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Life in Motion

Work Out Like an Olympic Figure Skater

Olympics, Sports & Exercise

Many of us are looking forward to watching the Olympic figure skaters as they effortlessly glide, spin and stick incredible landings. What does it take to train like a figure skater?  NEBH athletic trainers in the Sports Performance Center put together four essential exercises that you can do at home.

Exercise 1: Lower Body Strength

Strength is essential for figure skaters to perform their routines. Jumps and spins take significant strength and power, along with the simple acceleration and deceleration needed while they’re on the ice.


  • Begin standing upright with your hands resting on your hips and your feet shoulder width apart.
  • Keeping your trunk upright, step forward and lower your body toward the ground into a lunge position, then carefully return to the starting position. Repeat with the other leg.
  • Make sure to keep your trunk steady. Do not let your front knee collapse inward or move forward past your toes as you lunge.
  • Do 10 repetitions on each leg for 1-3 sets.

Exercise 2: Core Strength

Your core is made up of your pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen. Many aspects of athleticism including strength, power, speed, agility, coordination, and balance all come from the core of the body. Strengthening your core can help with everything from sweeping the floor to perfecting your skating skills.


  • 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. Simultaneously lift your knees off the floor.
  • Your ankles, hips and shoulders should all be line so if you were to put a straight board across your back it would sit flat along your body.
  • 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.

Exercise 3: Agility

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, coordination and strength.


  • Begin by standing with your feet together and arms at your sides.
  • Step sideways with your left foot, and 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

Exercise 4: Balance

Not only is figuring skating performed on ice, 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.

Balance Walk

  • 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.

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