OFF-ICE TRAINING & CONDITIONING
The Importance of Off-Ice Conditioning
Over the years, off-ice conditioning has become a more important role in a figure skater’s training. Today, skaters are performing more technical jumps, spins, and other demanding elements on-ice, along with the inclusion of creative artistry. Given these demands, the need for off-ice strength, conditioning, and performance training has increased. Skaters are competing throughout the year, and are skating more frequently week to week. This increased demand on the body means that skaters now have to be strong, well-conditioned, and fully aware of proper body alignment, and form. Frequently, more skaters are attempting many of these technical skills on-ice with under-developed bodies. This imposes a serious risk of musculoskeletal injuries.
Like all sports, skating has its own unique physical requirements. Certain off-ice training methods will transfer themselves on-ice to produce a better athlete, while other training methods have very little value to the skater. It is important to correlate the proper off-ice conditioning to the individual, and demands of the sport.
Should Skaters Strength Train?
This is one of the most common questions asked by parents of children involved in any sport. Leading experts and professional organizations have accepted the fact that strength training is safe and extremely effective for youth. Gradually strengthening bones, joints, and muscles with the appropriate weight may help reduce the chance of injury due to the repetitive movements or impacts from jumps and spins involved in the sport of figure skating.
Benefits of Off-Ice Training & Conditioning:
• Improved flexibility, strength, power, and endurance
• Improved cardiovascular conditioning for short and long programs
• Increased speed, rotation, and height of jumps
• Improved strength to land jumps
• Improved strength to hold spin positions
• Increased stroking speed, and power
• Improved posture, and body position awareness on the ice
• Decreased risk of injury
Fact: Lower abdominal weakness and hip tightness is present in 80% of high-performance figure skaters. This primarily affects jump landings, jump air positions, and spin positions. Hip instability (weakness) is also present in more than 50% of high performance figure skaters.
Fact: Beginner and Intermediate athletes who learn off-ice training techniques, at this level, incorporate these skills easier, and use them throughout their career.
Fact: Athletes who incorporate proper off-ice training and conditioning, skate stronger; jump higher; have stronger jump landings; have stronger spins; have better body position awareness; and reduce their risk of injury.
The coaching and room facility fees for Off-Ice Training/Conditioning, and Off-Ice Dance/Performance classes (combination of ballet, jazz, and contemporary) are included with most programs.
Please ensure you are aware of your program, and discuss options with the Director of Skating.