodion’s problem is that he has been skiing on two feet all the time – forgetting that he originally learned to ski through skating. Here we separate the actions of the legs and part of the result is that the body remains facing downhill. Skating the top ski out helps permit the body to fall into the new turn.


Skiing with skis diverging

We skied as an exercise with the skis constantly diverging. This was also to help overcome the tendency of Timothy to stem (converge) his skis. Keeping the skis diverging forces you to skate to make the transition from one turn to another.

Adding arms moving to the inside

After skiing for a while we added the exercise that had been used yesterday – bringing the arms towards the inside of the turn. This is to help to drive the centre of mass down and inside the turn more strongly.

3D and carving

I explained in more depth to Rodian about the 3D “velodrome” effect so that he would be better able to relate this to the arms coming inside the turn. I wanted to see all of the above elements during his skiing – the dynamics and skating on every turn – working every turn. Rodion has a tendency to just go lazy and not work the skis when there is no apparent need to.

Chi Hips

We spent some time trying to develop upper/lower body separation by pulling the hip  (outside leg) back as the ski was skated forwards. Rodion really struggled with this. When he was skiing yesterday I noticed that his hip moves in the wrong direction  following the foot and ski. This leads to rotation at times and to “blocking” – facing downhill at the best of times. It can also damage the lower back over time. I noticed that Rodion’s posture problems were making it too difficult for him to feel this hip motion and the twisting of the spine up to the bottom ribs (12th thoracic vertebra). The lower spine needs to twist in the same direction as the turn – opening up the space between the pelvis and the ribs. Most people automatically allow the spine to twist opposite to the turn and compress the ribs close to the pelvis and loose all support from the core muscles.


Indoors we worked for a while on Rodion’s postural awareness. He was not in fact able to separate the movement above the pelvis from movements below it. His strongest tendency is to bend the back, both forwards (round) or backwards (hollow) instead of bending at the hip joints.

He needs to create “neutral pelvis” by tilting the pelvis up at the front – (flattening his stomach and straightening the lower back - slight hollow is desirable).  Next he has to maintain the relationship between the pelvis and the lower back while bending at the hips and relaxing the hips – without losing “neutral pelvis” in relation to the spine. When this can be done then the “chi hips” are possible and turn transitions become much more effective and the core muscles are used very actively. The core muscles then tighten during a turn and protect the lower back and well as powerfully connecting the upper and lower body. Rodion needs to develop awareness and understanding of this part of the body because it is the source of power in athletic actions.


Major traffic jam tonight half way up to La Plagne at 9pm!

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