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Home >> Sport Sciences >> Recommended Stretching Exercises for Figure Skaters


Recommended Stretching Exercises for Figure Skaters

The following exercises are presented by the Western Ontario Sport Sciences Committee. This is the first of what is hoped will be various resources developed by the Committee for our coaches and skaters. [Printer Friendly]

Before you begin be sure to read Notes On Stretching

Stretching Exercises for:
Ankle Calf Complex Hamstring
Quadriceps Hip Flexor Adductors
Iliotibial Band Piriformis Gluteus
Neck Upper Back Low Back
Quadratus Lumborum   Chest Biceps
Triceps Forearm Flexors   Forearm Extensors  

  - area stretch will be felt

Stretch
Positioning
Reason
Ankle

• Standing with one foot behind the other,

• Point the foot/toes of your back leg over so that the tops of the toes are resting on the ground.

• Bend both knees slightly until you feel a stretch in the front of the leg and ankle of the back leg.

• Increased ability to point the toes

Example of a Skill
• Better line of the leg in dance and in edge sequences

• Free leg positions in landings and spirals

• Field moves (pivots)

Calf Complex




A
• Standing with one foot in front of the other,

• Slowly bend the front leg to shift your weight forward.

• Keep your back leg straight and press your heel to the ground.

• Hint: it may be helpful to do against a wall.

• You should feel a stretch in the calf of your back leg.

B
• Using the same position as above, bend the back leg to feel the stretch in the calf.

• Increased power for jumping.

• Increased knee bend

Example of Skill
• Increased knee bend and flow in dance and footwork

• Landings of all jumps

• Sitspin positions

• Field moves

Hamstring

• Position yourself on the side of a bench with the leg to be stretched straight in front of you and leave the other foot resting on the floor.

• Slowly lean forward at the hips keeping your back straight until you feel a gentle stretch in the back of your leg.

• This can also be done by sitting on the ground and reaching forward in the same manner.

• Increased ability to lift your leg higher to the front

• Decreased strain on the lower back

• Increased power for jumping

Example of a Skill
• Sit spin

• Split Jumps

• Jump take-offs

Quadriceps

• Standing on one leg,

• Reach behind you and hold onto the ankle of your other leg.

• Pull the ankle up and back until you feel a stretch in the front of your thigh.

• Increased power for jumping

• Increased extension of the hip and flexion of the knee

Example of a Skill
• Better lift into jumps

• Landings of jumps

Hip Flexor


For the right side:
• Kneel down on your right knee.

• Place your left leg in front of you at an angle greater than 90 degrees.

• Push your hips forward until you feel a stretch in the front of the right hip (the side which you are kneeling on).

• Increased hip extension

• Decreased strain on the low back

Example of a Skill
• Increases the flexibility on landings and in dance positions of leg extension

• Layback spin positions (skating leg)

Camel spin positions (free leg)

Adductors


A: Sitting Down
• Place the bottoms of your feet together and allow your knees to drop out to the sides.

• Gently press on your knees towards the floor to feel a stretch on the inside of your thighs.

B: Kneeling
• Kneeling on one knee with the other leg straight out to the side,

• Point the toes of your straight leg up towards the ceiling.

Slide the straight leg slowly away from you until you feel the stretch on the inside of your thigh.

• Increased leg lifts to the side

• Increased power for jumping

Example of a Skill
• Flying camel, death drop, butterfly

• Spiral

• Jump take-offs

Iliotibial Band

• Cross one leg behind the other.

• Bend both knees slightly so that your knees are not locked.

• Bend over and reach towards the toes
of the leg which is crossed behind.

• The stretch should be felt on the outside of the leg which is crossed behind.

• Decreased compression of the femoral condyle and patella femoral joint

• Decreased lateral pull on the patella allowing it to have better mechanics

Example of a Skill
• Better line of the pelvis on cross behinds during footwork

• Cross foot spins

Piriformis

• Lying on your back with one knee bent to 90 degrees,

• Place the ankle of the other leg on the knee of the bent leg.

• Grasp around the thigh of the foot on the ground and gently pull your leg towards your chest.

• A stretch should be felt in the gluteus area.

• Increased power in jumping

• Balances the pelvis muscularly

• Decreased tension in gluteus area

Example of a Skill
• Increased flow on cross behinds and connecting steps

• Jump takeoff steps and fly sit spins

Gluteus

• Sitting with your legs out in front of you,

• Bend one knee and cross it over the other leg.

• Place your hands on/around the bent knee and pull it gently across your body.

• A stretch should be felt in the gluteus area.

• Do not twist in the lumbar spine.

• Increased stability of the pelvis

• Decreased mechanical affects on the sacrum

Example of a Skill
• Increases the flow of edges because of the ease in crossovers (Balance)

• Connecting steps/footwork

Neck


For the right side:
• Place your right arm behind your back at the level of your waist.

• Place your left hand on the top of your head.

• Gently with your left hand guide your head forward until you feel a slight stretch, then into left side bending (left ear to shoulder) and then into left rotation (rotate your head to the left).

• You should feel a stretch on the right side of your neck.

• Decreased tension in the shoulders

• Decreased tension in the neck

• Increased mobility in the neck

Example of a Skill
• Ease of expression with head movement and an increase in neck mobility

• Balance

• Layback spins

Upper Back

• Cross one arm in front of your chest, keep it at chest height.

• Place your other hand on the elbow of the arm crossed in front of you and pull your arm towards your chest.

• Leaning slightly forward and adding slight rotation may increase this stretch.

• A stretch should be felt through the shoulder blades and upper back.

• Decreased tension in the shoulders and neck

Example of a Skill
• Spinning/rotation for jumps

• Pair/dance positions

Low Back


• Sit on the ground, legs out in front of you and knees slightly bent.

• Tuck your chin towards your chest.

• Reach forward until you feel a gentle stretch in your low back.

• Decreased strain on the lumbar spine

• Decreased lordosis of the low back

• Increased flexibility in forward bending

• Decreased strain on the hamstrings

Example of a Skill
• Sit spin

• Dance posture

Quadratus Lumborum

For the Right side:
• Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.

• Let your right knee bend to allow the right hip to drop slightly.

• Reach up over your head with your right arm and bend at the waist to the left.

• A stretch should be felt on your right side.

• Helps to prevent pelvic muscle imbalance

Example of a Skill
• Increased flexibility in side bending for layover positions

• Field moves

Chest

• Stand sideways about one foot from the wall.

• Place the arm closest to the wall up against it at shoulder height.

• Gently twist your whole body away from the wall to feel a stretch across your chest.

• Decreased rounding of the shoulders

• Increased power for jumps

• Increased extension of the arms

Example of a Skill
• Improved general posture which is pleasing to look at

• Balance and stability for all skating skills

Biceps

• Stand with your back to a counter or shelf (or you can just place your hand against the wall).

• Your arm should rest against or on something at shoulder height.

• Bend both knees slightly to feel a stretch in the front of the upper arm and or the shoulder.

• Increased drive up into jumps

• Increased extension of arms

Example of a Skill
• Increased in the height of jumps

• Field moves

Triceps

• Place one arm over your head and bend your elbow while holding a towel or a stick in your hand.

• Grab the other end of the object with your other hand by reaching behind your back.

• Gently pull down on the stick or towel with the lower arm so that you feel a stretch in the back of the arm which is over your head.

• Increased extension of your arm over head

• Decreases muscle imbalances

Example of a skill
• Lifts in pairs

• Arm positions over head in field moves

Forearm Flexors

• Hold your arm out straight in front of you with your palm facing down.

• Place your other hand on the palm of the hand which is held in front of you.

• Pull the hand upwards so that the fingers point towards the ceiling.

• A stretch should be felt on the under side of the forearm.

• Prevents muscle imbalances between the flexors and the extensors

• Prevents wrist injuries when you fall onto your hands

Example of a skill
• Press lifts in pairs and dance holds

Forearm Extensors

• Hold your arm out straight in front of you with your palm facing down.

• Place your other hand over the back of your hand which is held in front of you.

• Pull the hand downwards so the fingers point towards the ground.

• A stretch should be felt on the top of the forearm.

• Twisting the hand slightly away from your body may increase this stretch.

• Prevents muscle imbalances

• Prevents wrist injuries when you fall on your hands

Example of a Skill
• Press lifts in pairs and dance holds

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