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Whether you’re carving a turn, setting up for some air, or helping a child onto the chairlift, each time you carve, twist, pull, push, lift, or lower, the load is transferred through your muscles into your spine.


Now stand in a neutral posture and try again. For maximum effect, also engage your core as described in the “Back Up Your Back” section; you’ll see an instant increase in strength and power.


Q WITH STUDENTS: Learning how to recruit the glutes is very important for edge control and preventing knee injuries. When in posterior or ante- rior pelvic tilt, the glutes cannot work properly. With your students in a skiing stance, have them press against the front of their boots and bend their knees a few times. Then kneel in front of them and (after asking permission) hold your hands on the outside of their thighs just above their knees. Get them to repeat the knee bend while pressing outward against your hands; they’ll immediately feel an increase in leg power.


Last but not least, consider how your pelvic posture affects your center of mass. Ante- rior pelvic tilt (again, think of an outhouse crouch) immediately puts you in the back seat. Although not quite so obvious, a poste- rior pelvic tilt also moves your weight back- wards. You might think you can correct for this by reaching forward with the upper body, but when you start with your center of mass too far back, any disruption of balance leaves you fighting to get forward. By the time you get there, it’s too late. In contrast, starting in a neutral posture


places your shoulders over your hips and feet, a much more balanced position that allows you to quickly move in any direction when


accommodating changes in terrain and speed. Q AT HOME: Standing with your weight equally distributed on both feet and your tailbone tucked under, have some- one stand behind you, put their hands on your shoulders and gently push downward. You’ll feel the flex point in your lumbar spine and even though they’re pushing downward, the move- ment of your shoulders will be back and down. Similarly, if you try this exercise in anterior pelvic tilt, you’ll immediately feel the force in your low back and your


50 | 32 DEGREES • SPRING 2019


shoulders will shift backwards. Now correct your posture into neutral and try it again. You’ll see how the force moves more directly down through your spine and pelvis into your legs. The flexion point at your low back will be relieved.


Q TAKE IT TO THE SNOW: To demonstrate how this affects performance, choose a steeper slope, with bumps or other changes in terrain. Ski it first with your tailbone tucked under hips thrust forward, then a second time in the neutral, core-activated posture described below. Your increased control, power, and speed will be immedi- ately apparent. You can also repeat the exer- cise for anterior pelvic tilt – but once again, use caution as the risk of low back or knee injury with a backward twisting fall is high.


Q WITH STUDENTS: Bunny hops or skiing with one leg lifted off the snow are great ways to teach center-of-gravity position- ing. When your students struggle with these drills, get them to run through elements of the following stand-tall and core-activation sequence to first correct pelvic posture. They’ll have a much higher chance of successfully complet- ing the exercise!


For more advanced students, begin by traversing over some moguls in their regular posture, and then repeat with the pelvis in neutral. They’ll immediately see how much better they’re able to absorb the changing terrain without getting thrown off balance.


BACK UP YOUR BACK WITH THESE EXERCISES Whether you’re carving a turn, setting up for some air, or helping a child onto the chairlift, each time you carve, twist, pull, push, lift, or lower, the load is transferred through your muscles into your spine. This means that, no matter which joint and muscles you’re using, if your spine isn’t lined up properly the muscles won’t be able to stabilize the adjacent joints. It also means that nearly all chronic joint pain (shoulders, knees, backs, ankles) can be improved by starting with good spinal posture!


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SOURCE OF DIAGRAMS: REH4MAT ORTHOPAEDIC BRACES (REH4MAT.COM) 1HXWUDO VSLQH QHXWUDO SRVWXUH


Spending just a few minutes a day on


the following exercises can protect your joints from undue stress by resetting your reflexes to bring your spine back to a good alignment – without having to consciously think about it.


COURTESY OF DR. DELIA ROBERTS


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