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Speed Skating Forum Most of the discussions in this forum will be about inline speed skating but discussions about ice speed skating and quad roller speed skating are also welcome.

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Old September 13th, 2009, 01:51 AM   #1
Bill in Houston
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Default Double push - muscles used

Trying to keep the question simple so that people feel like they can keep their answers simple.

On the part of the double push normally called the underpush, if you just set down your right foot:
Do you use your groin muscles to pull the right leg to the left, towards and across the centerline?
or
are you somehow able to get the setdown foot to go left toward the centerline and across without using your groin muscles to make it happen?

Watching the popular videos with Briand and the one with Hedrick in Korea, they set down the right foot under the right shoulder and it goes left toward and across the centerline. Just wondering if they have to use the groin muscle to make that happen.

Thanks for the help.
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Old September 13th, 2009, 02:35 AM   #2
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I'll probably be able to give you a better answer once i've gone skating with the question in mind...but off the top, I'd say its more weight transfer and how you set down your foot than outright groin push. Maybe
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Old September 13th, 2009, 05:26 AM   #3
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No, you don't pull! Bad!

Your body should be coming over from the left and over to the right which is how the leg is getting under the body. By the time you start pushing, it is already on the outside edge and under the center of gravity.

This is what the left leg kickback helps doing. It helps throw the body weight to the right and over the top. It also helped me to use the end of the left outstroke as a means of throwing the body right to set up the right foot underpush.
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Old September 13th, 2009, 08:40 AM   #4
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Ok here i will give you pure theory of this issue. I have had same issue when I was starting to do DP as I had a feeling that only weight transfer doesnt contribute enough to my underpush speed, so I did add leg-straighten at underpush and now I can feel the carve and additional speed. However before this I went and see all the DP's and since there are a lot of different versions you just need to know which one you'll use at which time. Just weight transfer is obviously good when skating in pack or long solo breakaway when you want to save your strength, but with power-underpush (lets say it like that) you will do much better on gradual acceleration or when you want to be upping your top speed.

At start (Chad) DP technique was used primarily for saving your strength, but nowdays (Eddie Metzger) it is thought more like a powerpush. This is nicely shown on youtube. Eddie is doing DP like on waves, with body going up and down, while Chad is just floating there like he'd be on holiday

So if you want to master whole of it you'll have to learn both (not like there is much of a difference), but I can tell you personally that if you are not strong enough you wont be doing leg-straighten on underpush since you will die in couple of miles.
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Old September 13th, 2009, 01:44 PM   #5
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The double push is much more than simply pulling your leg on the other side. You have to push it to the other side. Most people think they can do the double push because it feels like one, but they are wrong. I also thought I can do the double push because I could get my right leg as much left as chad did in his races and I was on an outside edge, but I was not faster than before (or only a bit faster because I lost weight).
Then a realized that with the kickback I am much faster than before because I do not loose as much power to get the skate back. Then I changed my Armageddon 4x100 1x90 to a much shorter 4x100 setup and I was much faster again because I lost much less power. Then I learned how to do a strong underpush, but I lost strength of the regular push. After some time I could do both. Then I learned how to get my upper body down to reduce air resistance, but then I could not underpush any more. Now I think I can also handle this, but now my legs are not strong enough to do that very long, so I have to train my legs and I am sure that this will also not a the real double push, but I am much faster than I was before.
A good training is to skate on one leg and try to not getting slower. I am now in a stage where I can nearly do this on flat surface when setting down the first wheel of the second skate.
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Old September 13th, 2009, 03:17 PM   #6
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The double push is much ...
Sooooo, what's your answer to the question? Thanks.
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Old September 13th, 2009, 06:24 PM   #7
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What I wanted to say is that you can only pull the leg and maybe it will look and feel like a double push, but you will not get any speed. You can only benefit from the underpush if you really push and that is the most difficult thing about it.
You also should not set your foot down on the right side with your right foot. You should set it down in the middle while transfering your weight on the right side und then you push.
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Old September 13th, 2009, 07:26 PM   #8
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You also should not set your foot down on the right side with your right foot. You should set it down in the middle while transfering your weight on the right side und then you push.
Thanks for the answer.

The reason that I asked the question the way that I did is that in the videos of Briand and Hedrick they are clearly setting down the right foot under the right shoulder. Not on certerline or just to the right of the centerline. It is clearly under the shoulder.

I can make the physics work to set down on the centerline, and just do a push with my quad muscles, as you have suggested, and as Eddy Matzger's drills seem to suggest.

What I am asking is whether setting down under the shoulder like those two guys requires using groin muscles to pull the leg toward the centerline.
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Old September 13th, 2009, 09:10 PM   #9
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What I am asking is whether setting down under the shoulder like those two guys requires using groin muscles to pull the leg toward the centerline.
It does. It is just which DP you want to be doing. Like i wrote above every one of them has it pros and cons. And just because you dont feel speed (push) at weight transfer it doesnt mean it isnt there andy, but when you do proper underpush you add even more.
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Old September 13th, 2009, 11:16 PM   #10
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I agree w most of what's being said but will try to say it a bit different.

Most experts, especially Bill Begg, the elite New Zealander coach, clearly say that you shouldn't pull in, but set down your underpushing foot on a slight outside edge with weight balanced so you can directly begin to push through the underpush. I tried the "pull method", but it made no sense to me.

In our discussion, the left foot is outpushing and the right about to underpush. To get myself properly balanced over the right foot for a good underpush, I first need a good, solid, 'through the heel' outpush from my left foot. Like a crossover, the outpushing foot assists the weight transfer onto the outside edge of your right foot. If your outpush is weak, like if you pronate or toe out the stroke, you won't get over you right foot well and your subsequent underpush will suck. But, after all, you have to do a lot of sucky underpushes to eventually get good ones.

I can't say I agree w Sheldon's idea of using the recovering leg to get out over your outside edge. Agreed the recovering leg comes back and the recovering foot hides behind or goes even further behind your underpushing leg. But this is not so much to throw your body weight over, than just to maintain the right balance as you go through your underpushing stroke. When I dp, I focus on getting good outpushes to get my weight over the underpushing foot. I don't use my recovering leg to throw my weight around cause it would throw off my balance.

For most of us who skate as hobby, this is a complex stroke. I can get extra speed from my dp soon after starting my skate, but to dp and use less energy can take a lot of warm up....perhaps 3 to 6 miles of skating or more

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Old September 14th, 2009, 12:31 AM   #11
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After asking my coach and analyzing some videos, I believe there's no real pull, even when you see chad's extreme setdown under his shoulder. As much as the setdown is extreme, he's also moving his torso from side to side more than others I've seen, so I believe that instead of pulling there's an extension at the knee while the skate is stirred across the line of travel and most of the power comes from the quads and glutes and everything is balanced by the torso, hips and recovery leg movements.

There's also a difference between cruising efficiently and accelerating. When cruising you don't need as much push, and you don't want to waste all that energy shifting weight so extremely. Look at Diego Rosero here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5tRRsPql58. His setdown is under his body while cruising. Contrast it with videos of Joey Mantia's 39mph or whatever he has on youtube where the setdown is more to the outside (but looks different from chad's style).

There's the Scott Arlidge video where he's more compact and centered, even when accelerating and you can hardly see an underpush. Maybe it works for him or maybe sprints are not his expertise.

In conclusion, I still don't have a definite answer.
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Old September 14th, 2009, 12:59 AM   #12
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There's the Scott Arlidge video where he's more compact and centered, even when accelerating and you can hardly see an underpush. Maybe it works for him or maybe sprints are not his expertise.
This is pretty much why I asked. If you look at 35 seconds and the 10 seconds or so that follows, there is no underpush, really. His foot is set down on an outside edge across the centerline, but doesn't go any further. If you ask him, he would probably say that he is underpushing. But is he really? When I watched my video, I realized that this is what I was doing. Is that really a double push, or just an across-the centerline setdown? Does that help him/me go faster? or do I need to set down under the shoulder a la hedrick and briand?
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Old September 14th, 2009, 02:25 AM   #13
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I looked again and it does look like a minimal underpush or no underpush at all, but I think it was during a full out sprint, just to officially get to 65kph. I think at maximum leg speed there's no wasted gliding time, even without underpush. Anyway, I don't see that setdown as just across the center line. To me it looks pretty centered with his setdown leg fully loaded with all his weight.

I don't know exactly what you're doing now or what you should do because I didn't see your video, but I believe it's all about setting down the skate under your weight, fully loaded. If you set down under the shoulder it's not like most of your weight is still on the other side, because it's actually accelerating opposite to the underpush. On the other hand if you set down under your center line, perhaps there's no need for so much torso movement, and it's suitable for cruising.

I now checked the most recent video I have of Joey, the final sprint of the Berlin marathon 2009. He looks more compact and centered than on what he has on youtube. Maybe he was tired, or his technique evolved, or it just seems that way because the video is not head on.

Again, for me it's still theory and I'm still testing it. You should probably send your video to a professional coach.
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Old September 14th, 2009, 03:06 AM   #14
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I also think that different DP techniques work and it's a matter of determining which works best for you. I think the main thing is to stay off the top of the wheel by using both edges and driving the knee forward. I've used a pull and a push with a knee extension. Both seem to work for me. I feel more comfortable with the pull though, so I tend to use it instinctively. I think I use the push in a pack when not working so hard.
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Old September 14th, 2009, 04:53 AM   #15
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These are really good and long videos. Haven't seen them before. To add to all this, everyone has their own coordination and so skating style. I think that if you can extend your underpushing leg into the underpush then you're doing a dp. I suppose that mostly elite skaters ever perfect this complicated stroke. Fortunately, it's fun trying.
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Old September 14th, 2009, 06:18 AM   #16
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Was mindful of this thread while skating Griffith today - thoughts are:

- People have said you need to be moving ~15mph+ to be effective...seems about right to me. This doesn't mean you can't get your set down right still though. Take a look at female skaters who 'don't do a double push' and they still set down on the outside and roll it under their body during recovery. Getting a good set down, getting the knees together and doing the recovery correctly were big efficiency boosters for me. Particularly the notion of bringing through from the hip as if getting the back wheel down first on the recovery - it doesn't usually happen that way for me, but its what I shoot for. Helps a lot when I'm on the flat doing the same pace for miles and miles to really get that recovery right.

- Sometimes I'll pull a little bit on the underpush to help coax me up a little incline or accelerate gradually, or just be a little lazier with my outpush on the level - this can save me some wind for when I need it, and it works efficiently for me even when I'm not going fast enough to make a 'full' recovery practical. Same way you can switch up your hands, mess with the angle of your back...being able to shift muscle groups around slightly helps on long skates. This seem much more like 'kicking my leg forward/out' after set down than 'pulling' with my groin. Groin seems to be used to position the leg (so, the foot) so I can get the push right, not actually to do the work. On moderate 'pushable' downhills I can move into what looks like a deeper double push but I don't really put much power on either - doing both strokes seems to make me more efficient and (like in rain), more, less powerful strokes are more stable on the downhill as you pick up speed.

- When I accelerate from speed to higher speed, I'll start to do the 'straighten the leg' thing on my underpush but I can't do so effectively until I'm moving quick enough to be in 'full swing' on my recovery. Once I can get my recovering leg behind the support leg, I can really carve it around deep and jam the leg straight for some power. Trying to force this without the 'full' recovery seems like a good way to fall over. As mentioned, this chews up the stamina. I really hammer the leg 'kick' when I'm powering up a hill or need to accelerate quickly to top speed for some reason. Aside from training intervals or whatever, I deploy this with caution as doing so requires a reasonable wind-recovery period out of me. YMMV.

Cliffs: It's not all or nothing, can do an underpush without putting any real power on it, sometimes beneficial. Accurate set-down != underpush. Groin doesn't do any heavy lifting.
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Old September 14th, 2009, 02:45 PM   #17
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Fortunately, it's fun trying.
I completely agree...
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Old September 14th, 2009, 07:29 PM   #18
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The reason that I asked the question the way that I did is that in the videos of Briand and Hedrick they are clearly setting down the right foot under the right shoulder. Not on certerline or just to the right of the centerline. It is clearly under the shoulder.
1.) I think we can not compare our technique with that of Chad or other top athletes. If you bend your knees more and do a very strong regular push with a good outside edge you can set the leg much more on the right side, but to do this you have to skate on a much higher level.

2.) The sprinting technique is much different from the normal technique and if you compare Joey Mantia sprinting at 40 mph he has to move completely different then if you are skating at 15 mph. Here is a good video of Joey. At 7:30 you can see him starting in slow motion (1:12).
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Old September 14th, 2009, 08:19 PM   #19
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FWIW, Old/only pic of me doing a double:


By no means the ideal technique, but I like the pic because you can see the right leg straightening & foot carving back. Recovering left is on its way back behind my right knee. Not low enough, arms not doing exactly what they ought. Recovering foot is open, shouldn't be...Photo-op helmet fail, etc.
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Old September 14th, 2009, 09:21 PM   #20
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Quote:
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There's the Scott Arlidge video where he's more compact and centered, even when accelerating and you can hardly see an underpush. Maybe it works for him or maybe sprints are not his expertise.

In conclusion, I still don't have a definite answer.

That place looks so pretty to skate.
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