Thursday, May 31, 2007

Dryland Training Drill: Recover into Balance!

***UPDATE: Megan brought up a good point that I want to make sure and share with you regarding this type of training... Once you have gone past the point of recovery, you should NOT fight to save yourself, but take the fall. Let go, and fall. Otherwise, you can really hurt yourself over stressing your tendons in your knees while you try to overcome the force of the fall.***

These drills are meant to train the core and stability muscles to recognize "uh, oh!" the second you get out of balance, and recover back into balance, before the bobble becomes a full-blown fall.

Knowing when to recover, and when to let go... well, that's beyond my expertise at this point. My suggestion is to listen to your body, and utilize those well trained core and stability muscles to hold and get back in balance quickly. If it doesn't happen, let go, and take the tumble!

So I have been working a lot on one footed balance, and I was thinking about what we need to do to stay or get back in balance. Michael Hickey, my amazing coach, told me a story about watching Stenmark come around a gate, and one of his skis came up off the snow. He was able to complete the turn, without loosing speed, and force that free foot back down, just where it belongs, and make the next gate.

How oh HOW do we train for that sort of compensorial core strength? So I came up with an idea, a series of exercises on the Bosu ball (which simulates the ever changing snow surface) and a 12lb medicine ball, which simulates the force of your direction of fall.

In this video clip, we are saying that Liat (who should be just a TAD more in the front seat) got too far forward, and in an effort not to go over the handlebars, lifted a ski. Then we froze her. She holds the ball in front of her so there is continual force in the direction of the fall, and her leg to the side, as this was her immediate reaction to compensate.

Now, she holds this position for one minute, the theory being that all of her recovery muscles are engaged and actively firing as the standing foot wobbles on the ball. This way, the next time she is in this position, her recovery muscles are strong, and used to stopping the motion JUST after it happens, allowing her a moment to pull it all back into balance.

This is the first in a series of 12 or so "fall freeze" exercises that I have been training with, I'll post more as I get the videos compressed!

Thoughts? Input? More ideas? Discuss!

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