Dorsiflexion and its role in skiing

Discussion in 'Ski School' started by LiquidFeet, Jun 2, 2019.

  1. LiquidFeet

    LiquidFeet Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    Have at it, folks.
    Try to stay civil.
     
  2. Brian Finch

    Brian Finch PT, CSCS, Cert- DN, FRCms, M|WOD Coach Industry Insider

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  3. James

    James Skiing the powder Instructor

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    It's important. Like it is in walking.
    You can do both without, but not well.
    I said enough in the other. It needs to be defined what people are talking about.

    We should probably move the posts over from the adults flailing at carving thread.
     
  4. Thread Starter
    TS
    LiquidFeet

    LiquidFeet Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    C'mon. We can do this.
     
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  5. cosmoliu

    cosmoliu Out on the slopes Skier

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    I like the movement. When I find myself off balance in the bumps, I find that reminding myself and concentrating on that tension in my ankles/feet usually gets me back on track.

    (The other) Bob Barnes, previously of Winter Park, had a nifty demonstration of its effect. He had introduced the movement to our class and after we had played with it for a couple of runs, he popped off his skis, got on the snow and grabbed the tips of my skis. He asked me to pressure the boot tongues by leaning into them, then he quickly and vigorously pushed and pulled my skis straight back and forth. My body flopped back and forth from the ankles up, like a spring loaded sidewalk advertising sign in a brisk wind. Body leaning forward with a push back on the skis; body leaning back when he pulled the skis toward himself. He could have made me fall completely backwards if he had pulled the skis far enough. Then he asked me to dorsiflex my feet to press my shins against the boot tongues, then repeated the maneuver. The skis and I moved back and forth as a fixed unit. Though I still don't quite understand why this should work, I'm a believer. It might be the single most important tool in my bumps tool box.
     
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  6. CalG

    CalG Out on the slopes Skier

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    Some on this forum (Josh M. as one) have expressed appreciation for "Infinitely stiff" ski boots.
    Effectively reducing all effects of dorsiflexion to zero.

    I am not in that camp, but don't dismiss the reality that good skiing can come through a variety of movement patterns.
     
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  7. JESinstr

    JESinstr Lvl 3 1973 Skier

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    Muscle tension is control. Think about writing with a pencil. You use muscle tension in the fingers to control the pencil.

    But over time this control gets embedded in our autonomic nervous system as we become more and more proficient. I am sure you don't think about grabbing the pencil like you did when you first learned to write. But then you hit a gnarly set of bumps and go from automatic back to manual and re apply focus on gaining tension in the foot.

    You make a very important point when you suggest that dorsiflexion pulls the shin to the boot. If true, then we need to examine how the rest of the flex complex (knees and hips) react . In the end, it's all about achieving a stance that allows dynamic balance.

    Could it be in skiing that dorsiflexion can be thought of as more of a tension building, limited isometric ?
     
  8. Rod9301

    Rod9301 Out on the slopes Skier

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    I agree, when i pull my inside foot back, yes, i move the ski back some, but the stiffness of the boot and the slope angle prevent the movement.
    However, the tension created immediately pulls the foot back in the transition, so I'm balanced on it from the beginning of the turn.
     
  9. Fishbowl

    Fishbowl A Parallel Universe Skier

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    It’s something I ever feel the need to pay attention too. A natural occurrence rather than a focused movement?
     
  10. James

    James Skiing the powder Instructor

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    Yes, I think it is. This is a lot of the "functional tension" people refer to establishing say when you enter a crud zone.
    It tensions the leg. Supinates the foot, back of calf, lateral side of calf, medial side of knee and maybe hamstring. I think that's why the parlor trick on the mogul works.
    You can tension a lot of that while pronating-pressing along the big toe side. Or, tensioning the foot- like a sausage that plumps up. What the differences are, I don't know. I'm still pretty sure that actually moving into the boot, and flexing it, big musckes in the legs while that other stuff is tensioned.
    Don't know all the muscles involved in the "sway" function- standing upright, but they're involved in going into the boot.

    Keeping the tripod of the foot tensioned- foot in contact with the ground/bottom of boot is essential for balance.
     
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  11. Skisailor

    Skisailor Laziest Skier on the Mountain Team Gathermeister

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    This drill gets mentioned a lot.

    Interestingly, in my ski school, we’ve done it a lot in clinics. And I find that I am able to be completely quiet and stable as they violently move the skis fore and aft, without keeping my shins constantly against the boot tongue, but by using the range of motion of a flexible ankle while I focus on the location of my balance point on the bottom of my foot. I often watch colleagues who are “hanging on the equipment” - i.e. trying to keep constant pressure against the boot cuff - being tossed around as you describe.

    What about the days of leather boots before skiers COULD lean against their tall boots cuffs? Do you think the good skiers of those days would have failed in this drill? I don’t.

    So I think the ability to be successful in a drill like this is more complicated, and may be due to different factors having to do with the skier’s overall strategy for fore-aft balancing, rather than just the constant dorsiflexion frequently cited.

    I would submit that - yes - if you tend to balance over a part of your foot that limits your balancing movements, or if you typically use a pretty rigid ankle, you will definitely struggle with this drill. And then maybe you DO need to lean against the boot cuff to keep from getting tossed around.

    I know this will be a minority and probably unpopular perspective regarding this issue! :)
     
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  12. Tony S

    Tony S aka qcanoe Skier

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    If James were on TV he would be the long-suffering Holly on Red Dwarf. Holly was basically Hal + irony.

     
  13. Tony S

    Tony S aka qcanoe Skier

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    At least someone took the trouble to leave the apostrophe out of "its" in the thread title. That's something. Signed, Eeyore.
     
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  14. Thread Starter
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    LiquidFeet

    LiquidFeet Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    Did I do that? Getting old I am. Slipping.
     
  15. Tony S

    Tony S aka qcanoe Skier

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    It's supposed to be missing. It was a compliment. Sheesh.
     
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  16. Thread Starter
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    LiquidFeet

    LiquidFeet Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    OH. I read your post wrong. I thought you said someone took the trouble to take the apostrophe out for me.
    Boy I need to get some sleep. G'nite all.
     
  17. Beartown

    Beartown Chasing the dragon Skier

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    Any ideas what one should do in the case of limited dorsiflexion? I recently discovered (with a great bootfitter in Taos) that I have some of the most limited dorsiflexion around (1.5" on the wall test, compared to a normal of about 5"). This answered so many questions about why I walk kinda funny, why I can't really do squats, why I can't stand up from sitting on a snowboard facing downhill, etc. Still working to improve, but no demonstrable results after about 3 months.

    In any case, what does the peanut gallery recommend? I've heard both yes and no to heel lifts, but I'm giving them a try. What about boot stiffness? Should I get super stiff boots to help translate what little dorsiflexion I have into pressure on the shovels? If it's this bad, shoud I just give up skiing and take up knitting?
     
  18. James

    James Skiing the powder Instructor

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    See, everything's fine. Apostrophe's wander off in the night. They'll come back.
    What did the great one suggest?
    Seems like you'd want to set up zeppa ramp (boot board) and forward lean so you can make use of the limited motion. Plus a stiff flex. You might benefit from a more forward or even center mounted ski.
    Can it be improved with pt?
     
  19. CS2-6

    CS2-6 >50% Chicken Fried Steak w/w Skier

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    I'm just stopping in to say two things:

    1) Red Dwarf rules (I haven't watched the new stuff, purely out of trepidation) and I will fall all over myself to praise anyone's reference to that fantastic sci-fi sitcom

    2) This has absolutely been my experience. Pressuring the tips at turn initiation, flexion-to-release, and pulling my heels back under my butt were three critical kinesthetic lessons that all came to me as a group and really changed my bump skiing (for the better).

    That's all.
     
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  20. Brian Finch

    Brian Finch PT, CSCS, Cert- DN, FRCms, M|WOD Coach Industry Insider

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    We’re really robust as athletes!!!! Work on your dorsiflexion daily - it will that 12-16 weeks to really change tissue length.

    Otherwise just do ski in a set up you like- you can’t eliminate stress in the body, you just move it around. Likely your thoracic spine, lumbar, knees hips and feet are already picking up the slack. :)
     

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