OFF-ICE TRAINING AND 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. Given these demands, the need for off-ice strength and conditioning 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 and well-conditioned. 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. For example, a javelin thrower wouldn’t spend hours doing long distance cardio and light weight shoulder raises to improve their performance. Similarly, a figure skater wouldn’t benefit from doing hours of heavy bench presses to build a strong chest. It is important to correlate 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 impact a child gets with a sport like figure skating. A parent need only to watch their young child perform a jump, watch them spin, or see them “shoot the duck” to ask themselves, “If my child was stronger, would they be able to perform these moves easier and be less likely to injure themselves?”
What are the benefits of off-ice conditioning?
• Improved flexibility, strength, power and endurance
• Decreased risk of injury
• Improved cardiovascular conditioning for short and long program
• Increased speed of jumps
• Increased stroking speed and power
• Increased jumping height
• Increased rotation speed
• Improved strength to land jumps
• Improved strength to hold spin positions
• Improved posture and body positioning on the ice
Fact: Lower abdominal weakness and hip tightness is present in 80% of high-performance figure skaters. This primarily affects landing, air positions, and spins. 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 skate stronger; jump higher; have stronger jump landings; have stronger spins and reduce their risk of injury.
On ice - taught in a structured group format, and is designed and focused on enhancing the skater's development in the areas of stroking, edges, turns, speed and power, as well as grace and expression.
Please be aware that off-ice training is not included with most programs and has an additional fee.
Please ensure you are aware of your program and discuss options with your coach.