We’ve been discussing endurance pertaining to figure skating for the past couple of weeks. Last week, I shared some ways you can improve your endurance for your program off-ice. This week will be about on-ice muscular endurance training.
Remember to always start with a little light activity, such as stroking. Depending on such factors as arena temperature, time of day or even just how old, creaky and stiff you are at that point, you may need to do anywhere between 5-15 minutes of stroking and other warm-up activities before and after your endurance work to warm up and cool down your muscles. If time on the ice is limited, it might be a good idea to arrive a little earlier and do some warm-up activities off-ice. Brisk walking or a gentle run are good ways of warming up the muscles . You should still do an on-ice warm-up but it just won’t take as long.
After you feel sufficiently warmed up, you can progress to jumps and spins. I like to warm up with waltz jumps and back spins, since they are the basis of most of the other elements in figure skating.
On-Ice muscular endurance training:
Here are some suggestions; this is not an exhaustive (pun intended) list. Each figure skating coach has his or her own specific ideas, based on experience and training. These are just some of the things that work for me.
I try to do both my programs every time I get on the ice. Good time management has come to be an absolute essential for me, since I have both a free style and an artistic program as well. I need to make sure I practice jumps, spins and stroking exercises. My goal is really to be able to do my programs more than once in a session. I have an adult training buddy who does her masters competitive program at least 4-5 times per session with incredible results. She also does off-ice work with a personal trainer, which also helps. For the time being, my goal will be to do each program at least once full out and then a second time with only singles. For the truly masochistic (or determined) souls amongst us, back-to-back full out run-throughs are very effective. My coach often gets me to do elements when my legs are tired; for example, my footwork sequence, which is my very last element in my program. When I do it in isolation, it is actually very easy; less so after two and a half minutes!
I think, therefore I am – going to do it!
Mental preparation is also important. It’s always tempting not to do a run-through, purely because you feel so horrible when doing it. I know some times I really have to psych myself up to attempt the program. I have to remind myself that mileage is key: the more times I do it, the more comfortable I will be with it.
Perseverance is key: if you keep pushing through to the end every time, that lovely feeling of impending death will lessen over time. You will go from saying to yourself, “When it this going to be over?” to, “Hey, it’s nearly over!!”
And remember to practice doing it all with a smile on your face!
It is at this point that I am ethically and morally bound to advise anyone who has never done any type of intense endurance work to please check with their appropriate medical professional before embarking on such activity. Most coaches have CPR training, but they all really, really, really hope they never have to use it!
So, who’s ready to bite the bullet and work on improving their muscular endurance? Remember adult nationals are in six months!