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Thread: Advice on closed hips (limited turn out)

  1. #1
    Rinkside
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    Advice on closed hips (limited turn out)

    Hello, let me introduce myself. You can just call me Xstatic. I'm new to figure skating, I've been learning for 3 months, and I've pretty much nailed the lessons that were given to me, can't figure out the names, but anyway, I haven't gotten to the turns yet, and I got my first jump lesson yesterday. We practiced the waltz jump.

    The only problem with me is that my hips are not limber. You all know that not all people are born with naturally open hips, that's why the spreadeagles are not included in most figure skating competitions. I can't do a spreadeagle, it's just difficult. I want to ask about transitions, because sometimes you need a good turn out to transition from one direction to another. This part can be tricky. I just need some input from those who understand or are going through the same thing. I'd appreciate it a lot.

    P.S. I'm 20 years old.

  2. #2
    Keepin' it real gsk8's Avatar
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    Welcome!

  3. #3
    Sitting Here on Blue Jay Way silver.blades's Avatar
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    There is always a possibility that your hips are too closed to do a spread eagle no matter how much you work at it. That said stretching out your hips can't hurt. See if you can get the position while standing at the boards. Make sure you turn out from your hips, although thinking heels forward tends to help. Be careful of your knees. Off ice you can try the butterfly stretch, sitting down with the soles of your feet together and lean forward pushing your knees towards the ground and the same position, but lying on your stomach. In terms of transitioning between directions in a spreadeagle, try to gain some momentum through the free leg during the transition. Bending your knees to get into the second direction can also help.

  4. #4
    Rinkside
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    Thanks for the advice, I'm already doing all of this. But I'm not worried about the spreadeagle. It's the transitioning. For example when figure skaters do the step that's a head start for the spin. Let's say first they do a backwards crossover, they want to transition from backwards to forwards, (I'm not talking about one foot turn) they open their hips so that one leg turns out which transitions them to the forward direction. I hope I'm clear. This is tricky for me because when I transition and open my hips to turn my foot out to the other direction, the other foot gets dragged up with it so that it turns. I'm new to figure skating, so I'm not sure if this is a big deal, although I've seen this kind of transition being done without having to open your hips that wide. Here's a video example

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2rWh4N-LyU

    The step that starts the spin I'm talking about is at 0:05, you need to open your hips for that, but this woman didn't open her hips that wide, I can probably do that. This kind of transition is just a little bit tricky for me cuz I can't do a full 180 degree turn out. just probably a 110 or something.

  5. #5
    On the Ice
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    Try a ballet class. It teaches turn out from the hips. Here is and article and some exercises. http://www.livestrong.com/article/35...allet-dancers/

    I think a lot has to do with genetics but I am sure yo can trim your hips to have some turn out.

  6. #6
    Sitting Here on Blue Jay Way silver.blades's Avatar
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    Sorry I misunderstood what you were talking about. That's something that will just need practice. More turnout can help with the entries to spins, but as long as you can get to 90 degrees, which almost everyone can, you'll be able to do it. It's not so much a matter of turnout of the hips, but turnout of the foot and ankle in this case. 180 turnout would actually make the entry to the spin more difficult. Try working on T-pushes from a stand still, first pushing to a flat and then pushing onto an outside edge as it's the same basic motion.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xstatic View Post
    Thanks for the advice, I'm already doing all of this. But I'm not worried about the spreadeagle. It's the transitioning. For example when figure skaters do the step that's a head start for the spin. Let's say first they do a backwards crossover, they want to transition from backwards to forwards, (I'm not talking about one foot turn) they open their hips so that one leg turns out which transitions them to the forward direction. I hope I'm clear. This is tricky for me because when I transition and open my hips to turn my foot out to the other direction, the other foot gets dragged up with it so that it turns. I'm new to figure skating, so I'm not sure if this is a big deal, although I've seen this kind of transition being done without having to open your hips that wide. Here's a video example

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2rWh4N-LyU

    The step that starts the spin I'm talking about is at 0:05, you need to open your hips for that, but this woman didn't open her hips that wide, I can probably do that. This kind of transition is just a little bit tricky for me cuz I can't do a full 180 degree turn out. just probably a 110 or something.
    If you have turn out of 110 degrees, then you have enough turn out for all of the turns in figure skating. I, too, have imperfect turn out, but have found that good technique is all I really need to master the turns. Mohawks and choctaws (the turns you're most likely thinking of- the turn entry, for instance, is a choctaw) look like they'd need full turn out, but they don't. They do need a working knowledge of how to turn out at the hip in general, but even 90 degrees of turn out can be sufficient. A good exercise for this can be to sit in a reclined position on the floor with both legs straight (you can lean on your elbows), then lifting one leg and practicing turning it out and back in from the hip. This can also improve your turn-out as active flexibility (the ability of your muscles to move your body through it's full range of flexibility) is usually more important than passive flexibility (how far you can get yourself into a stretch) when doing actual skills. When you're doing the turns you'll need to get used to bringing a somewhat turned out foot (again, 90 degrees is sufficient) to the inside of the instep of the gliding foot. Once you're comfortable gliding on an edge with your free foot in position then you'll be all set to master the turn. I will actually try to feel my heel touch my instep when I'm working on foot position. The position for open turns (which are the ones you'll use most- don't worry about closed turns yet) is more like a third position in ballet than a fifth. You can also practice this off the ice.

    If you still want to stretch for turn-out with the hopes of doing spread eagles some day, you can try a butterfly stretch, a frog stretch (lie on your stomach with your knees bent and out to the side), and what I call a reverse frog stretch (lie on your back with your knees bent and out to the side). Ballet classes will help you learn to activate your turn out muscles as well as helping with carriage, flexibility, and coordination.
    Last edited by MoonlightSkater; 10-07-2012 at 09:35 AM.

  8. #8
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    It's possible your hips will not turn out, so don't push it too hard. You could end up tearing something (I speak from experience).
    Last edited by leafygreens; 10-23-2012 at 09:38 AM.

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