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How to stop crouching while skiing?

shadoj

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
These words describe my experience exactly.

I'm the opposite, with chronically tight calf muscles, though it's less of an issue than when I was younger. Plenty of strength in my tibialis anterior, but do I have to pay attention to stretching & even relaxing my calves. Other joints are different -- I need to think about active engagement of my hamstrings for my hips. As a former gymnast & inline skater, you bet I can push into the tongues of my boots with my butt stuck out behind me, but I think I've finally gotten to the point where that now feels "wrong" on skis.

I'm really enjoying everyone else's advice, technical knowledge, and experiences. :smile:
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
The whole idea is to lean forward onto the tongues with butt up and forward. That hovers the body weight over the shin, which presses passively into the cuff, which levers the tip down.

Women tend to have most of their weight below the navel. They need to get that body weight forward so it hovers over the tongue, or even over the front of the ski. Thus butt up and forward, not back.

Most men don't have to do as much hips-up as women since a good portion of their body weight tends to be above the navel.

My hips and thighs are large and heavy; my shoulders and ribcage are exceedingly narrow. I've always worn two sizes smaller in tops compared with bottoms. I think this is why my dorsiflexion needs to be so strongly held onto (with hips up and forward) in order to keep the tips on the snow. Alternatively, pull the feet back, waaay back. That creates dorsiflexion as a default.

These are generalizations. There are exceptions.
 
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liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
True! But do be careful running downhill. You must, must must keep your feet under/behind your center of mass, or downhill running brings with it knee-destroying repetitive impact problems. Ask me how I know.

Same as on skis - commit the upper body ahead of the feet.

The cue that has worked for me when running downhill is to plant that landing foot as far back under the hips as you can get it. Technically, "under you" not out in front. It feels dangerous at first, but you won't make a face-plant. This means the body will stay ahead of the feet. Otherwise you are "overstriding," with each footplant being a braking move.

Planting the foot back, not in front, will help you to avoid landing with a braking jolt of pressure delivered straight up to the knee. This wears out the padding between the bones. Also, land "soft" with knee bent, never locked open, for the same reason.

If interested in speed, lengthen your stride behind you, never in front, in order to increase the time that foot is pushing back against the ground. Add a toe-off and you're race ready.
 

Abbi

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
The muscles at the front of your lower leg are the ones that bring your whole body forward. The movement in question is "dorsiflexion." It's also known as "closing the ankle." ... or bending forward at the ankle. The skier closest to us is dorsiflexing; the skier beyond isn't. You can tell by looking at the tilt of the lower leg.

Dorsiflexion — 919 Spine

A common mantra to say to yourself to remind you to dorsiflex is "Tongue-Shin". Put your shin against the tongue of the boot and keep it there as you ski.

Here are the muscles that dorsiflex the ankle:
Muscles of the Anterior Leg - Attachments - Actions - TeachMeAnatomy

Here are two exercises for strengthening those muscles
Thank you for posting the pics! This is a reminder that I need to get my bands out while I’m sitting inside today. My ankles plantar flex beautifully; unfortunately due to one thing and another over the many decades I have been on this earth they do not dorsiflex much anymore. So this reminder to work on them is welcome. :smile:
 

MissySki

Angel Diva
These words describe my experience exactly.
Me too! In my case I believe it is the length of my tibia vs femur (I have a long lower leg which makes my knees being too far forward stick me right in the backseat) along with my hypermobility. Now that I’m more used to my new stiffer boots, I’m appreciating them in relation to this stuff much more. Part of the reasoning for my bootfitter going stiffer with me and also having the 3 layer Booster strap is to try and hold my knee back as much as possible. Even with that it still helps me a lot to not allow myself to sink so much into my cuffs and to activate the tibialis muscle.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
I'm the opposite, with chronically tight calf muscles, though it's less of an issue than when I was younger. Plenty of strength in my tibialis anterior, but do I have to pay attention to stretching & even relaxing my calves. Other joints are different -- I need to think about active engagement of my hamstrings for my hips. As a former gymnast & inline skater, you bet I can push into the tongues of my boots with my butt stuck out behind me, but I think I've finally gotten to the point where that now feels "wrong" on skis.

I'm really enjoying everyone else's advice, technical knowledge, and experiences. :smile:
Have you done much with foam rolling for the calves?
 

Pequenita

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
@contesstant , I was reading your thread on SkiTalk, and wanted to chime in but by the time I had gotten to reading the thread, it had diverged beyond your original topic (although it seems to be back!). I often struggle with more general cues because often there are several ways to mimic a body position but not actually engage the right muscles to get to the position. And sometimes the cues just don't work out of context (like, a specific learning experience). Remember when “push the bush” was all the rage? When I hear that, I think swayback and extending the hips, not pelvic tilt and core engagement. It's not an instructor's fault, though, because students have different levels of understanding anatomy and movement.

@liquidfeet, I completely agree that any exercise needs to be done properly or there could be injury, repetitive stress or otherwise. Even squats done wrong can lead to knee issues. No bueno.

@shadoj, another (early childhood) gymnast with tight calves here. In fact, it's the only part of my body that is sore after early-season skiing. Go figure. I even go barefoot most of the time.
 

shadoj

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Have you done much with foam rolling for the calves?
Yep. That, a bumpy roller, and stretching. Things are pretty good now, so not a wad of knots anymore! Just got back from skiing and things felt great. My new skis really reward me when I'm forward, otherwise they just act "meh," but don't bite. I even managed to pay attention to my toes and when I activated my tibialis anterior! If anything, my peroneal (outside lower leg) muscles are the ones that flare up once and awhile. Tips for those?
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I'm beginning to think that this is one of the most misunderstood concepts in skiing!
I think that a way to describe it might be to say "flex the ankles INSIDE the boot using the muscles in your shin, ankle, and foot" vs. just "flex the ankles" which I always accomplished by moving my COM forward.

It has quite the impact on where the hips end up in the fore/aft plane.
 

Pequenita

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Weirdly, for me, I didn’t start to figure it out until I worked on not bracing my downhill leg on one of my turns. Once I started consciously bending that knee from the beginning of the turn, the ankle flexion was happening. It’s probably not the normal progression, though.
 

fgor

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Weirdly, for me, I didn’t start to figure it out until I worked on not bracing my downhill leg on one of my turns. Once I started consciously bending that knee from the beginning of the turn, the ankle flexion was happening. It’s probably not the normal progression, though.
I've had a similar progression near the end of my last season. Especially my right leg, i was bracing it a lot through turns which was causing all sorts of issues. Being repeatedly told to bend it, LOTS (what feels like lots of bending actually isn't!!), really helped make the entire turn smoother and helped my leg/ankle positioning and tipping and everything.

I must remember that for next season... it helped a lot of aspects of my turns!
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Soften the knee is a better cue, at least according to my husband. I used to do that, too. It's pretty common to brace that outside leg. I got over it pretty quickly and yes, dorsiflexing the foot kind of makes it impossible to brace that leg. Brace the ankle, let the knee flow.

Another thing I discovered last night while standing around in socks dorsiflexing to see what my leg and feet do is that my medial malleolus (inside ankle bone) canNOT collapse inward, which has been a huge complaint of mine and ironically of how my boots are fitting (or are not fitting) and also how my "footbeds are failing me". My loosey goosey feet are failing me, not my footbeds. Actively dorsiflexing does not allow my ankle to collapse inward. It's physically impossible.

How many high-level skiers have we all heard say "it's all in the feet!" and I'd sit there and just couldn't makes sense of it. Seems the athletic position in skiing comes from the feet and ankles much more than other activities. Maybe my thought process was always that the boots are so rigid, what could your feet possibly do? Now I'm starting to understand.
 

floatingyardsale

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Not an expert like you ladies, but I try to find my tall ski position in the kitchen by standing in front of the counter and flexing to touch my knees to the cabinets, just past my toes.

I think for me is about being comfortable in the position - it feels similar to 'ready' positions on other sports.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Not an expert like you ladies, but I try to find my tall ski position in the kitchen by standing in front of the counter and flexing to touch my knees to the cabinets, just past my toes.

I think for me is about being comfortable in the position - it feels similar to 'ready' positions on other sports.
Be careful not to go too far. What I learned doing knee rehab is that you really want to keep knees behind toes when knees are bent. Especially important when landing after jumping. Best to not feel comfortable with knees too far forward.
 

floatingyardsale

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Be careful not to go too far. What I learned doing knee rehab is that you really want to keep knees behind toes when knees are bent. Especially important when landing after jumping. Best to not feel comfortable with knees too far forward.
Definitely! That's why for me the counter works - you can get forward/down, but not too far forward.
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
A ski boot should not let your knee go beyond your toes. Or you're in too soft a boot.

Most skiers will not even come close to getting their knees beyond their toes.
 

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