Tag Archives: warm ups

Here’s to 2014 and Better Skating!

9 Jan

I’ve been skating over the last few months a lot, indoor, outdoor, small and large rinks. We are talking about at least 3-4x times a week up until the holidays. Now that the holidays are over again, I am back to the rink! I’ve skated twice this week with another two sessions planned. A year ago this would have been a dream and now it is finally a reality. My knees while not perfect are so much better now then what they were and now that they are I can practice everything I wanted to do two years ago.

This is so exciting to me! I’ve been taking lessons weekly and have been learning so much and big surprise, none of them have been about freestyle. The younger me would’ve freaked out by this and I admit, I am still dreaming about those doubles and layback spins but for now I will focus on my basic skating skills like a good student 😉 and soon I will return to lessons on beloved jumps and spins.

This blog has been left to it’s own devices for a few months again and this time I am determined to update regularly. I think it’s important to keep a record of skating lessons as we go on because it is so easy to forget the details and we all pay so much for them!

So to begin with, the last few months have been a whirlwind of technique changes in stroking, crossovers and practice patterns for the silver mif test.  And…yes, I am still working on that same test. I am happy to say, that now with my knee pain under control and with so much diligent work on my stroking that I have improved in leaps and bounds and can honestly see and feel the change in everything I do skating wise. I can also say laying off of the jumps and spins probably gave my knees a break as well. While I will still practice my freestyle, it is only for 15-20 min of an hour or hour and a half long session and I do believe that has helped.  I have also been seeing a massage therapist every week or so and that has helped relieve a lot of my muscle tension in my IT band and back which I believe has been a large driving force behind the knee pain. If you have patella femoral syndrome (runners or jumpers knee) I highly recommend seeing a massage therapist. It may take some time but you will see a huge difference in the knee pain. Targeted Stretching (I mentioned Bikram too in earlier posts) before and after skating, vitamins (yes, I am talking about glucosamine) and a change in diet has all helped my knee pain. I will go into this in more detail in another post but suffice to say, everything is so much better now that the knees are under control and I am able to skate pain free for the most part. (Knock on wood! ha.)

But back to the skate lessons, my warmup every day on ice is to stroke around the perimeter once or twice to get a feel for it and then I launch into what is essentially the pre-juv and adult bronze Forward and backward perimeter power stroking. These consist of alternating forward crossovers with a strong inside edge hold down one side of the rink, two crossovers around the end of the rink into a right inside mohawk. Then going down the other side of the rink I start alternating back crossovers with a strong back inside edge hold till the end pattern which consists of 4-5 back crossovers and then turning forward and stopping. I do that at least 5-6 times sometimes even more in a day. When I first started doing it, it was not a warm up, it was half my session! It’s not even on my test but when I first started doing them I could barely control my forward inside mohawk and my left forward crossover took me down more then once on a a session as did my first back crossovers because I neglected my underpush.  I’ve been doing back crossovers for 10 years confidently however, with technique changes I struggled to change the way I did things. This move is not on my silver test but this alone has improved my basic skating skills so much that I wanted to note it here for future reference. I realize now that when I took my bronze test that I did NOT do these correctly. That may be why I barely passed that test! You should have speed and power and each crossover backwards and forwards should point you towards one side of the boards or the other never diagonal. 3 months of doing these sometimes for 15-20 min a day has made forward crossovers 10x better and faster and they will make yours better too, I promise. Just make sure you do them right aka get a coach to show you and wow, what a difference in just getting from point A to B going to do a jump or stroking.

This is my base to warm up everything else for the silver moves. In one of my next posts I’ll talk about the silver moves, at least the ones that I have somewhat mastered. Exciting stuff. Yep, I know. Where has the young freestyler gone? Well, she hasn’t gone anywhere, just waiting for her chance to leap high in the air once she masters the basics! I’m chomping at the bit but holding myself back!

My boyfriend bought me tickets to the Figure Skating Nationals in Boston for the Women’s and Men’s free so I hope to see some truly awesome skating to inspire me even more! I’ll be taking photos and I hope to post some here as well.

Here’s to 2014 and better skating!

Till next week.

Program Cut, Finally!

14 Feb

The program is officially cut. Thank goodness. Granted, I may have to tweak it a bit more but the music has been shortened. It was very hard to cut that piece of music.
Friday morning, during the 6am skate my coach and I worked on the program. So now I will be hightailing my butt down the ice after a flip jump to do footwork. Its definitely going to take some time to be able to skate just half of the program. I am VERY out of shape.

Big surprise.

This week’s 6am session included:
1. Camel exercises
in particular this one exercise should provide hours of amusement and painful swelling of the knees and elbows (don’t everyone hurry out on the ice all at once!)
From the sit spin, you check out and then step onto the left outside edge (or right, depending on your spinning leg) to go straight into a camel spin.

Its supposed to teach you a couple things.
1. Control of arms and legs in sync
2. Using your edge to get into the spin
3. Fear of whiplash as you spin out of control and face plant into the ice
(just kidding on the last one)

If you are bored and want to test your camels try this exercise. Its super fun.

Other exercises of the 6am session include:
Camel spin exercise 2:
The holding of the sacred glove
Yes, the sacred glove (this one was pink) is held in your right hand as you enter the spin, then as you go into the spin you will place this sacred (pink) glove in the crevice created by your hip and leg. You should be on a bent leg going into the spin and then rise up into it. For those of us who are spinning correctly you will no doubt be pleased to notice that the sacred glove will remain in the crevice between your hip and thigh. For those of us who are more camel challenged the “sacred” glove will fall to the ground and you will either stop spinning because you realize you lost your glove OR you will run over said glove and come to a grinding halt anyway. 2nd one much more painful 😉

All fun aside, this exercise is helpful in achieving the correct spin position. I like it alot.

In other areas, we worked on a stroking exercise where my coach followed me around the rink in a pattern of back crossovers with a little extra addition.
Hops in alternating landing positions.

Ok 6am. Backwards. Hops kinda like jumps. Arms up. Opposite directions = other than usual landing leg = scary.

So, backward crossovers on right side (we will say 2) into a hop on one leg with arms out and free leg extended at the top of the lobe. Then switch directions and repeat.
Oh, I can’t tell you how small, teensy weensy my left hops were. They were more like invisible mind hops. In my mind I was hopping but in reality my coach thought I was ignoring the hop.
It was alot like self preservation – not to do the hop on the left. But, yes, crazy person I am I eventually achieved one perfect little hop that actually left the ice. Sigh.
Beautiful. Just a couple thousand more and it will be perfect.

Any other practices that morning? Nope. Thats it. Hope these exercises help.

and.. Happy Valentines.


4 Mar

New Coachy!
Ya ya!!
I have been working with her in group lessons and started to take privates with her. She is very young and takes lessons at a rink an hour and a half from here- with a russian coach. So my way of thinking is…..can’t afford the russian but maybe the knowledge that she is learning will be passed down to me 😉

I believe she started skating at the same time as me- years ago lol, but is now working on triples.
Super high energy kid.

My other coach is finishing up the choreography on my artistic so its coming along. I switched coaches because my “adult coach” only teaches up to axel. Not really working on that right now- but getting there- as soon as I get that lutz consistent.

So, the first day (6am in the morning by the way – yeah me I finally got my butt up at that time) she showed me her warmup. Moves around the rink consisting of :
forward crossovers into an inside edge
 into a right mohawk
hold backwards on right inside edge
step forward on left
mohawk to back
extend left leg back and hold
continue cross overs around end of rink and repeat
(I will modify this later with actual names of these moves – they were mostly on the adult bronze test)
This warm up is supposed to open up the hips and get you to think about all the different parts of your body.
Which- unbelievably…. works really well.

Other warmups include:
Cross overs back and forward with arms over head (ballet position)
which slowly move down until they are held rounded in front close to your stomach (another ballet position, which I forget)
You just continue moving your arms like this as you stroke. This really, really helps!!
I just learned this and have done it twice in practice- my shoulders are stiff but I feel so much more secure on my crossovers. I thought I was going to kill myself at first and then I thought I looked like an airplane ready to take off… but it really does promote thinking of the upper half and lower half of your body as two seperate entities ( which is the point) and it helps me to keep my head up which in turn keeps my crossovers even.
I will have someone tape it…so you all all can see it.
There are other things we went over but I will write about it next time… this new job takes the stuffing out of me. I feel old when its 10pm at night and I am ready to just pass out…lol

ta ta