• Women skiers, this is the place for you -- an online community without the male-orientation you'll find in conventional ski magazines and internet ski forums. At TheSkiDiva.com, you can connect with other women to talk about skiing in a way that you can relate to, about things that you find of interest. Be sure to join our community to participate (women only, please!). Registration is fast and simple. Just be sure to add webmaster@theskidiva.com to your address book so your registration activation emails won't be routed as spam. And please give careful consideration to your user name -- it will not be changed once your registration is confirmed.

Help Needed: Help Understanding Correct Stance/Posture

SallyCat

Moderator
Staff member
#1
I could use some help understanding how to get out of the back seat and ski with proper form (I know, just one tiny question, right!?) :noidea:

This Youtube video makes perfect sense to me in terms of pelvic tilt, but I have no idea how to make that happen when I'm skiing. It feels awkward and unnatural, and I can't really tell if/when I'm in a productive stance. I feel like I have a sense of where my weight should be on my feet, but that my upper body messes things up and pulls me backward.


I don't have any physical or visual cues to help me feel/see what I should be doing with my hips/core in the moment. I've asked instructors during lessons, but the answers seemed ambiguous. I never really understand what it is that puts me in the correct ("yes, that's good") vs. incorrect stance ("more forward balance"), and of course what I do standing next to an instructor falls apart in practice.

I'm really just looking for some tangible cue that I can use to get myself (particularly my hips and torso) into the right position.

I had a great day Wednesday really focusing on my feet and feeling the energy of the skis pop and shoot me into the next turn. It was awesome, but it only happened on really easy stretches, and I think I got away with crouching rather than being properly centered. Anything steep or choppy and the backward sloppiness ensued. Then the next day I messed with my boots to deal with some movement, ended up with heel lifts, and it was backseat-driver all over again, horribly so. The lifts are gone, boot fit is still in progress, but I still really don't feel like I have a solid understanding of what my posture should be.

(I'm sure there's information on this in the forum, but I may not be using the correct search terms, so I'd be grateful for any relevant links).

Thank you Divas, for any guidance!
 

Gloria

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#2
Alot of times that posture comes from too much forward lean in your boots which tips the pelvis and then causes you to throw your shoulders back to balance. It seems it got worse with heel lifts so that might be a good place to start.
 

Little Lightning

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#3
Thanks for posting this as I've struggled with this for years. I had one ski instructor talk about stacking my joints. I thought I was doing it but I'm not. Last month I learned to touch my toes. I say learned because it's a basic movement I don't ever remember being able to do even as a kid. Yes, there is a procedure to help people learn this. The outcome, however, is that I'm now using my core for movements instead of my legs. Because this is not a natural movement for me I have to think through the movements. Move my hips first allowing my upper body to move forward then bend my knees. If I engage my core my hips tuck under without thinking about it. Before I bent my knees 1st which caused me to bend at the waist and then move my hips. To demonstrate, stand up against a wall. Try to toe touch . It's difficult to do, you can't move the hips and you end up bending your knees and bending at the waist. Now do a toe touch and you can see the difference. The hips are free to move 1st. and the upper body and knees naturally follow through.

I haven't skied yet this year planning on going next week so it'll be interesting to see the difference. I'm also working with a Functional Movement Personal trainer. The trainer said I need to disassociate my core from my legs and the toe touch appears to be helping with that.

I also read on a how to ski website that skiers use the pattern of using the legs instead of the core because they are intimidated by the slope. In my case that simply is not true. The recommendation was to try the different movements in a variety of situations.
 

Little Lightning

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#4
Thanks for posting this as I've struggled with this for years. I had one ski instructor talk about stacking my joints. I thought I was doing it but I'm not. Last month I learned to touch my toes. I say learned because it's a basic movement I don't ever remember being able to do even as a kid. Yes, there is a procedure to help people learn this. The outcome, however, is that I'm now using my core for movements instead of my legs. Because this is not a natural movement for me I have to think through the movements. Move my hips first allowing my upper body to move forward then bend my knees. If I engage my core my hips tuck under without thinking about it. Before I bent my knees 1st which caused me to bend at the waist and then move my hips. To demonstrate, stand up against a wall. Try to toe touch . It's difficult to do, you can't move the hips and you end up bending your knees and bending at the waist. Now do a toe touch and you can see the difference. The hips are free to move 1st. and the upper body and knees naturally follow through.

I haven't skied yet this year planning on going next week so it'll be interesting to see the difference. I'm also working with a Functional Movement Personal trainer. The trainer said I need to disassociate my core from my legs and the toe touch appears to be helping with that.

I also read on a how to ski website that skiers use the pattern of using the legs instead of the core because they are intimidated by the slope. In my case that simply is not true. The recommendation was to try the different movements in a variety of situations.
I also need to add that I have a tendency to lean forward (head shoulders, hips and knees beyond my ankles) but my trainer keeps telling me to lean back until my joints align with my ankles. I feel like I'm going to fall over backwards. If I stand with my feet together and think of a string pulling my head up and moving back into an aligned position I can close my eyes and stand very solid without swaying. I didn't time it but one day I stood for about 10 min like that. I tried it using legs instead of using alignment and started swaying immediately. I think the woman in the video is using muscles instead of joints and that's why she's having issues.
 

bounceswoosh

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#5
I just learned about pelvic tilt last season. I think some instructors were trying to get me there before that, but I didn't understand them. My fave instructor Jenn can always identify when I'm not doing it, which is amazing to me through all those layers of clothes!

Here are a couple of post relaying what Jenn taught me about tucking your pelvis. The entire post is filled with good nuggets from Jenn - you can click on the "up" arrow at the top of the quote to see the rest.

Tuck your pelvis: Apparently this is a big issue for the ladies. You might be familiar with this move from yoga. Women tend toward a “T and A” position (back arched, butt and boobs sticking out) for some reason. Jenn joked (?) that maybe male instructors don’t *want* to fix this in women’s skiing. Anyway, I never thought I had this issue until I started trying to counteract it. That’s when I really started noticing that I would arch my back the second I wasn’t consciously focused on keeping that pelvis tucked. I even have a homework assignment: a couple of times a day, lie on a bed or other flat surface with my legs dangling off, and practice tucking my pelvis so that my lower back is pushed against the surface. I was able to do this readily by firing my glutes, but I need to learn to do this just with my abdomen. Two reasons - 1) why use muscles you don’t need to use? 2) if you’re firing your glutes, there’s a brief delay before you can use them again, so it interferes with technique. She pretend to punch toward my lower abdomen - between belly button and groin - and that seemed to trigger the right muscles as I tensed. I complained to Jenn that when I remembered to tuck my pelvis, I forgot to initiate my turn with my CoM, and vice versa. She said that the most important piece was to tuck my pelvis, which would stabilize my core (which would produce the “stable upper body” instructors are always talking about).
But as for the concern about sticking out your butt, you can think of tucking your tailbone the way that you do, say, in yoga when you are rolling back down vertebrae after vertebrae when releasing from bridge pose. Or in the cat part of cat/cow. Um, there's probably a better way to describe this that I'm not getting at. That was another Jenn thing that I'm still working on incorporating. These days, if I pay attention, I can feel when I'm arching my back and need to tuck my pelvis.
 

Little Lightning

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#6
I also need to add that I have a tendency to lean forward (head shoulders, hips and knees beyond my ankles) but my trainer keeps telling me to lean back until my joints align with my ankles. I feel like I'm going to fall over backwards. If I stand with my feet together and think of a string pulling my head up and moving back into an aligned position I can close my eyes and stand very solid without swaying. I didn't time it but one day I stood for about 10 min like that. I tried it using legs instead of using alignment and started swaying immediately. I think the woman in the video is using muscles instead of joints and that's why she's having issues.
One more then I quit. According to my Pilates book proper alignment is a straight line from the front of the shoulders, down through the hips and the back of the knee. I tested my alignment by kneeling so I could see myself sideways in a full length mirror. Kneeling takes the legs out of the equation. I thought I looked pretty good but I thought I'd check. I took a yardstick and aligned it with the front of my shoulder (rolled back and down) and the back of my knee. The first thing I noticed was the yardstick wasn't vertical. I moved my torso back, no pelvic tilt in the back, until the yardstick was vertical. The movement caused my abs and glutes to engage without thinking about them. Right now this is the goal of my training, to get muscles to engage at the proper time, and it's exciting for me to see my body responding. I can see there is a lot of work to do with this.
 

Kimmyt

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#7
For me, the key to getting proper pelvic tilt (I like so many other women struggle with anterior pt) is to imagine a string going from my pubic symphysis to the toes of my boots. Its a micro-movement but I've worked on it enough that I can cue it while I ski. If you do yoga, its a mini version of cat/cow focused only on the sacrum/pelvis.
 

bounceswoosh

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#9
OK, one of us that has been around for awhile will have to say it:

Push the bush.....
Thing is, I was told that for years, and it didn't make any sense ... it's a cute term, but either it works for you, or it doesn't. Jenn was trying to get me to use my core, not my glutes, to make this adjustment. To me, "push the bush" is a movement that happens from the glutes.
 

Gloria

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#10
The spine has 2 natural curves, thoracic and lumbar. A neutral pelvis does not take the curvature out of your lumbar spine, the curvature works with your pelvis to distribute load and acts as a shock absorber. Flattening the lumbar spine and then asking it to absorb load, uneven surfaces etc is like jackhammering your discs number one and pretty much physically impossible to hinge at the hips leading to thoracic extension instead. If you are overflexed in the lumbar spine try tipping your ribs down towards your pelvis and stacking the rings ie edge of  ribcage over edge of pelvis instead of flattening out the lower back.
 

Pequenita

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#11
Um. There are more than 2 natural curves in the spine.

When it comes to core engagement, a couple other ways to think about it are making the space between the pubic bone and belly button "shorter," and/or drawing the tailbone/scrubbing buttocks flesh down towards the heels (rather than tucking). Both should cause the same movement, but sometimes different words make more sense.
 

Little Lightning

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#12
Also remember that idiosyncrasies with your body can cause issues too. My physical therapist showed me how tight my hip flexor are. He told me to do the half kneeling stretch where you move forward. That stretch has never worked for me. I feel my quads instead. My trainer gave me an entirely different exercise. I did it about 15 minutes ago and my hip flexors are still whining. The big one is every physical therapist and trainer I've ever had tells me the reason for not being able to touch my toes is that my hamstrings are tight. However, my hamstring flexibility tests out fine. I just needed to retrain my movement patterns. Bottom line is to do your research and find someone who can help you sort out how your body moves. I'm convinced that good movement will improve your ability no matter what the sport.
 

Powgirl

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#13
Sallycat...so glad I am not the only one that struggles with this...I am reading along with great interest.

The only thing I can say that has helped me is getting my core good and strong...I ski a whole lot better when my core is strong....
 

SallyCat

Moderator
Staff member
#14
Thanks, everyone! This has been illuminating, and I understand that it's going to take some hard work; so it looks like I'm starting the season with a solid goal: work on my stance, and find a good instructor asap.

I'm also adjusting to "performance fit" boots, which has been a struggle, so this season is not getting off to the idyllic start I'd hope for, but that's ok; I'm determined that this will be a year of hard work and hopefully improvement.
 
#16
Meant to add - all of the above advice is really good advice. I especially like the idea of a strong core as being helpful, especially when moving off the groomed runs. But getting out of the back seat by skiing with matching angles - as described by Ursula in the thread I linked to - does not require a skier to be particularly strong or flexible. It doesn't require special exercises. But it does take the commitment and patience to practice in easy terrain until you start to get the feeling into your body and can reliably reproduce the matching angles whether fully flexed, standing tall or being in a middle position, before moving to more difficult terrain.
 
#17
Hi Sallycat. :smile:

Here is one of the best posts ever about how to get out of the back seat and dial in your skiing stance. By all means - read the whole thread - but take special note of Ursula's post on page 2 with the stick figure pictures.

Enjoy!

http://www.theskidiva.com/forums/index.php?threads/some-ski-porn-for-us-snow-deprived.18334/page-2
I need a reality check with @Ursula and you! Hmm wonder if i'm in the back seat. Don't really get quad burn unless I am in deep powder and know I'm in the back seat, but ?....probably long overdue for a lesson/update... Do I need to go to Big Sky? Wouldn't mind!
 

Members Online