You are viewing as a Guest.

Welcome to skatingforums - over 10 years of figure skating discussions for skaters, coaches, judges and parents!

Please register to be able to access all features of this message board.

Author Topic: Hip/Leg Turnout  (Read 3776 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline FigureSpins

  • CER-A, CER-C
  • Asynchronous Skating Team Leader
  • ********
  • Joined: Aug 2010
  • Location: Center Ice: Bullseye of the Deranged
  • Posts: 5,508
  • Total GOE: 142
Hip/Leg Turnout
« on: March 23, 2011, 10:31:02 AM »
I would like some simple, off-ice exercises that can improve hip and free leg turnout for things like mohawks, choctaws, and spreadeagles.  Any suggestions?
"If you still look good after skating practice, you didn't work hard enough."

Year-Round Skating Discussions for Figure Skaters - www.skatingforums.com

Offline lindafmb

  • Pinwheel Pro
  • **
  • Joined: Mar 2011
  • Location: Covington, WA
  • Posts: 124
  • Total GOE: 8
  • Gender: Female
    • Fit Mind-Body Conditioning YouTube Channel
Re: Hip/Leg Turnout
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2011, 11:52:43 AM »
I would like some simple, off-ice exercises that can improve hip and free leg turnout for things like mohawks, choctaws, and spreadeagles.  Any suggestions?

I get asked about turnout A LOT by both skaters and dancers I train. Lots of people will provide you with suggested exercises, especially more "traditional" ones used by dancers. Several things are important when you're a skater considering exercises that target turnout.

1. Turnout occurs from actions mostly at the hip (external rotation) and assisted by the ankle. The axis of rotation at the ankle is mostly frontal, so most of the action at the ankle occurs in the saggital plane (like when you rise up to the balls of your feet, and then lower your heels--that's plantar flexion). 
2. While you can turn out at the ankle (the axis of rotation is somewhat oblique), this is structurally not a natural movement for the ankle through a great ROM (range of motion). Injury can occur if you put too much stress by forcing this movement (often an issue for dancers I train).
3. This is most important...remember that our skates limit our ROM at the ankle, so what you can do without your skates on may not be achievable with your skates on.

For these reasons, I most often recommend that skaters work with their coaches ON ICE to focus on exercises targeting turnout for the elements you describe. These mostly involve working on the boards. Off-ice, best exercise for turnout are variations on the frontal split and hip external rotations with tubing. But I might point out here that I have AWESOME turnout off-ice, but no so much on ice. Just sayin...

HTH,
Linda

Offline Doubletoe

  • Quintuple Salflutzchow
  • ****
  • Joined: Aug 2010
  • Posts: 1,228
  • Total GOE: 135
Re: Hip/Leg Turnout
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2011, 10:35:37 PM »
The important thing to know about turnout is that it must happen at the hips, not the knees.  People with "closed hips" have hip joints located farther to the inside, whereas those with "open hips" have hip joints located farther to the outside.  While stretching will help you achieve the limit of your natural range of motion, you will not be able to do an outside spread eagle or Ina Bauer if you were born with closed hips, no matter how much you stretch.  Forcing it will just damage your knees as they compensate for the lack of turnout in the hips.

Here are the two stretches that helped me get my outside spread eagle and Ina Bauer (Note: I *DO* have naturally open hips, so all it took was these groin stretches):

(1) The butterfly stretch: http://gymnastics.about.com/od/trainingadvice/ss/centersplit_2.htm  Don't push your knees down to the floor; just rest your hands on your knees and let your groin muscles gradually relax on their own.  I like to sit in this position while watching TV.  Sitting with your back flush against a wall helps keep you from rounding your back.

(2) On-ice plies against the boards: Before doing my outside spread eagle or Ina Bauer on the ice, I always do plies against the boards.  Holding onto the boards with both hands, I turn both feet out and place them right against the boards, about a foot apart.  Keeping my knees deeply bent, I push my knees (i.e., the insides of my knees) and my pelvis forward into the boards, then slowly straighten my legs, keeping the pelvis and knees pressed against the boards.  If I can't straighten my legs completely while keeping my pelvis against the boards, I bend again and re-straighten.  I repeat several times, then lean back while pressing my pelvis against the boards once my legs are straight.  If your feet are turned out and your knees are not facing the same direction as your feet, that means you are getting some of the turnout from your knees and not your hips (very bad for your knees).

Offline jjane45

  • Clean Skate
  • ********
  • Joined: Aug 2010
  • Location: Chicago, IL
  • Posts: 3,880
  • Total GOE: 161
  • Gender: Female
Re: Hip/Leg Turnout
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2011, 12:51:13 AM »
Great hip-stretching tips Doubletoe! Ina bauer can really hurt the leading knee with improper turnout, guess how I know...

Lately I have been warming up the hips on ice by first doing outside spread eagles in deeply bent knees, like a cantilever without backward bend. It totally eliminates turnout at the knee and works nicely for me. Not sure if the off-ice version works?

Offline lindafmb

  • Pinwheel Pro
  • **
  • Joined: Mar 2011
  • Location: Covington, WA
  • Posts: 124
  • Total GOE: 8
  • Gender: Female
    • Fit Mind-Body Conditioning YouTube Channel
Re: Hip/Leg Turnout
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2011, 11:52:40 AM »
The important thing to know about turnout is that it must happen at the hips, not the knees.  

Just wanted to point out that this post, and the one following it, both suggest a very common misconception---turnout NEVER happens at the knee. As I mentioned earlier in the thread, it happens somewhat at the ankle and mostly at the hip through external rotation. The hip action is also not so much hip adduction, as some people also incorrectly believe and then incorrectly recommend hip adduction exercises, which are good for other aspects of skating, but not necessarily for improving turnout.

Like the elbow, I often refer to the knee as "dumb joint" when I teach biomechanics clincs. Knees are "dumb" in the sense that they have to follow the actions of the ankle and hip and don't have ANY natural axis of rotation outside of the saggital plane. If you are attempting to turnout at the knee, you will be setting yourself up for some ligament injury, for sure. Knees take enough damage in skating, so as skaters we should be mindful of practices that we do that may cause more harm than good.

Not to be critical of the other posters, but this is my area of expertise, so I feel it's in everyone's best interest to nip misconceptions in the bud, for the safety of all skaters.

Linda

Offline sk8lady

  • Silver Streak
  • Blade Runner
  • ***
  • Joined: Aug 2010
  • Posts: 537
  • Total GOE: 100
Re: Hip/Leg Turnout
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2011, 12:10:56 PM »
Just wanted to point out that this post, and the one following it, both suggest a very common misconception---turnout NEVER happens at the knee.
Not to be critical of the other posters, but this is my area of expertise, so I feel it's in everyone's best interest to nip misconceptions in the bud, for the safety of all skaters.

Linda

Umm...not sure what you saw there...I saw this:
The important thing to know about turnout is that it must happen at the hips, not the knees...Forcing it will just damage your knees as they compensate for the lack of turnout in the hips.

If your feet are turned out and your knees are not facing the same direction as your feet, that means you are getting some of the turnout from your knees and not your hips (very bad for your knees).

The poster, and the one following, specifically said turnout should come from the hips, NOT the knees, which is exactly what you said.

Additionally, you're not working or advertising for your business here--this is a forum where everyone is allowed to make suggestions and it's caveat emptor.

Offline jjane45

  • Clean Skate
  • ********
  • Joined: Aug 2010
  • Location: Chicago, IL
  • Posts: 3,880
  • Total GOE: 161
  • Gender: Female
Re: Hip/Leg Turnout
« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2011, 08:39:54 PM »
I sometimes do Doubletoe's "on-ice plies against the boards" in the bed against the mattress and let gravity do the work, making sure the inside my knees touches the bed. Does this count? This position is not comfortable enough to sleep in, or I'd probably face serious troubles the next morning!

Thank you Linda for sharing your expertise! Guess my post was a bit misleading, yes I am aware turnout should not be forced on the knees.

Offline Doubletoe

  • Quintuple Salflutzchow
  • ****
  • Joined: Aug 2010
  • Posts: 1,228
  • Total GOE: 135
Re: Hip/Leg Turnout
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2011, 05:27:50 PM »
Umm...not sure what you saw there...I saw this:
The poster, and the one following, specifically said turnout should come from the hips, NOT the knees, which is exactly what you said.

Additionally, you're not working or advertising for your business here--this is a forum where everyone is allowed to make suggestions and it's caveat emptor.

I think maybe Linda was just trying to point out that, technically, turnout *cannot* actually happen at the knee joints (not just that it *should not* happen at the knees).  I understood her post to say that any compensation for turnout that is not achieved at the hips actually happens at the ankle joints, not the knee joints.  Thanks for pointing that out, Linda.  

So does the rule of thumb still stand that your knees need to be facing the same direction as your feet or you will strain your knees?  Based on my own experience and the experiences others have shared, this seems to be the case.  Personally, I feel it in the knee of my back leg on the Ina Bauer if I don't first do my plies against the boards to open up my hips.  The idea is that pressing the insides of the knees against the boards during the plies keeps the knees facing the same direction as the feet, requiring the turnout to come from the hips.

Linda, you recommended "variations on the frontal split and hip external rotations with tubing" but I have to admit I actually have no idea what that means.  Would you be able to provide some pictures and/or descriptions in layman's terms?  As for on-ice exercises with a skating coach to improve turnout, neither of my coaches has ever been able to do a spread eagle or Ina Bauer due to "closed hips" and I doubt that there is anything in their training that would make them experts on correct stretching technique (I came up with the plies-against-the-boards myself; neither of them taught it to me).  I'm not dissing them; I'm just saying I don't know that this kind of training is required for figure skating coaches.  

P.S.  Did someone in this thread actually suggest hip adduction exercises to improve turnout?

Offline lindafmb

  • Pinwheel Pro
  • **
  • Joined: Mar 2011
  • Location: Covington, WA
  • Posts: 124
  • Total GOE: 8
  • Gender: Female
    • Fit Mind-Body Conditioning YouTube Channel
Re: Hip/Leg Turnout
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2011, 04:21:57 PM »
I think maybe Linda was just trying to point out that, technically, turnout *cannot* actually happen at the knee joints (not just that it *should not* happen at the knees).  I understood her post to say that any compensation for turnout that is not achieved at the hips actually happens at the ankle joints, not the knee joints.  Thanks for pointing that out, Linda.  

Yes, that's EXACTLY what I meant, and I've corrected several figure skating coaches, including my own, when they direct their skaters to "turn their knees out."

So does the rule of thumb still stand that your knees need to be facing the same direction as your feet or you will strain your knees?  Based on my own experience and the experiences others have shared, this seems to be the case.  Personally, I feel it in the knee of my back leg on the Ina Bauer if I don't first do my plies against the boards to open up my hips.  The idea is that pressing the insides of the knees against the boards during the plies keeps the knees facing the same direction as the feet, requiring the turnout to come from the hips.

Again, exactly right, and practicing your spread eagles and Ina's against the boards are exactly the on-ice exercises that are appropriate for improving turnout.

Linda, you recommended "variations on the frontal split and hip external rotations with tubing" but I have to admit I actually have no idea what that means.  Would you be able to provide some pictures and/or descriptions in layman's terms?  As for on-ice exercises with a skating coach to improve turnout, neither of my coaches has ever been able to do a spread eagle or Ina Bauer due to "closed hips" and I doubt that there is anything in their training that would make them experts on correct stretching technique (I came up with the plies-against-the-boards myself; neither of them taught it to me).  I'm not dissing them; I'm just saying I don't know that this kind of training is required for figure skating coaches.  

Coaches who are PSA rated are required to have a certain amount of sport science background, which includes understanding basic anatomy and physiology and fundamental kinesiology. If you have this knowledge, you should be able to apply it to on- and off-ice exercises that correctly target the desired skill or element.

I don't think I have the external rotation with tubing on video, but four-way hip and the monster walk with tubing help strengthen several msucles groups needed to hold and further open up the hips. You can see the monster walk in this vid:


I show other tubing exercises in this vid, and external rotation would just require doing the same setup but performing an outward rotation of the hip rather than a "pull" as shown on these exercises:


Frontal splits include the variation I show in this vid at about 1:18, as well as the more common "froggie" varation, with the knees bent. Both are flexibility exercises that when performed correctly target the external rotators--the butterfly stretch proposed earlier actually targets the adductors:

Again, I post to provide help, nothing more. I've learned a lot from many of the posts I've read here.

Linda

Offline slusher

  • Gamified Figure Skater!
  • ***
  • Joined: Sep 2010
  • Posts: 298
  • Total GOE: 71
Re: Hip/Leg Turnout
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2011, 08:38:29 PM »
I'm one of those super open hipped people, but I have an imbalance between my good side and my bad side.    I do rond de jambe exercises, the ballet one where you point your foot to the front, to the side, to the back, and when it goes to the back I make sure I feel the super squishy butt cheek muscle squeeze and stand up tall and stretch the hip flexors.  That's the key to IB's, is the squeeze, and that squeeze is also the same for outside spread eagles, both cheeks, heh.      Then I do a turn out and do the ronds again in turn out, and when I get to the back I sit back in turn out on the free leg.  That would be for outside inas.    On the ice though, the weight is in a different place but they're much easier if you can just open the hip and plonk the leg down on the correct edge.   Getting the feeling off the ice and warming up the loose joint makes it much easier and less prone to tears once on the ice.

If you turn the hip but not use the muscles to hold it, there is a lot of muscle/tendon/IT band that can happen eventually, it is a downside of open hipped people, to take advantage of the joint without having the supporting muscles.   Instead of having knee pain, it's hip pain.