Note to the reader – March 19, 2018
Since I first began to publish posts on the SR (Spinal Reflex) Stance in 2016, I have acquired a lot of new information and insights from sources such as Dr. Emily Splichal on what is called fascial tension as the basis for tensegrity and foot to core sequencing where fascial tension in the arches of the feet extends to the pelvis where the feet and lower limbs form an integral component of the pelvic core in a bottom up process.
In the state of tensegrity in the SR Stance, the muscles that control the angles of the joints of the ankle, knee and thigh are configured in isometric contraction.
The objective of the SR Stance is to set up a state of dynamic tension in the body that extends from the balls of the feet through the arches to the shoulders. This engages spinal reflexes that orchestrate muscle activity to maintain skier equilibrium and dissipate shocks from perturbations in GRF from asperities in the snow surface and variations in terrain.
The key elements of the SR Stance in the order of importance are:
- A high level of tension in the PA and intrinsic muscles that support the vault of the arches of the feet and render them into a quasi rigid state.
- A static preload in the Achilles resulting from the simultaneous peaking of Achilles-PA tension.
- A rounding of the back and shoulders that imparts a state of dynamic tension in the upper back and which acts in concert with the core muscles to stabilize the pelvis from above as shown in the graphic below.
While the core muscles in the lower back and abdomen act to stabilize the pelvis, their influence is predominantly localised. No matter how strong the core is, it’s influence cannot be pushed down to the level of the feet. Nor can core stability be pushed up to the level of the shoulders. The synergistic influence on the core of Achilles static preload and rounding of the back and shoulders is required to set up the state of whole body dynamic tension required for the SR Stance.
The major muscles of the core reside in the abdomen and the mid and lower back. They include the erector spinae, rectus abdominis, transversus abdominis, multifidus, internal and external obliques, and the quadratus lumborum. An abundance of information is available in reference texts and online on the ore muscles and exercises with which to develop them.
Although the latissimus dorsi and trapezius are considered minor core muscles, they play a major role in the SR Stance.
How to Round the Back and Shoulders
Starting from position 2. in the SR Stance shown in the graphic below, bend forward from the hips as shown in position 3. As you do, round the back and shoulders and raise the arms.
Rounding of the shoulders starts by pushing them outward away from the torso (i.e. abducted) as shown by the 2 black arrows in the graphic below.
As the shoulders are pushed outward, they are drawn forward and towards each other in an arc as shown in the graphic below.
At the same time as the arms are raised, the elbows are bent. The feeling is one of reaching out to put the arms about a large barrel.
As the arms are raised, the core should naturally tighten on its own. Find the position where core tension peaks at maximum. Holding the arms too low or too high will degrade core tension. The palms of the hands should face each other. It helps to hold ski poles in each hand or even tubes similar to the grips of ski poles.
Taking the SR Stance to the Slopes
Here is what a properly configured SR Stance looks like in application.
The SR Stance is the signature of the elite WC racers as evidenced in the photos below.
Anna Veith (nee Fenninger)
In my next post, I will take a short break from the SR Stance and discuss how World Cup racers are winning by cutting corners.