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Skydiving without a good arch...

 

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Numatik  (Student)

Aug 22, 2012, 6:03 PM
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Skydiving without a good arch... Can't Post

Hey guys!
This is kind of a long post but very important please read and post.
I am a noob this is my first post on the forum. Anyways I have done 3 tandem jumps, completed all practice throws, right 90, left 90, pull, and even the last time landed my first canopy(very very fast landing, and with lots of help from my coach on my back!)

I have completed ground school and am ready for my first solo AFF jump. I have a big problem I am stressing about and want your guys input...

Few years ago I had a very near tragic motorcycle accident... large femur rod, plastic surgery face, broken pelvis, broken ankle with hardware and the most important that seems to be my biggest obstacle is my back...

I have a spinal fusion from S1-L2 (8" segment of my lower back) that is fused together and cant move. My upper back I can arch some, but not like a regular person using there entire back. I spoke with a local he thought if I balanced my free fall using my legs and arms a little bit it would help for steady free fall, but I want more input. Skydiving has me hooked and I need to keep doing it. It is the best way to free the mind and I absolutely love it.

What do you guys think? Please lots of input, thanks guys!


Numatik  (Student)

Aug 22, 2012, 6:13 PM
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Re: [Numatik] Skydiving without a good arch... [In reply to] Can't Post

Almost forgot, I just got into physical therapy and I'm going to have them explain my back situation a little better, but should be assisting me a lot on my upper back.


Premier NWFlyer  (D 29960)

Aug 22, 2012, 6:18 PM
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Re: [Numatik] Skydiving without a good arch... [In reply to] Can't Post

You'll definitely get the best specific advice from the instructors at SkyDance (I'm a regular there, so I know for sure you'll get lots of good help there). From the way you've described it, it doesn't sound like your mobility limitations are something you can't get past to be a good skydiver, but a good evaluation on the ground from a qualified instructor will probably provide the best confirmation of that.

One other thing to think about is that you're fortunate to live in a region with a wind tunnel. You could look into getting some time at the iFly SFBay wind tunnel down in Union City, as a chance to test how well you can arch and fly before going on a solo skydive.


airtwardo  (D License)

Aug 22, 2012, 6:25 PM
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Re: [Numatik] Skydiving without a good arch... [In reply to] Can't Post

Talk to your instructors, show them what you can do, listen to their advise.


That said, I have two 9 inch rods & 6 screws in my lower back and have had for 20 years...I make it a point to stretch everyday and have far more flexibility in the rest of my back and hips etc. than many jumpers not carrying steel in 'em.

Where there is a will there is usually a way...but if you're just getting into PT, are you all healed up yet?

When was the crash??

I took just shy of a year off jumping after surgery...


(This post was edited by airtwardo on Aug 22, 2012, 6:33 PM)


dthames  (B 37674)

Aug 22, 2012, 6:37 PM
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Re: [Numatik] Skydiving without a good arch... [In reply to] Can't Post

I am new to this sport and not a young man. I was told I had a lazy arch. In fact I just can't hold it deep for very long. I have stretched for over 8 months, twice a day, and have worked on muscle tone. I am still rather flat. My biggest real trouble was in AFF, as I was wobbling and was slow to learn to be stable. Instructors needed to help (hold) me more than most students. This sort of hampered my ability to learn. I finished by going to static line where I could work my way up from 5, 10, 20 seconds of stable free fall. It was not long before I had the stability problem whipped. I still fall slow, but no problem other than that.

You can do it.


Numatik  (Student)

Aug 22, 2012, 7:02 PM
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In reply to:
Talk to your instructors, show them what you can do, listen to their advise.


That said, I have two 9 inch rods & 6 screws in my lower back and have had for 20 years...I make it a point to stretch everyday and have far more flexibility in the rest of my back and hips etc. than many jumpers not carrying steel in 'em.

Where there is a will there is usually a way...but if you're just getting into PT, are you all healed up yet?

When was the crash??

I took just shy of a year off jumping after surgery...

Its great to hear other people are making it happen, jumping with injury's similar to mine! Unfortunate for anybody to be injured like me but very positive to see success! It has been 2 years since the crash, my back is healed at least. Im def gonna be talking with my instructors, and maybe heading down to the wind tunnel. I also need to be very careful with the landing, that is my only fear in skydiving, I feel like im educated and ready for it but its gonna be a trial and error im sure


Numatik  (Student)

Aug 22, 2012, 7:08 PM
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In reply to:
You'll definitely get the best specific advice from the instructors at SkyDance (I'm a regular there, so I know for sure you'll get lots of good help there). From the way you've described it, it doesn't sound like your mobility limitations are something you can't get past to be a good skydiver, but a good evaluation on the ground from a qualified instructor will probably provide the best confirmation of that.

One other thing to think about is that you're fortunate to live in a region with a wind tunnel. You could look into getting some time at the iFly SFBay wind tunnel down in Union City, as a chance to test how well you can arch and fly before going on a solo skydive.

Hey a local whats up!! Skydance is going to be my primary drop zone and I love it there. What would you reccomend to help me move forward like these other guys? I want all the input from everyone I can get cause lots of great minds have great ideas Cool

I am actually hitting up the wind tunnel next week, I want to have my handicap in control before I do my first solo. Unsteady freefall is noooo good!


Numatik  (Student)

Aug 22, 2012, 7:18 PM
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Re: [dthames] Skydiving without a good arch... [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I am new to this sport and not a young man. I was told I had a lazy arch. In fact I just can't hold it deep for very long. I have stretched for over 8 months, twice a day, and have worked on muscle tone. I am still rather flat. My biggest real trouble was in AFF, as I was wobbling and was slow to learn to be stable. Instructors needed to help (hold) me more than most students. This sort of hampered my ability to learn. I finished by going to static line where I could work my way up from 5, 10, 20 seconds of stable free fall. It was not long before I had the stability problem whipped. I still fall slow, but no problem other than that.

You can do it.

Arching is really hard. I have never done static line, only tandem+ . I think the wind tunnel should help me get get stable. I am gonna goto a few physical therapy sessions, stretch and work exercises at home, then make an ifly wind tunnel appointment. I still think this is gonna be real tricky, and figuring out how to maintain a steady position without much arch. Im just nervous, but the wind tunnel def looks like it should be the next stop.

Without much arch, do you compensate with your arms and legs to maintain a steady position?


Freakazoidile

Aug 22, 2012, 7:49 PM
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Re: [Numatik] Skydiving without a good arch... [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm sure you can do it!

I broke my pelvis a few years ago as well. When I first started skydiving I didn't think about it at all. As I was learning to skydive my instructors said my arms and chest were arched, but at my crotch I bent like I was sitting in a chair.

I did S/L progression so my freefalls were 5 seconds then 10 seconds, 15s, then top floor. I watched the video and it looked like I was seating in an invisible chair. I was perfectly fine once I picked up some speed (3-5 seconds after the exit) it was just sitting in the door then arching from that position that seemed to be difficult. It was just jumping out and arching right away that I seemed slow at. I never went unstable or had issues maintain stable. My instructors (and I) just weren't to pleased and something could have gone wrong/gone unstable. I did some practice on my arch and exit before going to top floor/60 second free fall on the ground.

I was jumping out of a Cessna 206 for my initial low altitude jumps. The DZ i go to uses a Caravan for top floor. My first exit out of it felt and looked (on video) alot better. I was able to stand outside the door and just step off/arch. I felt it much more comfortable doing this. My instructors were alot happier with this exit as well.


The best tip i got was 'try to stick your dick in the wing'. Look at the wing/ahead of the plane and try and f*ck it when you jump out. Worked like a charm for me. And it was pretty funny to think of to take my mind off any worry I had.

I'm sure with some coaching you will do just fine! Have fun and good luck.


Numatik  (Student)

Aug 22, 2012, 8:06 PM
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Re: [Freakazoidile] Skydiving without a good arch... [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I'm sure you can do it!

I broke my pelvis a few years ago as well. When I first started skydiving I didn't think about it at all. As I was learning to skydive my instructors said my arms and chest were arched, but at my crotch I bent like I was sitting in a chair.

I did S/L progression so my freefalls were 5 seconds then 10 seconds, 15s, then top floor. I watched the video and it looked like I was seating in an invisible chair. I was perfectly fine once I picked up some speed (3-5 seconds after the exit) it was just sitting in the door then arching from that position that seemed to be difficult. It was just jumping out and arching right away that I seemed slow at. I never went unstable or had issues maintain stable. My instructors (and I) just weren't to pleased and something could have gone wrong/gone unstable. I did some practice on my arch and exit before going to top floor/60 second free fall on the ground.

I was jumping out of a Cessna 206 for my initial low altitude jumps. The DZ i go to uses a Caravan for top floor. My first exit out of it felt and looked (on video) alot better. I was able to stand outside the door and just step off/arch. I felt it much more comfortable doing this. My instructors were alot happier with this exit as well.


The best tip i got was 'try to stick your dick in the wing'. Look at the wing/ahead of the plane and try and f*ck it when you jump out. Worked like a charm for me. And it was pretty funny to think of to take my mind off any worry I had.

I'm sure with some coaching you will do just fine! Have fun and good luck.

The pelvis injury def sucks man. Mine has ad a pretty good recovery so thats good.

The instructors at Skydance line up outside the door of the air craft then count and basically roll out of the plane. All the coaches I have talked to just say ext, ARCH, STAY ARCHED then before you know it you are in the neutral free fall position. Sounds easy but thats why I made this thread.


I am feeling very confident that I can work through this and get certified. It is awesome having so many people post. Keep on posting guys! Motivation, tips etc. Thanks!


riggerrob  (D 14840)

Aug 22, 2012, 10:16 PM
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Re: [Numatik] Skydiving without a good arch... [In reply to] Can't Post

If you cannot arch your lower spine, then make sure that you are arching you rhips as much as possible.

I sometimes suffer from sway back (too much lordosis in my lumbar spine) caused by hip flexor muscles that are too tight, so that my pelvis is permanently tilted too far forward .... pulled too close to my femur (forward).

The solution is to do a yoga pose (cannot remember the name at this hour???) that stretches my hip flexor muscles, allowing my femurs (upper leg bone) to arch more. From a senior skydiver"s perspective, this allows me to fall 10 miles per hour faster, which means that I am arching more.

See hip flexor stretches in Mike Hage's book "The Back Pain Book" (Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, 1992 & 2005).


Premier skybytch  (D License)

Aug 23, 2012, 5:45 AM
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In reply to:
Sounds easy but thats why I made this thread.

It actually is easy. And it's not a roll out of the plane - you'll already be outside the plane, standing on the step. You do the count and then step off and fly; your instructors go when you do.

Tunnel time is a great idea, but you don't NEED to do it before you do your Cat A. On both Cat A and Cat B you'll have two instructors there to help keep you stable. If you can't quite arch enough, the skydives will still go well.

I had L4-S1 fused 10 years ago. My husband (who may be one of your AFF instructors) busted the neck of his femur last year. At least one other of the instructors at Skydance has metal in his femur too. You'll find that many skydivers are just like you - previously broken but refusing to stop living life! Cool


Joellercoaster  (D 105792)

Aug 23, 2012, 11:43 AM
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Re: [Numatik] Skydiving without a good arch... [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Without much arch, do you compensate with your arms and legs to maintain a steady position?

Yup.

Other people have already pointed out that it's all possible, it's just going to take some work and it might not go as fast as you'd like (good arch makes lots of things easier). But stick with it. There's some good advice from some pretty dinged-up folks Wink

I jumped with a guy a couple of months ago who could barely bend his lower back at all. His body position was nothing like the 'classic' deep arch, he didn't have a massive fall rate range and he wasn't going to be cranking out 20 points of 4-way any time soon, but he was making it work.

It's all doable!


Numatik  (Student)

Aug 23, 2012, 1:58 PM
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Posting this way is easier then clicking the quote link for all te replys so here it goes:

Riggerrob,

I have a pic im posting below that shows my stiff my body is just standing up and arching as far as I could.
I started doing the pillow stack trick on my couch a few times a day for 60 seconds each. Pillows to support the front and the back then stickin my dick to the dirt hard enough to feel my back starting to feeling it then holding it there.I am going to look up the hip flexor stretches, thanks man!

Skybytch,

I have seen a few videos and I chose bad words to describe the exit. I didnt know how the timing went tho, thanks for the info, I look forward to it!!
I made up my mind 2 weeks before my next jump (a little time to work my back and get a little more flexible, then closer to my jump to have
it fresh in my brain). I have one nearby I might as well go for it and see if I benefit. I am very anxious and nervous about my next jump, I am trying really hard to do everything I can to be ready, I want this so bad!! I have never jumped without someone else on my back.

You have almost the same fusion as I do... How do you cope with it? Another member that feels our pain too. Its awful tho. Im glad you and your husband still jumps as well. What is his name? He very well could have been one of my instructors!

Joellercoaster,

Yea your right. I am hitting the wind tunnel and will try out all these different things. There is definitely some great info from great ppl :) I am just like that guy, im stiff as a board (but working on it the best I can!) What was his position like? Hey thats better then losing control in freefall, Im glad he makes it work with what hes got, thats exactly what im going to try my best t do also


Numatik  (Student)

Aug 23, 2012, 2:02 PM
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Oops almost forgot my pic. As of today this is an example of my arching my back just standing up. You can see the lower part of my back that is fused. I have a lot of work to do:

http://i60.photobucket.com/albums/h3/snakenetnetworks/IMG_1090.jpg


Premier skybytch  (D License)

Aug 23, 2012, 2:23 PM
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In reply to:
You have almost the same fusion as I do... How do you cope with it?

It's been over 10 years since the surgery; it's just part of life. Some days it hurts, most days it doesn't. Stretching is a biggie, as riggerrob said. I try not to let it stop me from doing things - since the surgery I've been on a world record skydive, backpacked 100 miles on the PCT and am currently learning to play ice hockey.

In reply to:
I want this so bad!! I have never jumped without someone else on my back.

You absolutely do not need that guy on your back. If I managed to learn to skydive without doing a single tandem, you can handle that first AFF jump. Do the tunnel time and then get to the dz ASAP. The more you think and stress about it...

My husband is Keith. He doesn't do tandems but he probably packed the reserves in the tandem rigs you jumped and more than likely rated many of the AFF instructors you'll be jumping with. Hope you do get to jump with him, he's an awesome instructor. Smile


dthames  (B 37674)

Aug 23, 2012, 3:24 PM
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In reply to:

<snip>
Without much arch, do you compensate with your arms and legs to maintain a steady position?


There is not really a compensating for a shallow arch. It slows your fall rate. It reduces your stability in the neutral position. Couple that and not really relaxing as a beginner, and you can wobble and rock around. If you then fight that, you are unstable. Learn to arch the best you can, learn to relax, and then things start getting better. But you still have to learn to balance on a column of air and if you are flat, it is harder to learn.

I donít feel like I have any issues now, other than I donít have a wide range of free fall speed control with a deep arch. I am still trying to learn my range and still working to improve that. As someone else stated, a lot of it is in your hips. So being able to thrust your pelvis forward, meaning good flexibility in your leg/hip (in the backwards direction) helps.

I went to the wind tunnel while I was trying to learn to be stable. I still couldnít get it, even in the tunnel. The coach told me because the wind was not as smooth in the tunnel as in free fall, and that it was actually harder to learn in the tunnel than in free fall.

I equate it to learning how to ride a bicycle. It is not something that someone can teach you. You just have to learn it.


Numatik  (Student)

Aug 23, 2012, 7:22 PM
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Skybytch,

I have the same results, its hit or miss with the pain. These days I try and be active enough to live but not so active that im stuck on the couch for several days. With skydiving I havnt had that. I have had nothing but positive results jumping (except my arch of course).
My arch has me worried, I am told I can make it work but like you guys said, "I" need to make it work and im just gonna have to figure it out. Before my crash I wasnt super flexible, I rode ramps my entire skateboardng life but couldnt sit on my foot and reach my toes without major discomfort. I am going to start by working my hips, then slowly continue to do exercises I have read on here then start looking into different stretches that are good for my body and not hurting it.
But you saw the pic mine is definitely bad, and im not sure how much stretching is gonna help cause no matter what I do that bottom of my back is fused. I am still gonna be trying 200% and I am not one who gives up.I envy you for making it work, YOU are my biggest inspiration and I definitely have the most in common with. Id like to meet you and your husband and you sometime
Dthames,
As a rookie iv heard its pure instinct try and correct a small problem leading in a bigger one. I will try my best to relax, I can only try my best. I just need to concentrate hard on the coa and to arch my best. Im gonna search around here a little bit tonight if I have more time between my other things, but I want to look into good hip exercises as well.
Interesting on the wind tunnel, Im still gonna give it a wack and see how it goes, I might as well in the meantime. I am going to have my fiance film me from outside the chamber so afterwards I can look and pick it apart to do better.


riggerrob  (D 14840)

Aug 23, 2012, 7:56 PM
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"... I am going to start by working my hips, then slowly continue to do exercises I have read on here then start looking into different stretches that are good for my body and not hurting it. ..."

.......................................................................

A good warm-up and stretching routine takes a minimum of 20 minutes.
Start with five minutes or so on a bicycle (stationary is okay) to get the blood flowing.
Then start stretching small muscles (e.g. wrists) for 10 to 20 seconds.
Then stretch medium-sized muscles (e.g. triceps).
Then large muscles (e.g. pectoral) as you work your way towards your torso.
Large muscles (e.g. ham strings) should be stretched last and longest (up to 40 seconds).


Premier skybytch  (D License)

Aug 24, 2012, 6:53 AM
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In reply to:
Id like to meet you and your husband

Let me know when you'll be out at the dz again. I'll make a point of being there. Cool


Numatik  (Student)

Aug 24, 2012, 10:03 AM
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RiggerRob,

Cool thanks! I am going to look up online all the different ways to physically do them for those muscles.

Skybytch,

Sounds good! I am a little less then a month out, I am doing the PT, wind tunnel etc first so I am in better shape on jump day


dthames  (B 37674)

Aug 24, 2012, 10:25 AM
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I have posted this before but I will repeat it for you.

When I did my second release AFF jump, wobbled around, flipped over, and was held by the instructor the rest of the jump, I considered how well I had done. I concluded this, ďI could do that 4 more times and still not get it, or pass the levelĒ. That was after 7, 2 minute turns in the wind tunnel with an AFF instructor, that is also a wind tunnel coach. So, I was not learning what I needed.

I paid $180 to have some go beside me and hold me while I tried to learn to be stable. You canít learn very well if someone is hanging on you. How many $180 jumps could I afford? I quit AFF.

When I learned to ride a bicycle, I pushed off, went on a slight downhill grade, trying to balance and peddle. I would fall, try again, get a bit further, try again, and after a while, I could go a little way before I fell. Then a bit more and finally some success.

Static line or IAD training is much like that. Start with 5 seconds. Once you master 5, go for 10.

I did,
3x5
2x10
1x15
1x20
Then cleared for solo practice to the top. Those were $75 each, not $180.

The first 4 or 5 of those jumps were, exit stable, count, donít fight it and make yourself flipÖ.pull. I was turning slowly and rocking around, but I didnít flip. On my second 10 second jump, I felt like I had a little control. The next jump I was told 10 seconds. But if you are stable and on heading (original aircraft heading) then take it to 15 seconds. I exited and started a slow turn to the left that I was afraid to try to reverse. I let it go a full 360 and was back on aircraft heading and stable at 10 seconds. I then went 5 more and pulled.

My arch was not much better than it was when I quit AFF. But, I could FLYÖ.well, sort of. The following jumps were Turns, recovery from being unstable (flips), and from that point my only real problem is that I fall a bit slow.

If you have problems with AFF, ask about IAD or Static Line options. It is cheaper and puts more of the learning in your hands.

Dan


Numatik  (Student)

Aug 24, 2012, 12:12 PM
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Thanks for adding more details, I appreciate it. I looked into S/L online and checking out videos, and considered it, but I wanted more time in free fall to get my form. I always do the 13k so its 60 seconds of straight freefall before pulling. The prices are SUPER expensive, I HATE it, but it will all be worth it at the end of the road. Skydance has 22$ jumps and at the price I will be doing several each visit!

I fear getting unstable and flipping. My coach said anytime you lose control just arch hard and aerodynamics will take its course and put you back in the neutral position. But I canít arch well (yet?)!! During free fall all the force helps me arch little bit. I totally understood the bike thing, and your right. But just like before you get on the bike you want to ask questions first. I am going to try my best and I am not going to give up. I just fear certain things that I would think everyone else feared there beginning in the sport. My back is gonna be hard to work with but I hope PT and all these exercises help. I figure if even in PT all I can work is my upper back I would be able to make it work. The lower back canít move. At all, but I am learning to use my hips as well


hillson  (D 33134)

Aug 24, 2012, 1:16 PM
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Had a guy in my AFF progression that was a walking metal skeleton from an old industrial accident 20 years ago. Couldn't and still cant really arch. Talked with the instructors etc and they found a way to make it work for him...so the help is there. He will probably pick up his C license in under a year. Don't give up. Anyone can fall but there are many ways to fly (safely).

And the unstable AFF jumps are the best part at the end. :)


Numatik  (Student)

Aug 24, 2012, 2:41 PM
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more music to my hears!! Well between all you guys, the main instructors, and Skybytch when I see her, I have some really solid support and help!!! Cool

Skybytch, what is your real name, I feel weird calling you that lol


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