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Hip Position for Skating

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06-26-2012, 08:55 AM
  #1
Jarick
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Hip Position for Skating

I'm a pretty mediocre skater. Balance is fine, edges are decent, I'm quick enough when I need to be but it's by no means effortless.

The last couple weeks, I've been reading and thinking about the hips, being more conscious of their position and hinging in all aspects of life (literally, like walking, sitting, jumping).

During last night's game, I thought about the hips in hockey and how mine are kind of right underneath me. I took some shifts where I consciously brought my hips back behind me, and I got a lot lower to the ground, although it was kind of awkward. Felt less control, but then again, I've been skating one way for my whole life.

Is "proper technique" skating with the hips back, or the hips under? I need to go home and review my Stamm book but thought I'd ask here. Seems like they should be back.


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06-26-2012, 09:39 AM
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do0glas
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from the reading ive done you want your back to stay straight. a hockey stance seems similar to doing a squat. but take it with a grain of salt (noob)

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06-26-2012, 09:46 AM
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The two things I've been told: When puck handling stationary, focus on presenting the crest of your jersey to someone in front of you, i.e. - Hips under. (This also helps keep your head up.)

The second item: If your back starts hurting, you're bending over too much. Bend your knees and get your hips under you.

Seems to make sense.

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06-26-2012, 09:49 AM
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beth
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I dont think you need to think about hips - just butt down, head up, chest up. Because you could have your hips behind you from bending at the waist and still have a sucky knee bend.

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06-26-2012, 10:36 AM
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What prompted the thought was this girl who was ridiculously good on the other team...when she was playing her knees almost touched her chest and her arms in front of her. Super quick skater, very smooth.

I'm thinking she might have been a little TOO low in terms of her torso, but her back was flat. Regardless of your knees, if your hips are tucked, you can only "get low" if you hunch at your back, which is bad. But if the hips are back, you can "get low" with a flat back.

Just sitting in my chair, I'm thinking about the hip position. If I stand up 1-2 inches off the chair (knees bent) with my torso vertical, it puts a lot of strain on the legs. Probably because the center of gravity is behind the knees. If I put my hips back and stand up 1-2 inches, my shoulders/head are over my knees. I can actually balance with no strain on the legs with that position.

My gut is telling me that, especially at our lower levels, most skaters bend the knees from a standing up straight position, which places strain on the knee, then to "get low" they bend from the waist, not the hips, which places strain on the lower back. This probably explains why my lower back and knees are sore. Then as these parts get more and more fatigued, you stand up straighter and lose your power and get tired.

My gut again is telling me I should probably get some skates in where my hips are back, back is flat, and center of gravity is over the knees. Just looking for some validation.

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06-26-2012, 10:44 AM
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Funny story from an instructor who played in the ECHL: He went to a doctor or gym or somewhere where they didn't know he was a hockey player and asked him to run on a treadmill. They immediately guessed he was a hockey player because of the way he ran with his butt out.

It's definitely a different, even unnatural, body position.

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06-26-2012, 10:51 AM
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Here's the article that got me thinking. Written by Wild prospect Jarod Palmer. He talks about using "back of the leg" muscles.

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06-26-2012, 10:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarick View Post
My gut again is telling me I should probably get some skates in where my hips are back, back is flat, and center of gravity is over the knees. Just looking for some validation.
Something else you can consider: I do a lot of exercises to strengthen my legs due to a groin injury. One of them is wrapping an elastic band around my knees and doing side steps like a standing crab, getting really low, focusing on showing your chest. I have a long basement so I can go 9 steps in one direction.

Originally, the exercise was to strengthen my abductors (outside of thigh) but I find it really helps isolate my gluts and focus on that good skating posture. I don't do it enough but I know it helps.

Like it or not, the adage "Don't play hockey to get into shape, get into shape to play hockey" really holds true. Finding the time to do these kind of exercises goes a long way to improving your game.

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06-26-2012, 10:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarick View Post
Here's the article that got me thinking. Written by Wild prospect Jarod Palmer. He talks about using "back of the leg" muscles.
Good article. I'd like to increase my repertoire of hockey-centric exercises.

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06-26-2012, 11:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarick View Post
I'm a pretty mediocre skater. Balance is fine, edges are decent, I'm quick enough when I need to be but it's by no means effortless.

The last couple weeks, I've been reading and thinking about the hips, being more conscious of their position and hinging in all aspects of life (literally, like walking, sitting, jumping).

During last night's game, I thought about the hips in hockey and how mine are kind of right underneath me. I took some shifts where I consciously brought my hips back behind me, and I got a lot lower to the ground, although it was kind of awkward. Felt less control, but then again, I've been skating one way for my whole life.

Is "proper technique" skating with the hips back, or the hips under? I need to go home and review my Stamm book but thought I'd ask here. Seems like they should be back.

It depends on the speed you're skating at.

The hip back position makes you more aerodynamic, I'm usually in that position when I'm going down the ice at full speed.

When I'm trying to maneuver around people or doing things that require more agility than straight line speed, I'm in the hip under position. If you're leaning forward without enough momentum, it can throw your balance off.

But when you're blasting down the rink at full speed, leaning forward makes you smaller and thus creates less drag.

That's my theory at least.

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06-26-2012, 01:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarick View Post
I'm a pretty mediocre skater. Balance is fine, edges are decent, I'm quick enough when I need to be but it's by no means effortless.

The last couple weeks, I've been reading and thinking about the hips, being more conscious of their position and hinging in all aspects of life (literally, like walking, sitting, jumping).

During last night's game, I thought about the hips in hockey and how mine are kind of right underneath me. I took some shifts where I consciously brought my hips back behind me, and I got a lot lower to the ground, although it was kind of awkward. Felt less control, but then again, I've been skating one way for my whole life.

Is "proper technique" skating with the hips back, or the hips under? I need to go home and review my Stamm book but thought I'd ask here. Seems like they should be back.

a quick review of the many vids online for power skating will show a defined lean angle to the upper body during forward strides. Getting to that angle requires the hips to go to a certain point to balance the upper torso. The hips are where the driving muscles are anchored.
Hip position is determined by, and determine the drive stroke and the COG created by the lean of the upper torso.
You can look at Track Sprinter angles to this obvious angle.
An important note is to see the very straight line/angle that the back makes with the leg line during a power stroke. Much change either way affects the stroke power. A lot of this depends on the leg to torso relationship - and most great skaters are found between 45 and 55 degress...
For many of us the tendency is to drop the shoulders even more than that angle, making a flatter back. This robs power.
"Presenting" the jersey crest is a way to counter this forward collapse.
The gliding leg actually has a great effect on power. Too far forward and it robs the power stroke. Too far back and you can't get the proper angle and leg extension.
Short legged (relative to torso) skaters tend to be more upright because of torso mass and length. Long Legged skaters have an easier time getting the torso in line for power strokes, but have a tendency to have the glide leg a bit forward, which reduces the power stroke...
stick handling adds another dimension, not incongruous, but needs adaptation...

real quick
from Victor Baryshevtsev
and from Laura Stamm video, also showing glide leg angle
Attached Images
File Type: jpg victor-stride.jpg‎ (8.4 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg stamm-stride.jpg‎ (9.9 KB, 8 views)


Last edited by oldfart: 06-26-2012 at 01:58 PM.
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06-26-2012, 02:05 PM
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Cool thoughts.

That makes sense. If the leg at full extension is in line with the hips, having them back with a torso lean would make for a longer stride, right?

I think it's a pretty exciting concept for me. Really want to work on this.

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06-26-2012, 02:17 PM
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Jarick, read the pages of Starting Strength that compare the LBBS to HBBS to Front-Squat. what you describe in skating position, is exactly the difference between LBBS and FS. FWIW, FS is a quad-dominant movement, while the LBBS offloads more weight onto the hamstrings. there is simply less range-of-motion in the hip extension during the FS. thus the hamstring/glute is doing less work.

however, ultimately, you want the stride to be explosive, so maybe you should really compare it to your PC hip extension, which will almost always be somewhere between LBBS and FS. i would think the length of your bones and relative strength of quad/hamstring/glute will dictate which angle is more optimal for you.

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06-26-2012, 02:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarick View Post
Cool thoughts.

That makes sense. If the leg at full extension is in line with the hips, having them back with a torso lean would make for a longer stride, right?

I think it's a pretty exciting concept for me. Really want to work on this.
stride extension can have a decreasing point of return. Skating for hockey is about explosive, interval type efforts. Long extension may help for smooth endurance efforts, like long distance speed skating.
Hockey is about explosive power and stride rate is a big component.
the 2 pics. Victor is a shorter faster stride rate - very explosive.
Incredibly quick rate...
The Stamm skater is slower rate longer stride, not so explosive.
For my money his forward leg is too far forward, which reduces his stride rate.
Most of us can be in between the 2...
Power and rate trump long strides in hockey
I vote for reaching for Victor.

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06-26-2012, 02:37 PM
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New, I had a similar thought. Here's that chart:



The big thing I can think of is, if there was extension of the leg, with an upright torso, you wouldn't push back but push down, which would lead you to "bobbing".

I think maybe if you were speed skating, you would go with the most amount of forward lean:



But with carrying the puck, you'd be a little more upright:





Either way that conventional advice of "bend your knees and sit your butt down" just doesn't make sense in the absence of hip position.

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06-26-2012, 03:02 PM
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fun stuff! skating just never get old!

Sutter, 0vechkin and of course, Orr

this youtube is a great collection of Orr..
gotta luv him...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSDw3tMa7ec
Attached Images
File Type: jpg sutter.jpg‎ (36.5 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg ovechkin.jpg‎ (102.7 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg orr.jpg‎ (22.0 KB, 6 views)

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06-28-2012, 11:21 AM
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Great thread!

Yes, what you described as "hips behind you" positions your kinetic chain ("your body") in such a way that you will be maximizing "hip extension" - allowing you to utilize your powerful gluteal muscles during each stride (<--- those back of your leg muscles the Wild prospect is referring to).

Of course (as mentioned by others), when you're handling the puck in close quarters and you have to sacrifice skating speed for "protecting the puck, or avoiding bodies/traffic, etc..." then yes you can't be in a position where "optimal hip extension and full out speed is your priority" and so in those situations your "hips won't be behind you" (as you described).

Hope that helps!

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06-29-2012, 03:53 PM
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I am going through PT/Rehab for knee problems. There is a relationship in my body that I was not particularly sharp about but doing their exercises has made it clear to me. Maybe it can help you.

Lowering your body can be done by bending your knees and pushing your butt back. You then have to bend forward at the waist to center that.

They say this is safer on your knees then pushing your knees forward. I have been working on this and it has made me a better skater (public skating)

To explain it: If you stand on one foot and you want to put your other foot straight behind you, you need to push your butt out and back then bend at the waist to get your other foot behind far behind you.

This video may explain the idea:



I suspect that we are all different genetically and some people can do the same general thing in a different way then others. We need to find what works best for us. If you look at different ice skaters, you will see different things that may look vastly different then others. For example Wayne Gretzky bent at the waist quite a bit compared to say Paul Coffey. Paul Coffey has long graceful strides while a Sidney Crosby keeps strides shorter and more power generating. Don't let a photo of Crosby basically standing still looking to pass confuse you. In that picture he is not power skating, he is doing another part of the game.

Also, I am not claiming anything about knees past the toes or squats. I am only trying to show a different way of getting lower. From my experience it has helped me be a better skater and with far far less pain. This has increased my power and improved my balance a LOT


Last edited by Wooty: 06-29-2012 at 04:19 PM.
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