Although great figure skaters can make their routines look effortless, they require an exceptional amount of strength, agility, balance and power to spin, jump, and stick their landings. Figure skaters need to spend a significant amount of their training both on and off the ice. Below, NEBH Athletic Trainers describe a few ways that you can train like an Olympic figure skater.
Just like a professional figure skater, you will need to warm up properly to avoid injuries. Try jumping jacks, jumping rope, stationary cycling or running or walking in place for 5-10 minutes.
Strength is essential for figure skaters to perform jumps and spins, as well as to increase speed and power on the ice. Although you may not need strength to jump and spin on the ice, keeping your muscles strong and flexible can help you relieve back pain, restore range of motion and help reduce muscle soreness.
Lie on floor, face down, legs together with hands on the floor under your shoulders, and fingers pointed forward.
Ankles are flexed so your toes are on the floor.
Keep your back and legs straight while pushing up. Maintain the alignment of your head, shoulders and hips.
Now lower your body toward the floor without touching the floor and repeat.
You are working against gravity, so be sure to keep your abdominal (or stomach) muscles pulled in tight (pull your belly button in towards your spine) and do not let your back sag at your waist.
The level of difficulty for pushups can be adjusted. Try them in a bent-knee position or standing with hands against the wall.
Back Leg Raises
Stand behind a sturdy chair, holding on for balance. Breathe in slowly.
Breathe out and slowly lift/kick one leg straight back without bending your knee or pointing your toes. Try not to lean forward. The leg you are standing on should be slightly bent.
Hold position for 1 second then swing/step your foot forward.
Now slowly lift/kick the other leg back.
Repeat 10 to 15 times.
Your core is made up of your pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen. Strength, power, speed, quickness, agility, coordination, balance and proper skating posture all come from the core of the body. Strengthening your core can help with everything from sweeping the floor to perfecting your golf swing.
Lie on your stomach with your forearms on the floor and your elbows directly below your shoulders.
Push yourself up onto your elbows or hands.
Tighten your abdominal muscles and lift your hips off the floor while you squeeze your gluteal muscles and lift your knees off the floor simultaneously.
Keep your body straight and hold for 10-60 seconds. If you cannot hold this position, bring your knees back to the floor and hold with just your hips lifted.
Slowly return to the start position and rest 15 seconds. Repeat 5-10 times.
Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent and hands at the back of your head with your elbows open wide.
Find something on the ceiling to look at in order to keep your neck stable.
Tighten your abdominal muscles and lift your head and shoulder blades off of the floor.
Keep your lower back flat to the floor and hold for 2 seconds
Lower your head and shoulders back to the floor. Repeat.
Try oblique crunches as well by rotating your elbow towards your opposite knee. (they don’t need to touch)
Slowly lower and repeat 10-15 times, 1-2 sets.
Ice skaters are constantly improving their agility in order to move quickly and change direction with ease, all while looking graceful. Agility exercises can also help with balance, range of motion, coordination and strength.
Begin by standing with your feet together and arms at your sides.
Step sideways with your left foot, then cross in front with your right.
Step sideways with the left foot and cross behind with your right foot. Continue this action.
Repeat this activity, moving to the other side.
Perform two sets of 10 in each direction
Leading with your right leg, skip as high as you possibly can by raising your right knee to hip height and simultaneously swinging your left arm straight overhead.
Your left leg should remain straight and your right elbow should be slightly bent at your side.
Land on the ball of your left foot.
Repeat the skipping motion with your opposite arm and leg.
A great deal of figure skating is performed on one foot, so the ability to balance is crucial. Balance is also important in everyday life as it can help prevent falls, which are the leading cause of injury to seniors in the United States.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your weight equally distributed on both legs
Shift your weight to your right side, then lift your left foot off the floor
Hold the position as long as you can maintain good form, up to 60 seconds.
Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side. As your balance improves, increase the number of repetitions.
Raise arms to sides, shoulder height.
Choose a spot ahead of you and focus on it to keep you steady as you walk.
Walk in a straight line with one foot in front of the other.
As you walk, lift your back leg. Pause for 1 second before stepping forward.
Repeat for 20 steps, alternating legs.
If you have any health concerns, consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise routine.