Increase leg steering range

Most skiers get told one time or another by a coach that there is too much upper body or hip rotation in their skiing. This usually gives the skier a weaker edge support in the turn and poor body positioning over the skis. The result – A vulnerable and weaker set up for overall dynamic balance. Upper body or hip rotation is usually more apparent in one direction. Steering needs to come from the legs with the balls of the femur rotating inside the socket joint of the hips so that we can avoid twisting in the spine or at the knees. This allows the legs to steer past the fall line without the hips and upper body interfering.

In most cases skiers can step their feet around approximately 35 to 45 degrees across either side from the fall line. This means that when they steer from turn to turn and the steering of the skis is greater than say 35 or 45 degrees, the upper body will start to rotate.

The reasons for this are

General tightness in the muscles surrounding the hips
Skeletal issues leading to a lack of range or inability to rotate your legs
Many years skiing incorrectly without functioning leg steering

Our Solutions

Leg Steering Range Test

The ability to steer the legs independently from the hips is one of the most fundamental movements in skiing. This begins with the ball of the femur rotating inside the socket joint of the hip. We measured the range the outside leg is able to rotate inwardly (i.e. left leg steering inwardly towards the right) without the hips following.

The Range test checks the range at which you can steer your legs without rotating your hips. Please watch the following video for how to perform the test.

It’s common that most people have one side they can steer their legs more than the other and this is linked to identifying their weaker turning direction. This if often an indication of past injury, misalignment in the pelvis or muscular tightness.

Leg Steering Range Test
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Leg steering exercises on skis

There are numerous exercises on skis to help you steer your legs more effectively and calm down your upper body steering.

As you develop your leg steering you will find you have much more control which will help you unlock steeper, tighter, more challenging terrain. You will also be able to decide when to use your full range of leg steering and when to tone this down to achieve a different turn shape and output.

Please have a watch of the following video for a few great exercises to get you started.

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Leg steering off snow exercises

Check in with a strength and conditioning expert to work to achieve balance and help you gain a better range of flexibility in the hips, improved mobility and develop your stability and strength when moving in this way and using this range.

Classes such as yoga (or similar) targeted at improving flexibility and mobility in this area are fantastic too.

The video following has some key off-snow exercises from our resident S&C expert Dougie to get you started


Leg steering off snow exercises
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