Learning how to move laterally and create angles in the body. This is a key factor in skiing and a movement range that many people struggle with especially on one side of the body. Our exercise will help identify and improve the range.
Usually we all favor either our left or right side of the body in many things in life. Because of this when learning to lean the legs or fall with the hips in each direction, we will naturally fall to one direction and have a restriction to the other. On the direction with the mental restriction you will normally see skiers leaning their head and shoulders across and not really moving the hip too much. There is also a physical issue that can affect the falling in each direction which is being tighter in the muscle groups down one side of the body in the legs, hips and lower back. Tightness in one side can restrict the range and speed someone can fall and lean their legs. The main issues are:
a. Left and Right sides of the brain can favor falling / leaning the legs in one direction more than the other and actually make us lack confidence in one direction
b. Tight muscles around the pelvis can create imbalance on one side of the body and can make us lack range of movement and speed of movement for falling / leaning
a. Body Angulation Test
Best thing to do first is a body angulation range test on each side of the body to see which side is tighter or lacks range. Do this by putting one foot across your body and use it to support your body weight. Then slowly let your legs lean and hip drop across towards the wall your hand is leaning against. As you lean you will normally find one side slightly tighter than the other. This is usually the side than needs extra work to help balance out your ski turns.
b. Dry land Falling / Leg Leaning training, literally practising falling with the hip against a wall on the weaker side
Put a pillow down the side of your trousers or fall against something soft. Try to build up repetition over time. Put in an extra set each time for the side that is tighter or less skilful.
c. Stretching out the muscles on the tighter side of the body to make falling easier
You can do this by following the same process as the range test but make it more of a stretch for the muscles concerned. Do this after exercise. 2 set of 20 seconds on each side with an extra set for the tighter side.
d. Hip and rib connection exercises on snow during your ski turning to help educate the skeleton and get it into the correct angles
If you connect the top of your hip with the bottom of your ribcage it will automatically pull the body into a good angle for leaning the legs and keeping the upper body upright. The hip and rib exercise avoids the upper body and shoulders leaning into to the turn.
The result is a much more equal falling / leg leaning action that will give you more consistent dynamics and turn shapes allowing you to increase speeds and ski steeper slopes with more variable conditions. Also, the risk of injury is greatly reduced because the angles you naturally falling into are biomechanically sound allowing the skeleton and muscles to work in relation with each other.
Click here to watch the video explanation of body angulation.