Three Ice Skating Balance Drills From The Pros | Good + Good

OOK. I still can’t get enough of the mind-blowing free skating of Nathan Chen or the insane ice dancing skills of duo Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue. Talk about talent, not to mention otherworldly poise. This year’s Beijing Olympics left me in awe and a little spellbound by what it takes to pull off a quadruple jump. So I caught up with two champion-level figure skaters, Lindsey Klein and Becky Koenig, for some tips on how the rest of us can incorporate ice skating balance drills into our own (off-ice) workouts. .

“When you’re ice skating you’re on a pretty thin blade and to maintain your center of gravity you have to practice your balance both on and off the ice,” says Klein, a former Team USA figure skater who is now a dietitian nutritionist. . Despite her busy daily work, she always finds time to continue to pursue her love of skating and regularly incorporates ice skating balance exercises.

No matter what type of workout you do, Klein says maintaining a strong core will help you maintain overall balance. “Before any exercise, start by engaging your core,” she says. According to Harvard Medical School, a strong core is key to overall balance because it leads to more efficient movement in the hips, knees, and ankles. Add a sheet of ice and skate on a thin blade to the mix, and this efficient coordination becomes essential.

1. Single Leg Dumbbell Press

To work his core, Klein opts for this one-legged dumbbell exercise: “Standing on your right leg, keep your left knee in a tabletop position while making sure to engage your core, and do a bicep curl at a shoulder press on your right arm,” Klein said. Start with 10 reps on each leg, then switch sides, aiming for three sets total.

2. Cossack squats

Koenig, a Jackson Hole-area figure skating coach and 11-time national synchronized skating champion, says that in addition to core stability, balance is also about leg strength. Koenig teaches skaters of all ages and abilities, and balance is a key first step. “In skating, there’s a lot of up and down movement that involves changing momentum from one leg to the other, while keeping your core tight,” she says.

She recommends strengthening the legs with deep squats, like Cossack squats. With your feet planted wide apart, lowering one leg with the other bent outward, this move targets your adductors, quads, glutes, and hip flexors. Try three sets of 15 reps on each leg.

3. Side lunge with a glider

Klein’s go-to exercise for increasing lower body strength is a side lunge using a glider or towel. With your right foot on a glider or towel, squat down with your left leg and slowly move your right leg to the side. Then, when you stand up, bring your right leg under you.

This movement has a double function: it strengthens your core and concentrates your weight on the leg in a squat position. For sets on this challenging move, listen to your body and meet it where it is! Try a single set of 15 reps on each leg and add another if that feels doable.

See how it goes from around minute 6:30 in this video:

While trying these drills on the ice may not be in my future, taking a page from the pros’ handbook can hopefully make anyone’s balance a little stronger.

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