Flex and Extend

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Flex and Extend

Postby Max » Mon Jan 10, 2005 11:02 pm

Is there a sequence of pictures in one of the books or videos that does a good job of showing the flex and extend in action?

Can someone describe the flexing move in excruciating detail? Is it something that can be done in off snow training?

Flexing and Extending

Postby Joseph » Mon Jan 10, 2005 11:43 pm

This is easily one of the most confusing and misunderstood concepts in skiing. How do we do it without the ill advised and innefficient up move?

The first step is always the flex to release. This is crucial in both how you release the old turn and how you begin to engage the new stance ski. When one thinks of flexing to release, it is important to remember that in PMTS, each part of the body has an independant job at each phase in the turn. One of the hangups that I have seen as a coach is that some people tend to think of flexing to release as being a function performed by the legs (plural). If you have created leg angles in the turn, the inside leg is already bent and flexed. The outside leg is the one that is extended and resisting the forces of the previous turn. This is where a skier can flex to release most efficiently. If one were to flex both legs at the end of the turn, they would be making an extra move--they flex down with the new stance foot only to extend it shortly thereafter in the new turn. Remember that PMTS is about efficiency. By flexing the old stance leg at turn completion, you can use the force of the old turn to draw your body across the skis without going up or down (in the case of the two legged flexer).

Intermediate skiers beware. This is an expert skiing move! To access this movement in your own skiing, you must first learn to flex the legs in transition. If you ski very tall, have a problem with flexing in general, or do not create enough edge angle for there to be a significant difference in the length of the stance foot leg and free foot leg, then you are not ready for this move. Learning to flex at all in the release is paramount, then a skier can worry about flexing only the outside leg to release.

To the experts out there. Be careful not to hang on the little toe edge too long in transiton as you tip the new free foot. That will create a delay, blocking the momentum of the previous turn from taking you into the new turn. In essence this becomes like a kind of passive up move. On a shaped ski the little toe edge will want to track you slightly uphill too.

Now that you have allowed your body to move across the skis, there are a few important things to remember as you start to think about extending your new stance ski leg. The first and most important thing by far, is that the edge of the new stance ski must be engaged before a skier begins to extend the new stance leg. This is critical. A balance platform must be established before the leg gets longer. If you haven't established the edge, there is nothing to balance against. The result will be a washed out stance ski and pressure dumping to the inside--not so hot. Bear in mind that you will have little success establishing the new stance ski's edge without proper counterbalancing early in the turn.

The skis must be tipped over on edge as well. If your ski is relatively flat and there are no angles, the extention will amount to a push on the stance ski. A ski is a platform on which to stand and balance, not push. The extention should come at an angle to the slope, not vertical to it--that is an up move every time. In order for this to happen early in the "high C" part of the turn, one must release the old stance leg so that the hips come over the ski at release and into the the new turn early, otherwise there are no angles to the slope. In order for the extention to be smooth and efficient, the release must first be efficient and smooth.

So how does an intermediate skier begin to access this move? Start by flexing to release. If you are tipping the new free foot to start the new turn--Great! You're already on your way. Practice with the super phantom move will help speed you down the path. Other exercises in the books that will aid in this quest are the ball control exercises and the one and two footed releases in book II. Counterbalancing early in the turn is also critical to engaging the new stance ski early in the turn. Only when your release is smooth and you are developing counterbalancing movements very early in the new turn should you even begin to worry about how to extend the stance leg. For most skiers it is sufficient to simply balance and stand on the stance ski until they learn to engage the ski in the "high C" part of the turn.

This is a true refinement for the true expert skier, do not get bogged down in this unless you already have a solid command of the super phantom move and good counterbalacing skills early in the turn. It is a pursuit to be sure, but a worthy one--and nobody does it quite like HH.


Postby patprof65 » Tue Jan 11, 2005 6:15 am

Great, thorough, helpful post Joseph! Thanks.javascript:emoticon(':lol:')
Pat Ryan

Postby Max » Tue Jan 11, 2005 8:15 am

Great explanation, thanks!

Postby Max » Tue Jan 11, 2005 9:03 am

Does the Skiers Edge machine do a decent job of simulating the flex and extend movement?

Postby Hobbit » Tue Jan 11, 2005 12:34 pm

I don?t think the Skiers Edge will be of any help here and I?ll try to explain why below. But before I do I?d like to thank Joseph for an excellent detailed explanation. Also I?d like to share my experiences on learning extension / flexion move . Beware that I am not a coach but just a hack ;) .

My observation is that to some people it comes easy and to some it does not (myself included). For me it was always a chicken / egg problem. In order to flex well you?ve got to be extended (stance foot) well. Getting extended was my problem and it relates in my case to the balance skills. You might get extended by pushing your stance foot, but I think that the right way to do it is by getting into the state of temporary imbalance (like falling forward) and using this temporary imbalance to your advantage. In this case you can extend easily without applying much pressure to the ski. I think I can do it from the static traverse by countering my hips first (show your back to the imaginary slalom pole) and then pulling the stance leg back by using a hamstring muscle. When you feel like you are ?falling forward? use this temporary imbalance to extend your stance foot. You are going to need your balance skills when ?falling forward?. I am describing my own sensations, so I am aware that this would not necessarily apply to everyone. So in the end it boils down to the balancing skills or I would say to the ability to cause a state of imbalance in aft/fore direction and use it to your advantage. During the normal transition gravity (?using the force?) will help you to get forward over the skis, but you got to be searching for this ?falling forward? feeling in order to extend easily.

When you walk into Harald?s shop there are all the wonderful skis and boots and to the left on the floor are all those ?ugly? balancing devices (tipping boards and wobble boards). Just have no illusion ? you?ll be able to manage the skis well only if you are capable of managing these balancing challenges. I would say 30 seconds balancing on a tipping board at a time and at least 5 seconds balancing on the round wobble board. I am pretty sure that all PMTS coaches will do much better then that. Flexion / extension are all about dynamic balance. I think that the Skiers Edge is just a leg conditioner machine. It has no aft/fore dimension in the move range and will not help in my opinion. I believe that the best way to experience the extension / flexion sensations through the ski simulation device is by using Harb Carvers.
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Postby Max » Tue Jan 11, 2005 4:43 pm

Slight correction. With the addition of the slope simulator the Skiers Edge has lots of fore/aft movement. It's quite a challenge to balance when you are going back an forth. MUCH harder than my wobble board. Its fun too.

Postby Hobbit » Tue Jan 11, 2005 7:02 pm

Looks like you have the machine with this option. Let us know how does it work in simulating flex / extend move.
I know I can do it on carvers for sure.
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Postby Max » Tue Jan 11, 2005 9:39 pm

I'm not sure how well it simulates the flex/extend move because I've never been with a PMTS expert that does it. I only know what I've gleamed from the 3 books and the 3 videos and reading the threads in this forum.

That's why I was hoping that one of the experts could tell us. Perhaps Harald will let us know, he recommends the Skier's Edge in one of his books.

Postby Joseph » Wed Jan 12, 2005 4:08 pm

The skiers edge is a great tool. But like any can be misused. I cannot vouch for the newer model with slope simulator as I have not ridden one. I can only comment on the older model.

First, be careful not to let your head move. When I train on one of the skier's edge machines, I like to do it with a light behind me so I can see my shadow. You can even draw a line on the wall if you're in the basement.

Second, in order to more accurately simulate PMTS, instead of pushing with the outside leg, try pulling the inside foot under your body once you get a little momentum going. This actually seems to allow you to go a little faster on the machine without pushing.

The Skier's Edge generates more of a retraction type turn than a PMTS flexion and extention, but it is a great tool for learning how to flex the legs and allow them to come under the body.

As I said, I haven't ridden the slope simulator model, but I would love to give it a try.


Postby Max » Wed Jan 12, 2005 6:10 pm

Joseph, are you saying that with a light shining from behind you, your head (and probably upper body) don't move at all? I find that I'm moving at least 6 inches left and right of center once I get moving. Sounds like I need to work at keeping my upper body more stationary.

Postby Joseph » Wed Jan 12, 2005 7:00 pm

Yup, more stationary, for sure. Don't let the machine move you up or side to side. Suck those legs up.


Postby Max » Thu Jan 13, 2005 8:58 am

Joseph, thanks for the input. I don't have any up and down motion at all, but I'm a slacker on the side to side. Pretty hard to keep upper body from traveling a bit left to right but I'm working on it.

BTW, I love the Skier's Edge.

Postby Guest » Thu Jan 13, 2005 3:08 pm


Print this. Sketch the mirror image of the legs, skis, & body to the other side. Now, sketch the skis directly under the skier's unmoved head and do your best to sketch the flexed legs.

Imagine an expert skier skiing so smoothly down a hill that his hat could be sliding down a clothsline. No up & down nor side-to-side movement. How's he doing that?--flexing his legs under him and extending to the side.

When I do what Joseph describes so well, I feel like my feet and skis are moving in a figure-8 under my body. Of course, it's an S, but with the movement of my body down the hill and the feet moving from behind the body at the beginning of the turn to under the body at the end of the turn (at least that's my feeling), it feels like a figure-8. The first time my wife hit things just right she called it a feeling like here feet were working like a pendulum under her.


Re: Flex and Extend

Postby l2ski » Thu Mar 30, 2017 9:36 am

The post by Joseph seems to be an excellent explanation of flexing and extending.
Is it all still valid?
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