Our weather has been quite changeable this week (after all, it is April, the cruelest month). One day it’s snowing and all the little baby plants are getting a dose of the bitter harsh reality of growing into the world.
But a few days later it is sunny and warm and the beautiful people are out running in their tank tops and fashionable Capri leggings and sneakers in all kind of fluorescent colors.
Just some of the beautiful people, that is. The others are at the rink still wearing their down jackets and turtlenecks and two pairs of gloves.
Notice that there is no picture of people in tank tops here. Guess where I’ve been.
When I haven’t been skating, I have been browsing some websites, looking for more insights into my frontal plane:
Basically, I need to keep my body more aligned not just on the transverse plane, but also on the frontal plane. I have been thinking a lot about how to keep my hips level (up and down) but have not really thought about whether they are even (or square, in skating-speak).
Skating-wise, a slight but marked dropping back of my right hip has affected my pushing from the right onto the left edge. This is especially pronounced when I am stepping forward from the back right outside to a left forward outside edge (as in what happens in between those European end pattern left three turns). It also affects the push from the right back inside to the left back outside (as in clockwise back chassés and progressives). It also affects the push onto the forward left inside edge.
As I think about it, there is very little that this doesn’t affect. Wow.
I have been working so hard to strengthen the left side (and it is pretty darn strong now, I’m proud to say). But no amount of strength can help when the right side doesn’t really engage and push, but instead simply slips obediently behind the left, as if to say “hey, I’m in the right position!”
Instead, I am consciously working on getting my right hip to stay on the same plane as my left. I’ve had to work really hard to get this concept into my pea-sized brain this week. It sort of feels like trying to skate with my right hip slightly forward (only just enough, though).
When I get it right, I can feel my adductor muscles engage on my left side and my glutes engage on the right. Engage means that muscles turn on automatically, rather than tense up. I am still trying to get that part right, since I tend to try to clench my muscles to fix whatever problems I’m having. That is not the way to do it; it’s like shouting “peekaboo!” at a very shy baby.
Still, when it does happen, I can feel an actual push (as opposed to a wimpy push) happen on my right side. Wow, I think all kinds of good things are going to come out of this one!
Some lesson notes:
- New exercise: outside edge, tuck behind (rotate shoulders), inside mohawk, push back on back outside edge, short forward inside, push to outside edge, repeat. Place this on the correct axis.
- Old exercises: inside Mohawk, edge pull (don’t forget the leg extension); three turn, edge pull (don’t forget the leg extension).
- Another familiar one (that I still can’t do): outside swing roll, change edge, mohawk, push back, step forward (hips even!), repeat on other side
- Alternating back chassés: keep a consistent depth on the inside edge.
- Alternating back progressives, swing roll: work on getting feet together.