Hi Jim, Hey, thanks for your interest. For introduction, its real simple: Start on a smooth level surface. Get yourself going with just a little bit of speed. As your natural instinct is to start leaning forward to generate greater rearward push, I'm asking you to instead stand up as straight as you can like a soldier at attention.
Just before you feel like you're going to fall over backwards, as you're gliding, chip your skates out forward in front of you. While it seems completely off the wall, you will propel yourself forward.This is just to get you to understand the principles of physics I'm introducing you to.
Go back and forth between normal skating and with this "soldier's" posture until you get the feel of it and can propel yourself comfortably... Try it and let me know what you think...
Perhaps I'm not understanding the verb "chip". Physics says that if I push one foot straight forward, the remainder of my body will move back (equal and opposite reaction). I tried it and wasn't able to propel myself.
Apparently this is just the first step. I'm curious to know the rest. One point is that standing up increases air resistance, compared to being down, so does a well-experienced skater stand at attention?
Has this method been proven in races or time trials? Can you post a video, or pictures?
I realize that this can become counterintuitive to learn, so I’m asking you not to jump the gun in trying to extrapolate this for speed. The end result is a body posture that gets rid of your counterbalance arm swing, and your leg crossover in cornering. Its not what you expect, so please take one step at a time…
The verb "chip" in this context is to lean backwards and quickly push your skates outward as you're leaning with a slight backward feel.
At peak speed as your skills develop, for comparison, I only need six leg strokes to maintain speed compared to a traditional skater's ten leg strokes at identical pace. I'm also impossible to draft behind.
For background, I’ve taught this to Olympic skater KC Boutiette, former world record holder Kimberly Ames, who tested it for the Olympics and her husband and record holder Jonathan Seutter. Sprinter Tony Muse also leaned the basics from me in his testing for Olympic speed skating for its sprinting component advantages.
Even IISA skating instructor David Cooper has leaned my technique and together we taught it to skaters for the Athens to Atlanta race. David learned my technique as an alternative to back surgery. Given the choice, all of the skaters chose to skate my way after six miles and were all skating my way when they crossed the finish line.
Chipping your skates forward is your perception. So here’s the science: What you feel isn’t what you’re doing.
We’re all taught as skater to lean forward and push backwards. Unfortunately you can’t push backwards at some point fast enough to keep increasing in speed. Coaches will tell you to shift your leg strokes to the side as much as possible and push with your heel.
I compare what you're learning with this to cartoon characters sliding on ice. The natural reaction is to backpedal. The science is that if the friction of their shoes was greater than their bodyweight, then they would stand upright. Of course, the shoes were slick, went out from underneath them, and they landed on their butt. That’s the logic your brain is following.
However you’re in a different world with this. The mechanics of letting your body fall backwards, is actually being stopped by your skates. By standing at attention with your skates as close togetther as possible, it will feel like you're "waddling" on skates, but you're using your skates outward push to create a friction point greater than your bodyweight to hold yourself up. And with that balance point maintained, your rearward lean is pushing your skates outward at an angle much closer to perpendicular than your traditional forward leaning posture. That delicate balance point is what I’m asking you to find for yourself.
If you can learn to handle that balance point, it will seem a little strange, but your end result is that you’re still pushing backwards compared to a perpendicular measurement but at a much closer angle than with a traditional skating technique.
If you’re finding this hard to accomplish, try skating a little faster traditionally so that you have more momentum behind you as you try this. I sometimes teach it on a light downward slope to aid in forward movement if that works for you.
Since I’m physically not with you, I ask you to increase your base speed when you attempt the change until you can find that point where you can maintain some forward momentum while chipping your skates. it’s a delicate balance point to find, but once you do, the rest of this will start to make sense.
With that, I’d ask you to relax a little more and try to let your body instead of your mind figure out what you’re doing…
And once again, thanks for trying this. I’ll post a photo of your finished posture as a goal, but it will only make sense once you figure out the basics first…
Thanks for the detail. You're right, it's hard to pick this up without personal coaching, especially for me who has a hard time relaxing at anything, and am counterintuitively challenged. So probably best for me to check with some of those you mention who have experienced this. Please send me your real name so I can tell them whose technique I'm asking about.
I'm known by all of them as Bugman. I study insects and my technique is actually based upon how grasshoppers jump... David Cooper gave me the nickname. Jonathan and Kimberly skated with me in Portland, Or.
I have several different techniques that I use for the different types of surfaces that I skate. This reminds me of one that I use that looks like I have inverted the "C" pattern that I normally skate. All of the balance is on my heels at the time and the foot goes forward only shortly before I reload the next foot. The balance is really slippery from back there. It is not a good technique to skate fast. I only use it on very rough roads. I have seen some people using similar inverted foot work to speed skate. I have never seen anyone doing it that I couldn't out sprint. It is usually considered bad footwork.
My normal skating technique involves a push straight out to the side with my heel and a straight return back. This minimizes the motion needed for a push. Inline is different than ice because of the inherent frictional forces involved. There are more and shorter strokes over any given distance. This minimizes the effort required over long distances.
I don't usually let my leg fade very far back unless I am climbing hills. Friction buildup becomes more prominent the farther you lay your wheel over on its side. Letting your leg fade also leads to toe-pushing. You should be avoiding that anyway.
I stand almost straight up with bent knees when I skate slowly. I only lean over when I am going fast. Wind drag reduction and balance is improved in that position. That is a matter of physics.
My suggestion is that any game you learn to do with your feet with skates on will lead to better balance and recovery. I have many that I do. Be careful not to try to change your technique before a race, though. There is muscle memory that has to be learned before you apply it in a competitive envoronment.
Jonanthan Seutter is one of my friends. I'd like to ask him his opinion on this. What did you say your name was?
David Cooper described my tracks as having a wineglass shape to it. I don't teach pushing with the heel at all as you get up to speed, so you're somewhat off the mark in your assesment. And in caution, changing the way anyone skates is going to utilize muscles that you've never used. Therefore jumping into racing isn't advised until youve developed the strength and endurance necessary in your newly used processes, with that I agree with you.
As to forward lean, its compensation to how much propulsion energy is exherted rearward. At any given speed, the amount of forward lean is determined by your thrusting efficiency. If you at a speed have to integrate forward lean at a speed that I can still achieve standing upright, proves my propulsion efficiency.
Once optimum speed posture is attained, there's no aerodynamic pocket for a follower to take advantage of in drafting. If a skater can draft from you skating, you're not very aerodynamic...
I am afraid that this technique is missing out on a large part of the speed skating technique: the glide. It allows a skater to maximize the efficiency of energy application to the wheel before the push out to the side. It is integral to skating faster. The push is only part of the system.
I am also afraid that you are confusing leaning over with tucking down. It just looks like a lean. In the return swing to the glide, the foot pushes forward. This brings the center of balance closer to the head than the rear. A speed skater is not leaning over, so much as a skater is keeping their head in front of the center of balance, so they don’t fall over backward.
Actually “leaning over” puts a skater’s balance too far past the toes, and, this puts a skater off balance.
I can understand why this can be seen as a painful position. Improper tucking technique causes more stress on the core to force a balanced position. Proper technique promotes balance, which in turn leads to less effort. Once again, this is only used when skating very fast, otherwise, an upright position, with bent knees is the most efficient form to skate in at slower speeds.
This is the goal of endurance athletes. Skater faster, farther, and, easier.
The other major cure to back pain is strengthening the core. Enough said.
I think that not pursuing a proper skating stance with bent knees, keeping your center of balance low, and, centered, can compromise your ability to maintain balance and recover from hazards successfully. This is less of an issue indoor, more of an issue outdoor.
There is a whole field of math to tackle this problem. Aerodynamics gives us valuable insights into our world.
Coefficient of Drag = Cd
Scientific observation shows that
Drag increases with area: R ∝ A,
Drag increases with velocity: R ∝ v2
Drag increases with surface area: R ∝ Cd
This gives us: R=1/2(CdρAv2)
There is some heavy math here, but, Nasa uses these equations to build rockets. This theory proves that only aerodynamic shape that eliminates draft is the shape of a raindrop..
This is the shape that you find on computer drafted applications such as race helmets, planes, trains, and, other vehicles. It is impossible to even approach such a shape without entering a tucked position. Human beings will always create a draft pocket behind them at speed based on the laws of aerodynamics. The amount of draft is proportional to the relative speed.
Only raindrops don’t draft.
I would caution skaters to approach this technique with open eyes and ears. Decide for yourself if it should be part of your arsenal.
I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on television. I am a world record athlete with an estimated 80,000 kilometers lifetime.