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Quad Speed Discussions about speed skating in quad roller skates.

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Old August 5th, 2013, 05:41 PM   #1
Armadillo
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Default Lesson #1 Good Indoor Speed: How & why good form works

I got the PM below from slowpoke asking for some tips to improve his indoor speed. I decided this would make a better public discussion than a private dialog (hope you approve slowpoke).
Comments and questions from others are also very welcome here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by slowpoke
Hey I hope you don't mind me sending you a message sir. I've read several of your threads and see you are very knowledgeable on what I love. So with that being said, I'm highly intrigued in stepping up my speed. I will tell you, I am (and have been told by many) that I'm a very good skater. I am fast. I win my share of rink races. However, I know, and have been told by my wife that I skate standing up too tall. I don't get low. So I know that is one area I need to work on.

Reason I'm sending you this is because there are no speed teams or coaches anywhere around here. Skating is actually not even that popular here. So I guess I'm looking for tips, drills, anything to get me started. I don't want to learn to be the absolute fastest at the rink. I'm 33 years old and have nothing to prove! I want to learn proper form, muscle usage etc. I know I'm fast, but I want to do it right. I'm looking for advice from you or someplace on the internet to get me going in the right direction. No pun intended!

Oh, and I do have a rather odd question. At our local rink, the straights are fairly long, and the turns are tight. It's like a big rectangle. Anyways, I've notices during the races, even the best skaters ride the corners and don't crossover. I've tried myself to slow up before I get to the cone and begin crossing over. The best I've done is started crossing over in the center on the turn. Is this normal for the shape of our rink or is it entirely possible to be able to ease up halfway to 3/4 of the straight and crossover hard in the turns? I realize you might not be able to answer that without seeing the floor. Anyways, thanks in advice.
My approach to mastering things is to first tenaciously work toward grasping their related key underlying principles. I advise anyone serious about improving their skating speed to wrap their mind around these principles, as a foundation for better understanding why and how optimum results demand proper technique and form.

A while back I launched a long and controversial thread titled "How your stroke gives you speed." The thread focused on the paradox of why & how, once you reach speed, pushing your strokes at exactly 90 to the direction of travel is the most efficient skating form.

Starting with simple concepts, we know that things in motion will sustain a straight line path in the direction of their momentum, unless some external force acts laterally to push them off line from that direction of motion.
The result of applying such a lateral force at exactly 90 to the direction of travel, despite the fact that none of this force is applied toward the direction of travel, is to STILL accelerate the object to an increased overall speed, but with an altered path of motion.

When an asteroid is traveling through empty space, it follows a straight line, but as it approaches a massive object, gravity pulls on the asteroid and turns it away from its linear path, and this force accelerates the asteroid to a greater speed. Even at the point when the asteroid's momentum path is pointing at exactly 90 from the center of the massive object, the object's pull still adds to the momentum & speed of the asteroid, according to the strength of the the gravity pulling force.

So back to skating, the best way we gain & sustain speed is by applying lateral outward (indoors: rink outward/ outdoors: body outward) stroke push forces at near to 90 to our direction of travel. It helps to focus more on the heels pushing out, and keeping both the heels and the toes each down all the way through the strokes, to prevent the push from angling backward too much.

Now with this principle of motion explained, we need to understand a couple things about maximizing the energy that each and every one of our push strokes can give us.

First of all, it is imperative to clearly grasp what it is we are really pushing with our strokes, and the answer to this is that we are PUSHING the MASS of our BODIES, and DISPLACING that mass laterally. Most people focus way too much on the idea of pushing down onto the floor with their leg motion outward (or, wrongly, rearward), but the whole point of this leg push is to get their body's mass to move as FAR and as FAST laterally inward, in the opposite direction of the leg thrust, as possible.

Understanding this basic concept is critical for realizing why and how so many aspects of good speed technique work and make sense. So lets start with why skating low is so important. If you skate upright, how far laterally can your push travel before your skate must come up off the floor? I assure you that it is not very far, compared to how far you can extend your push maintaining good grip floor contact when your body stays low.

The next concern is how much power (energy per second) can you get into your push. You quad muscles are the strongest in your body, but in order to have them rapidly move your body mass laterally, they must be aligned more horizontally than vertically. An upright leg without much knee bend cannot provide the kind of a decent quad leg thrust it takes to produce a rapid. lateral displacement of body mass away from the stroke's push direction.

Yes you can still be upright and use your hip muscles to swing your legs out like pendulums, but the force hips can produce is less than quads, and the amount of time that this upright leg swing can hold the floor is shorter than a low, knees bent,quad extension stroke can sustain.

One final point on skating low has to do with the lateral location of where you put your skates back down on the floor. Not only does your stroke have a strong thrust extension at the finish, but it also needs a begin from a laterally good starting point as well.

In order to move your body mass, laterally, the furthest and fastest you possibly can with each stroke, it is also imperative that you fully reach laterally and land your skates back down on the floor at the widest lateral reach location you can comfortably handle without losing balance. On the rink, this means a deep wide crossing reach inward with the right leg, and somewhat forward & inward lateral reaches with the left leg. How wide you can go with both of these leg reaches is controlled by how low you can get & stay in your skating stance.

This wraps up the skating low discussion, and I will now move on to the concerns about skating the shape of an oval track and where to do the crossovers.

The best speed skaters make their strokes only on the turns (except in final sprints). From earlier, we know that each stroke alters our direction of travel, so on the straightaways, doing strokes would not keep us on an optimum straight path.

On the turns, each stroke alters our direction ("angle steps us") to the left which is the ideal direction for following the desired curve of the track. Because of the curve, with resulting centrifugal force pulling us outward, this also allows strokes on curves to develop stronger inward pushing force against the body's outward centrifugal fors, as well as wider inward displacements of the body mass than can be accomplished with push strokes made on the straits. Strong skaters gain so much speed in corners on 3 or 4 strokes that they rarely ever push on the straights.

As to the optimum path to take on track, and where to make the crosses, the best skaters go wide to the wall on the straights and enter the curve sharply, typically making their first cross right at the 2stcone. They do not swing very wide past the 1st cone and head direct for the 2nd cone. They then power through the curve past the 1st cone cross with 2 or 3 more crosses (4 OR 6 more strokes), with last stroke ending on approach to the wall and close to, or right at, the middle of the straightaway. They effectively "round out" the oval shape of the track with their path.



I personally head into the curve starting with a right leg push outward just ahead of the cone and then dropping my left skate down, aiming it directly at the cone. Then, only at the last possible moment do I drive the left leg through its under push, just avoiding the cone as I pass it, while simultaneously reaching past the cone with my right leg coming back across onto the floor.

This prevents any skaters from cutting inside me on the turn and keeps body mass as near the center of the rink as possible to start the "sling shot effect" stage of powering through the rest of the turn and back out toward the wall of the straight.

Finally, an essential ingredient for doing all this well is to have good balance and directional control while skating on one foot only, especially in the curves, while staying low, while going fast, and while leaning inward.
This takes practice - lots of practice. You really must commit to skating circle crossovers for a lot of minutes - nonstop. I advise doing them in a slow motion way, like 3 times slower than normal. This means dwelling proportionally equal longer periods at each stage of the crossover while still flowing smoothly through it, but taking three times longer than normal. You will instantly discover at which points in the crossovers cycle you have problems maintaining your direction and balance.

As you improve with these, you can start taking the diameter of the crossover circles steadily smaller, and mix up doing them at a faster cadence too. With each of these changes, you will have to lean more, and this will force you to improve more with your low stance and balance.

Good Luck.

-Armadillo
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Old August 6th, 2013, 02:37 AM   #2
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Could you please clarify a few things?

1) (slowpoke) Could you provide some estimate of dimensions? As you can see from the diagram, the normal track is kind of a rectangle. The dots labeled 1 , 2, 3, and 4 are where the cones go. I am having a hard time imagining a corner tight enough that the good skaters wouldn't step it.

2) Could you please explain why you believe 90 degrees is the most efficient? It's been a while since I've taken physics, but that seems like how you would maintain a constant (angular) speed in a circle. I see two problems with that.
a) The corners are not perfect semi circles. If you did that, you would either swing so wide that other skaters would pass you on the inside or you would skate the straightaways away from the wall and have such a tight corner that you couldn't hold the same top speed.
b) Corners aren't taken at constant speed. One reason to stay wide and dive in is to scrub some speed so we can handle the tight corner. Then we power out because it is easy to maintain speed on a straightaway.
Given this, I would agree that the force should be close to 90 degrees, but I don't think it is exact. And the exact angle would be dependent upon skating style, floor conditions, and whether you are changing speeds (pace to sprint), since a different ratio of the forces in the total force would be needed to change direction versus change tangential speed. I really don't see how the asteroid metaphor applies. Gravity always applies force along the straight line between the center of masses, not at some special angle relative to the asteroid's path.

And my points:
1) We've argued the "all wheels down" versus "heel-toe" thing on another thread, but I am willing to have another go at it. I will point out that the calves are actually stronger than the quads (citation), which is part of the argument for heel-toe.

2) Another reason to stay low is to keep the abdomen engaged. This helps pull the right leg through on the crossover.

3) The best speed skaters don't push in the straightaways because it puts us (okay, maybe I'm not one of the best anymore, but I still ran 12.1 average for 20 laps at IDN despite being tuckered out from an entire week of racing and only running on 3 hours of sleep the night before) into the corner too fast. We have to scrub too much speed just to make the corner. This causes two problems. The first is we scrub too much because it is hard to scrub exactly the right amount, and we have to work to get the extra lost speed back. The second is that scrubbing takes time and we lose a cross. This is acceptable during a pass when you have to get by someone, but not in other conditions. Most good skaters will now just throw a minicross right before entering the corner for a little bit of extra speed. There are a few exceptional fast skaters who still left kick, but they tend to be the lighter ones.
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Old August 6th, 2013, 03:12 AM   #3
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Watch this video. Some great skaters here. Watch the skinny dude in black with the blue horizontal stripe on his uniform. He's very, very efficient, very smooth. If you can't sit through the whole thing, watch him starting about 7:00. Then watch him bridge the gap at about 7:45

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PODHR-u8cgE
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Old August 6th, 2013, 08:28 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by WJCIV View Post
Could you please clarify a few things?
...
2) Could you please explain why you believe 90 degrees is the most efficient? It's been a while since I've taken physics, but that seems like how you would maintain a constant (angular) speed in a circle. I see two problems with that.
a) The corners are not perfect semi circles. If you did that, you would either swing so wide that other skaters would pass you on the inside or you would skate the straightaways away from the wall and have such a tight corner that you couldn't hold the same top speed.
At cruising speeds, a 90 stroke laterally displaces your center of mass inward further and faster, which is the "engine" by which speed is gained & maintained. If you angle the stroke much rearward, your forward rolling velocity weakens your effective push stroke velocity, and if you angle the stroke forward, the force vector starts opposing your momentum vector. So very near 90 gets the most energy per stroke, once you reach decent speed.

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Originally Posted by WJCIV View Post
b) Corners aren't taken at constant speed. One reason to stay wide and dive in is to scrub some speed so we can handle the tight corner. Then we power out because it is easy to maintain speed on a straightaway.
Given this, I would agree that the force should be close to 90 degrees, but I don't think it is exact. And the exact angle would be dependent upon skating style, floor conditions, and whether you are changing speeds (pace to sprint), since a different ratio of the forces in the total force would be needed to change direction versus change tangential speed. I really don't see how the asteroid metaphor applies. Gravity always applies force along the straight line between the center of masses, not at some special angle relative to the asteroid's path.
For pure power, the 90 stroke is best, but at times a somewhat rearward offset from a 90 angled stroke can be used to alter the track of the skater or direct the body so as to land the next skate placement a slightly different spot on the floor. Floor conditions should not make any other angle stroke be stronger than the 90 one. Corners are usually taken with speed progressively increasing on every stroke. Direction change comes more from steering than from altering stroke angle from 90.

It was not a "asteroid metaphor." It was merely an example of how a force that has no component in an objects direction of travel can still affect the object to increase its velocity. Most skaters imagine that their stroke push must be directed at some rearward angle in order for it to propel them forward. This is only the case going from standstill up to the rolling speed point where forward velocity neutralizes the rearward component of a non-90 push stroke. At the slower speed, the rearward stroke is essential.


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Originally Posted by WJCIV View Post
And my points:
1) We've argued the "all wheels down" versus "heel-toe" thing on another thread, but I am willing to have another go at it. I will point out that the calves are actually stronger than the quads (citation), which is part of the argument for heel-toe.
Urethane rolls better when it is squished less, and sharing the load equally across all wheels makes them squish the least. The calf muscle cannot produce as great of a lateral displacement of the body's center of mass, as the quads can because the calf joint does not move things as far as the quads can. The energy gained from the stroke comes from how far and fast the mass of the body is laterally displaced. Quad muscles have more advantage for accomplishing this.

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2) Another reason to stay low is to keep the abdomen engaged. This helps pull the right leg through on the crossover.
IMO, The abdomen mainly works the pelvis, not the legs, and the pelvis should remain a stable foundation for everything else to react against, not be flexing and twisting around.

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Originally Posted by WJCIV View Post
3) The best speed skaters don't push in the straightaways because it puts us (okay, maybe I'm not one of the best anymore, but I still ran 12.1 average for 20 laps at IDN despite being tuckered out from an entire week of racing and only running on 3 hours of sleep the night before) into the corner too fast. We have to scrub too much speed just to make the corner. This causes two problems. The first is we scrub too much because it is hard to scrub exactly the right amount, and we have to work to get the extra lost speed back. The second is that scrubbing takes time and we lose a cross. This is acceptable during a pass when you have to get by someone, but not in other conditions. Most good skaters will now just throw a minicross right before entering the corner for a little bit of extra speed. There are a few exceptional fast skaters who still left kick, but they tend to be the lighter ones.
If a skater only pushes the straights and not the curves, they will not reach high enough speeds to be competitive. Push strokes on the straightaway are significantly weaker, and the few more powerful ones done on the curves are more than enough to reach and sustain maximum needed speed for rolling through the straight, and entering the next turn. My description was more for a lone skater against the clock type of a scenario.

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Old August 6th, 2013, 12:31 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by WJCIV View Post
3) The best speed skaters don't push in the straightaways because it puts us (okay, maybe I'm not one of the best anymore, but I still ran 12.1 average for 20 laps at IDN despite being tuckered out from an entire week of racing and only running on 3 hours of sleep the night before) into the corner too fast. We have to scrub too much speed just to make the corner. This causes two problems. The first is we scrub too much because it is hard to scrub exactly the right amount, and we have to work to get the extra lost speed back. The second is that scrubbing takes time and we lose a cross. This is acceptable during a pass when you have to get by someone, but not in other conditions. Most good skaters will now just throw a minicross right before entering the corner for a little bit of extra speed. There are a few exceptional fast skaters who still left kick, but they tend to be the lighter ones.
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If a skater only pushes the straights and not the curves, they will not reach high enough speeds to be competitive. Push strikes on the straightaway are significantly weaker, and the few more powerful ones done on the curves are more than enough to reach and sustain maximum needed speed for rolling through the straight, and entering the next turn. My description was more for a lone skater against the clock type of a scenario.
This exchange is exactly the problem, thanks WJCIV for trying to inject reality into this blathering, you are pointing out why skaters don't accelerate the straights, admirably, and 'do is off on another tangent, exactly 180degrees from the point, as usual, not a personal attack, just pointing out it's impossible to have a conversation with with a person that's a contrarian, not that there's anything wrong with that

This is not a case of if you can't do it teach it, first you have to understand it correctly
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Old August 6th, 2013, 01:41 PM   #6
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At cruising speeds, a 90 stroke laterally displaces your center of mass inward further and faster, which is the "engine" by which speed is gained & maintained. If you angle the stroke much rearward, your forward rolling velocity weakens your effective push stroke velocity, and if you angle the stroke forward, the force vector starts opposing your momentum vector. So very near 90 gets the most energy per stroke, once you reach decent speed.
If we drew a free body diagram, a push of 90 degrees on a perfect (semi-)circle would get us a constant angular velocity, assuming no friction was slowing us down in the tangential direction. Given a person going through a nearly semi-circular corner already at 20+ mph, you get something close to that, but not quite. You can claim that the stroke is the most efficient (I don't know), but if we were to draw a free body diagram it is about how the forces are applied, not the physiological ideals. Most of the energy will be about changing direction, but since we accelerate through corners, some will also be forward. You add the two components, and I don't believe it is 90 degrees. I would guess closer to 75.

Something else to point out is that there are two pushes per stroke. One is with the right foot, and the other is with the left. The left foot in particular seems to have more of a backwards force. That is physiological. If you turned your hips enough to get a 90 degree push out of the left foot, your balance would be thrown completely off.

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Direction change comes more from steering than from altering stroke angle from 90.
Steering requires friction, which means you are losing efficiency there. Maybe you do make up the efficiency by a more physiologically efficient stroke. I don't know.

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Originally Posted by Armadillo View Post
It was not a "asteroid metaphor." It was merely an example of how a force that has no component in an objects direction of travel can still affect the object to increase its velocity.
Because the asteroid maintains all component momentum in the original direction, and the new energy is in a new direction. But if a particular path were wanted, say to avoid some space cones, and you could apply a maximum amount of force, you would choose the direction of that force, not blindly put it at 90 degrees.

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Originally Posted by Armadillo View Post
Urethane rolls better when it is squished less, and sharing the load equally across all wheels makes them squish the least. The calf muscle cannot produce as great of a lateral displacement of the body's center of mass, as the quads can because the calf joint does not move things as far as the quads can. The energy gained from the stroke comes from how far and fast the mass of the body is laterally displaced. Quad muscles have more advantage for accomplishing this.
The toe push is not about getting the maximum roll on that one wheel that remains on the ground. That is a push wheel. If it deforms and doesn't roll as much, so be it. If anything, that makes it easier to push off. And 95+% of the weight is already on the other foot, so I don't see how you are deforming the those wheels any extra by "lingering" the extra split second for a toe flick. The heel part of heel-toe is because you are reaching for the longest stroke possible, which I believe is what you said we wanted earlier.

It could be that flat on the floor is a better push, but your reasoning doesn't make sense.

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IMO, The abdomen mainly works the pelvis, not the legs, and the pelvis should remain a stable foundation for everything else to react against, not be flexing and twisting around.
Try kicking a ball without moving your arms. Now do it again moving your arms. Which has more force? Part of this is balance, but part of it is also the natural synergy of muscles, and the core plays a big part in that.

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If a skater only pushes the straights and not the curves, they will not reach high enough speeds to be competitive. Push strikes on the straightaway are significantly weaker, and the few more powerful ones done on the curves are more than enough to reach and sustain maximum needed speed for rolling through the straight, and entering the next turn. My description was more for a lone skater against the clock type of a scenario.
I was agreeing with you, but giving the reasoning. Straightaway pushes are rarely used with good reason, but it isn't about efficiency. If I could apply some extra force and get a little bit more overall speed when I am currently just sitting there, I would. It is about the ability to hold the corner, where the real power strokes are. If you have to choose between corner and straightaway strokes, choose corner. All I did was explain why you do have to choose.

There are some floor conditions where we just don't get as much roll and we can get away with an extra straightaway push without building up too much speed to enter the corner. In those cases, you often see the top skaters taking minicrosses instead of left kicks.
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Old August 6th, 2013, 04:50 PM   #7
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This exchange is exactly the problem, thanks WJCIV for trying to inject reality into this blathering, you are pointing out why skaters don't accelerate the straights, admirably, and 'do is off on another tangent, exactly 180degrees from the point, as usual, not a personal attack, just pointing out it's impossible to have a conversation with with a person that's a contrarian, not that there's anything wrong with that

This is not a case of if you can't do it teach it, first you have to understand it correctly
You clearly do not grasp what I stated.

Serious speed skaters don't push on the straights because they DON'T NEED TO, since 3-4 pairs of solid power strokes on the curves generates so much more speed than ones on the straights, those more efficient curve push strokes already give them as much or more speed than they can handle when they roll into the next curve. Gaining speed on straights takes more work for less results and is rarely needed except when sprinting/passing.

WJCIV and I are saying the same thing in that regard, just different details of principles versus finesse in applying principles.

If you had any real insights about asserted errors in my OP, people might learn more from you explaining things more accurately, as you see them, instead of attacking me personally. Until then, your post amounts to mostly mere hot air, and anyone seriously engaged with the discussion sees that.
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Old August 6th, 2013, 05:37 PM   #8
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If we drew a free body diagram, a push of 90 degrees on a perfect (semi-)circle would get us a constant angular velocity, assuming no friction was slowing us down in the tangential direction. Given a person going through a nearly semi-circular corner already at 20+ mph, you get something close to that, but not quite. You can claim that the stroke is the most efficient (I don't know), but if we were to draw a free body diagram it is about how the forces are applied, not the physiological ideals. Most of the energy will be about changing direction, but since we accelerate through corners, some will also be forward. You add the two components, and I don't believe it is 90 degrees. I would guess closer to 75.
You are no doubt right that perfect 90 cannot always be achieved and slightly less may even be a little better, but thinking and shooting for 90 usually only gets you close anyway.

However, you are totally avoiding the main point that the only reason to analyze the angle of the stroke is to determine what produces the most lateral inward displacement of the body mass at the highest lateral velocity in the shortest amount of time. This is what converts the work of skater into speed.
A skater is working to gain speed by the force of the push applied to moving their mass laterally inward as far and as fast as they can.
The further/faster you shift your body's center of mass laterally inward, the more speed you will gain. It is the impulse applied onto the body's mass, produced from this leg thrust that adds to your momentum. So pay more attention to what gives best lateral movement of your body, and less on your leg thrusts only.

The vector addition may optimize at slightly less than 90 for each person, but remember that your push foot skate is also steering an arc as it lays down the push thrust.

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Originally Posted by WJCIV View Post
Something else to point out is that there are two pushes per stroke. One is with the right foot, and the other is with the left. The left foot in particular seems to have more of a backwards force. That is physiological. If you turned your hips enough to get a 90 degree push out of the left foot, your balance would be thrown completely off.
I consider them left & right strokes with the combo being the stroke cycle.
True that turning hips is bad, and not turning makes hitting a perfect 90 push with left leg not so possible. More of a goal to shoot for, and take what you get.


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Originally Posted by WJCIV View Post
Steering requires friction, which means you are losing efficiency there. Maybe you do make up the efficiency by a more physiologically efficient stroke. I don't know.
Another reason to step your strokes on the curves, so less steering friction is lost. Then you roll the straights where that is not an issue.


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Originally Posted by WJCIV View Post
Because the asteroid maintains all component momentum in the original direction, and the new energy is in a new direction. But if a particular path were wanted, say to avoid some space cones, and you could apply a maximum amount of force, you would choose the direction of that force, not blindly put it at 90 degrees.
I already acknowledged this point. My OP was illustrating the PRINCIPLE of optimum skating more so than the "in race" requirements of dynamically handling changing situations to avoid collisions etc.


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The toe push is not about getting the maximum roll on that one wheel that remains on the ground. That is a push wheel. If it deforms and doesn't roll as much, so be it. If anything, that makes it easier to push off. And 95+% of the weight is already on the other foot, so I don't see how you are deforming the those wheels any extra by "lingering" the extra split second for a toe flick. The heel part of heel-toe is because you are reaching for the longest stroke possible, which I believe is what you said we wanted earlier.

It could be that flat on the floor is a better push, but your reasoning doesn't make sense.
The toe flick will be OVER-DEFORMING the single wheel down and this steals a good chunk of the energy that it is meant to be producing.


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Originally Posted by WJCIV View Post
Try kicking a ball without moving your arms. Now do it again moving your arms. Which has more force? Part of this is balance, but part of it is also the natural synergy of muscles, and the core plays a big part in that.
Yes. core strength holds the skeletal foundation steadily in the right place for so that all the moving parts can do their motions in an optimal fashion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WJCIV View Post
I was agreeing with you, but giving the reasoning. Straightaway pushes are rarely used with good reason, but it isn't about efficiency. If I could apply some extra force and get a little bit more overall speed when I am currently just sitting there, I would. It is about the ability to hold the corner, where the real power strokes are. If you have to choose between corner and straightaway strokes, choose corner. All I did was explain why you do have to choose.
Yes, yes, we totally agree and for the same reason. Too bad ursle can't seem to realize that.


Quote:
Originally Posted by WJCIV View Post
There are some floor conditions where we just don't get as much roll and we can get away with an extra straightaway push without building up too much speed to enter the corner. In those cases, you often see the top skaters taking minicrosses instead of left kicks.
Conditions will always demand exceptions to general principle based rules, for sure. I am mainly just laying out general principles here.

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Old August 6th, 2013, 09:24 PM   #9
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When skating quads indoors, the most acceleration comes from the start and then the corner exit. Not too sure exactly what Dillo is saying, but it seems somewhere along these lines. If you are accelerating hard enough and long enough out of the corners the most steps you will take on a straight is probably 1 very short leg stride and then 1 very short corner setup step.

You will be travelling very quickly at this stage and unless you slow your legspeed down through the apex, and therefore momentum due to the directional shift,your exit speed and thus peak straight speed will reduce.

In a nutshell, to go really fast down the straight, you will be crossing over most of the way down it.

Very hard without big grip though.

Good luck.
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Old August 6th, 2013, 09:30 PM   #10
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I would recommend the OP get advice from a qualified speed coach, preferably one with indoor experience and wins under their belt.

Some of the skaters on this forum talk the talk.................

I am not this person but there is some basic stuff that is universal if you want to be a better skater. You need to bend your knees and push to the side, when crossing over your push with both feet needs to both counteract the centrifugal force that is created plus have a bit extra power so that speed is generated. With these two basics most skaters will improve.
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Old August 7th, 2013, 12:29 AM   #11
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Ah, I see I was 180 off on my assessment of the situation, mybad, but... I'm sorry bulls%itt makes me do things that my 20-20 hindsite isn't sorry about.

Bottom line, learning from an inadequate source is tantamount to going backwards in the grand design
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Old August 7th, 2013, 12:43 AM   #12
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This is better info than you get from most coaches now days. There are very few teams that teach quad skating and even fewer that know what they are talking about.
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Old August 7th, 2013, 01:39 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by kufman View Post
This is better info than you get from most coaches now days. There are very few teams that teach quad skating and even fewer that know what they are talking about.
+++10
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Old August 7th, 2013, 02:01 AM   #14
WJCIV
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Originally Posted by Armadillo View Post
However, you are totally avoiding the main point that the only reason to analyze the angle of the stroke is to determine what produces the most lateral inward displacement of the body mass at the highest lateral velocity in the shortest amount of time. This is what converts the work of skater into speed.

...

The vector addition may optimize at slightly less than 90 for each person, but remember that your push foot skate is also steering an arc as it lays down the push thrust.
We agree that the vast majority of the stroke should be sideways, not back. I just have a hard time with the 90 degree mark because using it implies a scientific rigor that I'm not sure we can claim - or is even perfectly correct.

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Originally Posted by Armadillo View Post
The toe flick will be OVER-DEFORMING the single wheel down and this steals a good chunk of the energy that it is meant to be producing.
Over-deforming. Okay. And? That wheel is not meant to roll (much). It is meant to provide resistance for the calf muscle to push. I've never heard a skier complain that their poles don't slide when they are pushed into the ground - that just provides a stable base for pushing. The action of the poles (or pushing foot) is separate from the skis (or rolling foot).

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Originally Posted by Armadillo View Post
Conditions will always demand exceptions to general principle based rules, for sure. I am mainly just laying out general principles here.
Quoted for emphasis. A lot of speed skating is getting a feel for the sport and your own body. That means lots of practice and adjustments.
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Old August 7th, 2013, 03:52 AM   #15
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Slowpoke, I'm 32(33 next month) and we got everything to prove man! That us older guys will still beat these "in their prime" skaters! Heh.

The focus of a stride is a 90 push, however none of us are going to achieve that, but the faster/harder we can laterally push at that "90 stride" the more speed we will generate.

Depending on quads or inlines, foot positioning is slightly different but both share a large amount of technique.


What makes a good sprinter(on foot i mean) will make a good speed skater. You just merely adapt one discipline to another. TKD(Tae Kwon Do) is a great cross training sport for skating. Its a martial arts that pretty heavy into kicks, and using your bodys recoils as inertial counters to increase velocities of punches.

I did not skate for almost 6 years, and took TKD for 2 of those non skating just efor getting back into it. I honestly was a better skater after the TKD. Albeit a short relearning, time of about 2 weeks, my overall footwork and placements were far better due to the kicks and their precision we strived for in class. This kicking precision allowed me to be able to strike the ground more proficiently, resulting in a noticeable increase in my speed and stamina.

You dont need to just go skate fast to be fast. In fact thats the WORST way to train to be faster. Skating fast and hard is to build strength, stamina, and overall resilience to the pain of fatigue. ONCE YOU ARE FATIGUED, make it count, use those now sloppy muscles to focus on form improvement. When a tired muscle is forced to be precise it builds coordination at an alarming rate. Make your last strides your best! The body remembers what its done, try to stop at your best. Then sleep soon afterwards, your progress will happen much faster this way.
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Old August 13th, 2013, 05:31 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mort View Post
Slowpoke, I'm 32(33 next month) and we got everything to prove man! That us older guys will still beat these "in their prime" skaters! Heh.

The focus of a stride is a 90 push, however none of us are going to achieve that, but the faster/harder we can laterally push at that "90 stride" the more speed we will generate.

Depending on quads or inlines, foot positioning is slightly different but both share a large amount of technique.


What makes a good sprinter(on foot i mean) will make a good speed skater. You just merely adapt one discipline to another. TKD(Tae Kwon Do) is a great cross training sport for skating. Its a martial arts that pretty heavy into kicks, and using your bodys recoils as inertial counters to increase velocities of punches.

I did not skate for almost 6 years, and took TKD for 2 of those non skating just efor getting back into it. I honestly was a better skater after the TKD. Albeit a short relearning, time of about 2 weeks, my overall footwork and placements were far better due to the kicks and their precision we strived for in class. This kicking precision allowed me to be able to strike the ground more proficiently, resulting in a noticeable increase in my speed and stamina.

You dont need to just go skate fast to be fast. In fact thats the WORST way to train to be faster. Skating fast and hard is to build strength, stamina, and overall resilience to the pain of fatigue. ONCE YOU ARE FATIGUED, make it count, use those now sloppy muscles to focus on form improvement. When a tired muscle is forced to be precise it builds coordination at an alarming rate. Make your last strides your best! The body remembers what its done, try to stop at your best. Then sleep soon afterwards, your progress will happen much faster this way.
I heartily endorse this principle of training. Every person has their own unique way by which they recruit their muscle groups to perform physical activity. We all tend to favor certain muscle groups more than others, and this preferential way of recruiting muscles to handle the exercise task at hand is often not really optimum.

Except with the rare natural athletes, most of us only partially recruit the available full complement of potential muscle groups. Instead we have habit patterns of over reliance on our favored muscles and under reliance on other groups.

Only when we really exert ourselves to the point of exhausting our more favored muscle groups to where they start to break down and "need some help," do we have the real opportunity to establish some new habit patterns of more effective muscle recruitment.

For me personally, I deliberately structure my workouts to have their beginning portions quickly tire me out with higher intensities of effort.
Once I have that sense that my over relied on muscles are becoming tired, I start being more attuned to recruiting other muscles in a more overall coordinated way. There is a point where things come together and I feel how a distinctly better skating form emerges, as the full "orchestra" of muscle groups finally all starts playing the music in sync together.

For me, this is the most valuable stage of my workouts. I back off intensity at this point so that I can sustain this period when, the typical bad habits of muscle recruitment are more neutralized. In this mode it is much easier for me to feel how better muscle recruitment yields improved form and efficiency. I then work hard at integrating that feeling in my "muscle memory" patterns, so that old habits of less efficient muscle recruitment & form get gradually displaced with better new ones.

At some point later in the workout, further tiredness has me reaching the stage where my form starts to break down rapidly, from thoroughly pooped muscles, and at this point I wrap up my workout, or else I might work at pushing the endurance envelope for a while before wrapping up.

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Old August 14th, 2013, 02:46 AM   #17
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There are a couple of things that should be added:

1) The arms. When you go around a turn, the outside arm (the right arm) swings long. Not so long that you stretch yourself out, but swing from the shoulder and across your body nearly (but not quite) to the point that it crosses your opposite shoulder. The left arm is short. You do not quite keep the left elbow pinned to your side, but that isn't a bad way to think about it. Do not swing the shoulders. This helps you aim your shoulders and hips correctly. You still have to know the right angle to aim for relative to the corner, but I don't know how to describe this. It is more to the outside of the corner than when you skate inlines, but that doesn't help you much. (Note that the long right-little left is the same in inlines, and reversing this actually makes opposite direction turns much easier.)

2) For speed, keep your weight back. For maneuvering keep it forward. Some skaters will shift weight forward going into corners and shift back for the straightaways. I will tell you that it is really hard to maintain a weight back position for any length of time. It wears out the thighs pretty quickly.

3) The toe flick. We can argue about this all day, but I might as well explain it. Your ankle pivots, which means that your toes can extend further into the push than your heels. A lot of successful quads skaters take advantage of this, but only at the very end of the push. Once the leg is nearly fully extended so no more power will go through the heel, you flick your toe. This adds about 6 inches to the push - maybe less. On the opposite side of the step, when you step out (the crossover with the right leg, the step forward with the left) extend your step so much that when the wheels contact the ground you are hitting heel first. Again, this is only for the first 6 inches or so of the step.
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Old August 15th, 2013, 04:54 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WJCIV View Post
3) The toe flick. We can argue about this all day, but I might as well explain it. Your ankle pivots, which means that your toes can extend further into the push than your heels. A lot of successful quads skaters take advantage of this, but only at the very end of the push. Once the leg is nearly fully extended so no more power will go through the heel, you flick your toe. This adds about 6 inches to the push - maybe less. On the opposite side of the step, when you step out (the crossover with the right leg, the step forward with the left) extend your step so much that when the wheels contact the ground you are hitting heel first. Again, this is only for the first 6 inches or so of the step.
OK, I'm not the fastest guy out there and I don't race quads so maybe I don't know how they work but:
You are the first person I have ever heard that thought toe flicking was a good thing.
I have heard some that thought it was normal, or could not be avoided, but I have never met or heard, from anyone that thought it made them faster.
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Old August 15th, 2013, 08:29 AM   #19
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Discussing the inline or quad toe flick is another example of how skaters focus too much on their stroke, and to little on its purpose, which is to laterally displace the the center of mass of their body further and faster.

So, if the assumption is that the toe flick can help make the lateral displacement of body mass shift further, faster or both, then it should be a considered as an option for boosting a skater's speed.

The main question is whether the further extension of the toe/foot actually does move the body further or faster. The moment three wheels come off the rolling surface, the maximum level of lateral force that be sustained by the single, remaining down, front wheel drops significantly.

Meanwhile, the effect of getting up on the one front wheel tends to twist/bend the ankle/foot upward. steering the inline skate outward and away from the track of the curve. Combining this with the poorer roll that being on one wheel gives, and the net gain may not be as much as imagined.

In the case of quads, getting up on only the right front inside wheel (or left front inside) triggers the same poorer roll issue, and the front truck will also tend to be over steered to the inside, instead of the outside, causing a slight wobble effect.

Some strong foot/ankle/calf skaters may be able to overcome these effects to still gain some advantage from a toe flick, but I suspect they are in the minority.

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Old August 15th, 2013, 02:18 PM   #20
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OK, I'm not the fastest guy out there and I don't race quads so maybe I don't know how they work but:
You are the first person I have ever heard that thought toe flicking was a good thing.
I have heard some that thought it was normal, or could not be avoided, but I have never met or heard, from anyone that thought it made them faster.
Only on quads. Because of the flexibility of the ankle and the suspension underneath the ball of the foot, a proper quad skater can get a little bit of extra oomph. Because of the rigidity of inlines (ankle and skate), it is not a good idea. In that case, you wear yourself out. We can discuss the inline "power box" on another thread.

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Some strong foot/ankle/calf skaters may be able to overcome these effects to still gain some advantage from a toe flick, buy I suspect they are in the minority.
Fair enough. I have never done any time trials with the different forms. I do know that with or without the toe flick, I can manage 4 crosses in a normal corner. So the question is whether a toe flick is better than nothing. When I am in shape, it certainly feels like it. Keep in mind that 11 years ago I could run a 10.0 on quads, so my experience is probably not standard.
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