Leg Motion in a Ski

6 years 4 months ago - 6 years 4 months ago #21058 by Watto
Replied by Watto on topic Leg Motion in a Ski
I paddle an SES, footboard base is solid. Into very rough stuff where stability is challenged I consciously push with both heels, forgetting individual leg drive. Doing this stabilises my paddling platform, holds the boat literally on an even keel and effectively holds my upper body straight - I'm more locked-in and upright. Once I do this (I'm talking big lumpy crests and short swells) pretty soon I'm able to bring in left right leg drive.

I can't honestly tell you how much pressure right leg applies while left leg driving, but the conscious act of forcing both heels into the footboard hard just sits me up and soon (not instantly) I sit the boat up better and can get back into driving with legs. Having said that, when the going is tough directly into it or on an acute angle on a very challenging day, screw separate leg drive attack mode. Heels down, lock in, stay afloat, survive.

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6 years 4 months ago #21059 by Ric
Replied by Ric on topic Leg Motion in a Ski

Watto wrote: Heels down, lock in, stay afloat, survive.


Definitely - Its much faster paddling without leg drive than it is swimming without leg drive!

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6 years 2 months ago #21425 by Stew
Replied by Stew on topic Leg Motion in a Ski

Kayaker Greg wrote: It may have something to do with the motion of the hips, you really need to feel it for yourself. I was taught to drop the hip on the catch side, this lifts the hip on the off side and if you engage your core and have a good catch it is not hard to drive both legs into the footplate. However, if you look at many paddlers you will see that the hip often is not dropping on the catch side and the boat tilts the opposite way, I'm picking perhaps these are the paddlers that have trouble driving both legs into the footplate.

Have you ever had the opportunity to do a session with Oscar? Ask him about driving with both legs if you get the chance, he might be better with words being someone that has taught paddlers for many years in technique. But if your driving with one leg and pulling with another you really are not transferring all the forward motion into the foot plate that you could be, your feet are attached to your paddle in the water through your body (I think the word is tensegrity?) or something like that. Sorry, I'm not a teacher, I just try to feel what I have been taught and keep working at it all the time.

And your legs still go up and down as you rotate I should add, just in case there is confusion about that.


I guess for your next post, you will describe how to ride a bike while pushing both legs at once?


It's disconcerting to receive emails from paddlers around the world thanking me for describing a technique, or suggesting a technique method, who then close their message saying they don't like to post on here as they don't want to be ridiculed. A forum like this is meant to be inclusive and of assistance and it's sad to see people hesitant to join in. Rather than categorically say something is wrong, offer an opinion.

I'll steer clear of any technique threads in future, not worth the hassle.

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6 years 2 months ago #21426 by Kayaker Greg
Replied by Kayaker Greg on topic Leg Motion in a Ski
Well I guess its touchy responses like yours that turns people away, not sure what the issue is with my above post, but whatever.
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6 years 2 months ago #21433 by Ric
Replied by Ric on topic Leg Motion in a Ski

Stew wrote:

Kayaker Greg wrote: Have you ever had the opportunity to do a session with Oscar? Ask him about driving with both legs if you get the chance...


I guess for your next post, you will describe how to ride a bike while pushing both legs at once?....

A forum like this is meant to be inclusive and of assistance and it's sad to see people hesitant to join in. Rather than categorically say something is wrong, offer an opinion.


What Greg is saying may not be immediately be apparent, but I really can't see why anyone of us should be saying that Oscar's technique is just plain wrong.

He must have been doing something right for the last few years, surely?

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6 years 2 months ago #21444 by Watto
Replied by Watto on topic Leg Motion in a Ski
Bad Stew! No, you will not steer clear of any technique threads in future. You will follow Rule 5 rule5.org and continue to provide the good advice that you/we all share.

As to pushing both heels simultaneously as per my post a month ago, don't think there's any separate weight left to right, more a constant pressure to help sit the boat up in really rough stuff. It works for me, triangulates me as it were holding my pelvis steady and just seems to sit the boat for me - chacun à son goût. I do try to work alternate legs but when I'm crapping self in big short steep chop coming head on or big washing machine clapotis in my SES that's what keeps the sphincter tight, excuse my crudity, focusing on a technique that seems to work. ;) .

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6 years 2 months ago - 6 years 2 months ago #21445 by Kocho
Replied by Kocho on topic Leg Motion in a Ski

Stew wrote: I guess for your next post, you will describe how to ride a bike while pushing both legs at once?


Most people actually push with both legs down when riding a bike: they are just lazy to actively lift the leg that is going up and to pull on the pedal. So, they let the passive gravitational force of the down-pushing leg to counter the passive gravitational force on the pulling leg so that they don't have to lift it actively. If they were not actively paddling, both legs would simply be resting on the pedals. If one iota of active force is exerted on the front leg, then the pedals start moving even though both legs are still experiencing the same gravitational force down (they are both "passively pushing" down at the pedals simoultaneously). So, unless one is actively pushing down on the rear leg while trying to go forward, there is nothing wrong with the approach. The weight of the front leg is the same as the wright of the rear leg, so in effect, while both legs are pushing down on the pedals at the same time, it is the difference in active force that creates the motion and the passive force is not fighting or diminishing that active force. You are not contering that active force - while both legs are pushing down, the net result is 0. Most people ride like that most of the time, I assure you.

Now, if you wanted to get the most speed you could out of your bike, you would also be either lifting your rear leg or even pulling actively with it. How many do that all the time? I'm not an expert on proper pedaling (not paddling) technique, but I would guess that rear leg lift technique is mainly used at high-speed uphill and sprint situation as it probably uses more energy over a long term session than the technique I describe above.

Could Greg be describing the equivalent? Of course, in a ski one is sitting horisontally, so the net effect is not 0 like on a bike where gravity is the force on both legs, not your active pressure down. On a ski, I can see a theoretical argument that a slight initial push with bothlegs might be more explosive than a push with one leg only. But then you will have to pull your butt forward again before the next stroke. I have not really seen anyone do that in normal paddling. Yes, one can ancor with both legs during surfing/for balance, but then they don't paddle as efficiently any more as when rotating.

So, I'd like to hear more from Greg to clarify what Oscar meant. I'm curious, genuinely (not making a nasty remark here!).

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6 years 2 months ago - 6 years 2 months ago #21449 by Kayaker Greg
Replied by Kayaker Greg on topic Leg Motion in a Ski
I get what your trying to say Kocho although pedaling is a totally different dynamic and good cyclist uses the hamstring to pull on the pedal from 3 o'clock to the 9 o'clock position, or think about scraping dog poo of your shoe, they don't pull up as such, more backwards, (would be downwards sitting in the ski) using the hamstring muscle, the quad muscle on the other side happens more naturally. Yes there is always weight on the pedal. But getting off topic here.

Clearly its hard for some to feel the connection between the paddle in the water and the legs and feet, its one of the things I love about paddling, its so technical.

I've just tried to replicate the feeling sitting on my floor, elbow against one door jamb, feet against another door, pressure on the door jamb as the paddle side leg (door jamb side) straightens, the other side bends, it has too to rotate, pressure is on both legs, I could keep pressure the same on both legs but then I wouldn't rotate and would be fighting the pressure internally through the core. You only need slightly more pressure on one side to straighten the leg, in fact you can feel the same slight change in pressure standing with your legs slightly bent and putting a bit more weight on one foot, then the other, you don't have to lift the foot off the floor to transfer weight to the other but but you get a slight rocking in the hips as you transfer the weight. Gravity keeps both feet on the floor, in the ski the paddle is your gravity. I don't have to pull back at all to get rotation, I don't slide back on my seat because the pressure is on the door jamb (paddle), the core connects my elbow (paddle) to my legs. This way on the water, all the force is going into pushing the ski forward, none is being lost pulling back on the straps.

During some pod training sessions I did in the early winter we were told to feel the effect of forcing the ski over the finish line (as you see the K1 paddlers doing in a tight finish) by throwing the weight forward with both feet and trying to incorporate that into our stroke during our drills, same thing.

Not sure I can be much clearer, seems some get it, some don't, perhaps some will experiment and feel it for themselves, some will say its impossible and continue doing what they have always done.

One thing to add, when paddling and trying to feel this, try putting the weight on the paddle side, tip the ski slightly towards the paddle side, this is what I was taught and as pointed out to me most paddlers seem to do the opposite, be sure to place more weight on the straightening leg side hip (and the paddle as a brace as you stroke), less is on the bending leg hip and perhaps this is key to getting it to come together.

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6 years 2 months ago - 6 years 2 months ago #21450 by Kocho
Replied by Kocho on topic Leg Motion in a Ski
I see what you are saying - you are not saying to actively push forward with both legs, just that you are not actively pulling back with the bending leg. If that's what you are describing, now I think we can probably move over and discuss if that is better compared to actively pulling on the strap with the bending leg. I think one potential benefit of actively pulling is that your pelvis will rotate more. For instance, let's say your left arm is the power arm forward, about to start the power phase of the stroke. Yes, your left buttock will move slightly towards the rear as your left leg straightens during the stroke. Will your right buttock move forward if you are not actively pulling on the foot strap with your right foot? It will, somewhat, but will it do it enough to keep your centerline from moving to the rear? I guess it depends on the seat shape too - some seats will keep you centered better.

I think a bit of a pull will help rotate your pelvis more compared to no pull, and do that while keeping you centered front to back (as opposed to rotating, in the extreme case, around the buttock opposite from the pushing leg).

Edit: I'm trying to figure that out on my office chair right now, pulling and pushing with my feet against the wall :unsure:

Edit 2: On the rotating chair, it does not make a difference it seems if I "help" the rotation by a pull or not. However, if I just sit on the floor, I need to pull - otherwise I slide back (if my left arm is the power arm, trying to pull back against a piece of furniture while I prop myself with my feet against a wall, unless I pull with my right leg at the same time, only my left buttock moves back and my right one stays where it is. So, I effectively rotate around my right buttock if I only push with my left leg. In a ski, where the seat shape and slipperiness helps it behave like the rotating chair in Edit 1 above, one does not need to pull much to feel the effect. But I think it is clearer on the floor or in a kayak with a non-slippery seat - without some pull from the right leg the rotation is not as good...

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6 years 2 months ago - 6 years 2 months ago #21451 by Kayaker Greg
Replied by Kayaker Greg on topic Leg Motion in a Ski
Kocho I have edited for a bit more clarification, if you read the last bit about the weight on the hips and the tilt of the ski, this might help. Seems you are weighting the wrong hip/buttock.

Think of a bum walk across the floor. :)

Actually not sure why I didn't think of that before, the bum walk describes it perfectly, rotating and moving forward even without a paddle, no pulling required.

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6 years 2 months ago - 6 years 2 months ago #21453 by Kocho
Replied by Kocho on topic Leg Motion in a Ski
Hmmm, I tried it again at the door jamb, after reading your explanation. It works as you say! If you pull at the paddle (the immovable object with about the same effort as you exert through your pushing leg, your other side does slide forward without the need to pull with the other leg.

I think it is all in the balance of how you coutneract with your legs the pulling force of the arm against the paddle shaft.

(1) If you push with your leg a little less than you are pulling with your arm, your opposite buttock will slide forward, while your pushing buttock will not slide back. This is wasting your rotation partially. You might pull yourself forward in the seat. Not ideal.

(2) If you push more with your leg than you are pulling with your arm, your opposite leg will not slide forward but your pushing side buttock will slide back (which results in you effectively wasting effort by pushing against the back of the seat pan). Again, not optimal.

(3) Blanced pull of the arm with push of the leg: you rotate in-place without the need to pull on the front leg. Balanced rotation, no wasted pushing, no need to pull or push with the opposite leg.

(4) Push with BOTH legs a bit, more with the left, less with the right, so that together, the combined pushing force of both legs is the same as the pulling force of the arm against the paddle. Same result as in (3), energy is used in the legs differently, however (most of it in the left leg, some in the right, both pushing). You have better contact pushing against the foot plate (good for stability, perhaps). I'm still trying to build in my mind the mechanical model of what happens to the forces when both legs are pushing unequally against the plate here... Will that tire my core more?

(5) Push with left leg, pull with right leg. Balance against the paddle to rotate in-place. I can't quite visualise in my mind the mechanics (benefits/drawbacks)here. It somehow, intuitively, seems more fluid and less tension in the torso than in (4). The left leg is using a bit more energy pushing than in (4) and the right leg is using some additional energy pulling. Again, better contact with the ski than in (3), different than in (4).

Clearly, (1) and (2) are sub-optimal. (4) has its place but I'm not sure if it is better than (3) and (5). Thoughts?

EDIT: It seems to me, without having fully rationalized it in my mind, that (5) would be the most efficient way to paddle (weight towards or away from the pulling arm side notwithstanding).

EDIT 2: I think the net result/difference between 4 and 5 is where the center of rotation is. And to determine that, we need to also account for the pushing arm. Assume your left arm is the pulling arm as above. I think in 5 the pulling leg helps the right side of the torso and the pushing arm rotate forward and push the paddle shaft in the forward direction. In contrast, if I push with both my legs as in 4, then I feel my torso strains unnaturally to offer the same type of push support to the right arm - I may need to lean away from the pulling arm to counter these forces...

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6 years 2 months ago #21454 by Kayaker Greg
Replied by Kayaker Greg on topic Leg Motion in a Ski
I have to go paddling, but like anything, if you have always done something one way, it might take awhile to feel it doing another way, but at least you are thinking about it now. :)

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6 years 2 months ago #21455 by Kocho
Replied by Kocho on topic Leg Motion in a Ski
Oh, I'm always thinking about it. I just wanted to understand what you were saying, because some were arguing against it. I'm taking no positions, yet, but purely analytical and some floor-work seems to tell me I like #5 above best :) And, if I understand you correctly, you are advocating for #4?

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6 years 2 months ago #21456 by Paul600
Replied by Paul600 on topic Leg Motion in a Ski
I've always been taught that for a proper technique, you should sit upright and rotate your body around an imaginary rod running vertically through the top of your head and coming your backside.
For me, the primary purpose of pulling with the opposite leg is to maximise rotation around this centre point; pulling with the foot allows you to bring your non paddleside hip further forward (and therefore your paddleside hip further back) than would otherwise be the case.
Pullbars are a common feature on modern K1s so presumably there is something to be gained.
That said, in rough conditions, I can imagine that rotating slightly less and having the extra stability by being 'locked in' by having both feet firmly on the foot board, would be beneficial.
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6 years 2 months ago #21457 by Chris C
Replied by Chris C on topic Leg Motion in a Ski
Don't go comparing paddling to cycling. the idea that good cyclists generate additional power by pulling up on the pedals has been proven a myth countless times. Anyone with a powermeter can test it themselves. Actively pulling around and up is tiring and can actually make you slower. The best cyclists concentrate on pushing down!

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6 years 2 months ago #21458 by Kayaker Greg
Replied by Kayaker Greg on topic Leg Motion in a Ski
Revisiting this subject has been good and I think its good to question why we do things the way we do.

I remember asking a top paddler who I did a number of coaching sessions with about boat rock from side to side, he said it should be subtle and towards the paddle side. I used to over emphasis the rock to be sure I was doing it to the correct side and putting the weight onto the paddle.

Todays session was technique with a bungy and I had in the back of my mind the bum walk. Thinking about this and feeling the pressure on the paddle throughout the stroke enabled me to increase my rotation and reach further forward, just thinking about the bum walk with pressure on the foot plate, good leg drive and the boat rock was very subtle and I was very stable. I remember us doing the bum walk at a couple of CRNZ development camps without relising the significance of why we were doing it, now its clear to me. Little subtleties add up to improvement.

Much like the cyclist finds pushing down on the power side is natural, pushing on the paddle side is natural and requires no real thinking, applying pressure on the other side might take a little thinking until its natural. Thinking of the bum walk might be of help.

I did try pulling back on the strap like I used to do, naturally it feels pretty foreign to me now as I have not done it for a long time but I noticed the boat rock and yaw was significant and stability reduced (for me). I don't think this is good to my way of thinking. No doubt I would improve some with more practice but I can't see myself going back that way without compelling reason to do so.

I also remember that well known Paddling with Zsolt video and daring to ask the question about the amount of yaw his ski was showing and getting scalded for asking the question. Now I have a larger computer screen I can clearly see his feet going up and down on his rudder pedals, he is a way better paddler than I'll ever be so go'es to show there are many ways to do things or perhaps there is improvement in all of us.

I've been through enough coaches to know there are many many opinions on how to do things and I never said the technique I have offered is the only way.

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6 years 2 months ago #21459 by Kayaker Greg
Replied by Kayaker Greg on topic Leg Motion in a Ski
Yes Kocho, 4 is closest, think of the force coming down from your left shoulder across your torso into your right leg, the drive on your left leg will happen naturally without thinking about it, the rotation and right leg drive is there if you think about the bum walk, the right shoulder and hip move forward for the next stroke, use the force of that side of your body to move your boat forward through your foot plate, keep at it and you will get it. :silly:

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6 years 2 months ago #21460 by robin.mousley
Replied by robin.mousley on topic Leg Motion in a Ski
Just my 2c, I know that some of the top paddlers do a push/pull thing - indeed, Alexa Cole actually uses a bar in her surfski rather than a footstrap to facilitate this.

The big O teaches leg thrust on the paddle side, but I don't recall him saying anything about the other leg.

I'll ask a couple of the elites when they come back (most of them are in the US right now for the US Champs and Canadian Champs).

Rob

Currently Fenn Swordfish S, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: Think Evo II, Carbonology Zest, Fenn Swordfish, Epic V10, Fenn Elite, Red7 Surf70 Pro, Epic V10 Sport, Genius Blu, Kayak Centre Zeplin, Fenn Mako6, Custom Kayaks ICON, Brian's Kayaks Molokai, Brian's Kayaks Wedge and several others...
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6 years 2 months ago #21461 by Ric
Replied by Ric on topic Leg Motion in a Ski

robin.mousley wrote: The big O teaches leg thrust on the paddle side, but I don't recall him saying anything about the other leg.


Rob at the talk we went to earlier this year (or was it late last year?) he was saying how the pushing leg pushes, thrusts, kicks etc the boat forward while we lean on the paddle.

He followed by saying we can't push the boat forward if we are pulling the boat back at the same time. As then the 2 forces cancel each other out.

In the same way, we can't push the boat forward like that if we are jammed into the back of the seat.
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6 years 2 months ago #21498 by Mako
Replied by Mako on topic Leg Motion in a Ski
If leg drive results in any pressure into the back rest it's wasted effort.

Elite athletes sometimes waste energy and don't realise it because they win anyway (Or thrash most of the field)

When one starts out paddling the muscle groups used and poor technique result in muscle fatigue before aerobic fatigue. As one improves aerobic limits get closer.

JMO. Mashing ones backside into a backrest robs the rest of ones system of oxygen. Certainly counter the paddle effort through leg support. I'm referring to LD type events rather than sprinting where le drive is a big deal.

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