Figure skating is a physically demanding sport, and the jumps, spins, lifts, and throws can lead to serious injury if not performed properly. It’s important for skaters to focus on technique, training, and safe equipment in order to prevent injury.
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.
Before beginning any exercise, make sure you warm up to help avoid injury. 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. Try pushups and back leg raises.
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. Planks and abdominal crunches are great ways to work your core.
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. Good agility exercises include the grapevine and power skips.
A great deal of figure skating is performed on one foot, so the ability to balance is crucial. Try weight shifts and the balance walk to improve your balance.
To help prevent injury, make sure you practice these general safety tips:
Warm up and stretch for 5-10 minutes before you skate. It’s particularly important to do warm up exercises because the cold temperature in the rinks makes your muscles tighter and more prone to injury.
Ensure your equipment, specifically your skates, fits properly. Blades should be placed and sharpened properly.
Limit the number of repetitions of jumps, particularly new jumps, per training session.
Participate in an off-ice conditioning course to strengthen your muscles, particularly ones statistically prone to injury.
Consult with your coach or athletic trainer about ways to prevent overuse injuries.
Avoid skating when you’re injured, and maintain dialog with your coach and doctor about when you’ll be ready to return to skating.
Have a physical examination at the start of the season to make sure you’re healthy to skate.
• Shoulder dislocation
Back, Neck & Spine
• Low back pain
About half of all figure skating injuries are caused by overuse and are preventable.1
Approximately 66% of all self-reported injuries in nationally competitive figure skaters were in the lower extremities, with ankle injuries representing the greatest percentage2
As many as 20% of all figure skating injuries are stress fractures, with the majority occurring in skaters aged 16 to 20 years2
The most common injury is lower back pain, with up to 34% of skaters suffering from this injury3
Up to 26% of skaters experience kneecap injuries, specifically problems with alignment3
23% of skaters suffer sprained ankles as a result of the sport3
Remember to always check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program. If you have any type of persistent pain, be sure to see a doctor.
1 “Figure Skating Injury Prevention,” STOP Sports Injuries.
2 “Over the Edge: Lower extremity injuries in figure skaters,” Lower Extremity Review.
3 “Boot Problems and Boot Solutions,” US Figure Skating Association.