Overall Strength

Coach Liz"Resistance training for legs as well as upper body helps maximize and even build on strength gains you have achieved from skating. "

Liz Miller

A consistent strength-training program adds muscle mass that can give you a more powerful stride, increased energy for bursts of speed and a metabolism that burns more calories, even while you’re asleep!

Lifting weights—whether it is your own body weight, the resistance from elastic bands, or from the machines found in a gym—improves the body’s general flexibility, muscular strength and overall strength. Whole-body resistance training raises your overall fitness level and improves your ability to recover from hard skate training. If you already perform strengthening exercises, use the points below as a checklist to make sure you are optimizing your workouts for long distance skating.



This workout is designed for those who are new to using resistance work as a cross-training aid for skating. The exercises are entry level but you should still get approval from your family doctor before you start them. Although you will mostly use gravity and the weight of your own body for resistance, useful additions to your home gym might include elastic tubing, a Swiss ball, adjustable weights, and a doorway chin-up bar.

Do the following exercises twice a week on non-skate training days. Leave one or two rest days between each strength workout. Perform two sets of 10 repetitions for each move, and try to gradually increase to 15 reps if you can. But take it easy! If enthusiasm causes you to overdo, you may end up too sore to do your next workout, on or off skates.


In the Beginner workout, you learned how to engage your core muscles while lying prone. To engage them while standing, exhale fully until you feel your navel pressing back toward your spine. Try to maintain this lower ab compression as you perform all of the Intermediate exercises below. Incidentally, engaging the core muscles this way also protects your low back while skating in a tuck.

This workout utilizes the following home fitness accessories:

Add the following exercises twice a week to your cross-training days. Split your upper and lower body workouts across four weekdays, with upper body workouts on two skating days and lower body on two non-skating days.

Perform two sets of 10 repetitions of each move. If you don’t feel tired when finished, start from the beginning and do two more sets of 10 reps each. Add one or two reps each workout to progressively continue to gain strength. Once you reach 15 reps, start to increase the amount of weight or resistance if possible.

Upper Body Workout


Body part



Push ups

chest, triceps


Lying on your stomach, choose the push up position right for you: knees on the floor, the standard “plank,” or shins resting atop a stability ball. Do not allow your hips to drop or fold as you complete your reps.


chest, ribcage

stability ball

Sit on the ball and hold the dumbbells close to your stomach. Roll your hips forward off the ball so it supports your upper back horizontally. Keeping elbows slightly bent, lower and raise the dumbbells in the same plane as your shoulders.

Chin ups

upper back, forearms, biceps

chin up bar or pull-down apparatus

With a shoulder-width or wider grip, palms facing out, do as many chin ups as you can, keeping your lower abdomen compressed. If necessary, have a partner hold your feet. Do your second set with a narrower grip, palms facing in (if the apparatus allows).

One-arm rows

upper back,

dumbbells, stability ball

Bending forward, support your upper body directly over one hand on the stability ball, and grip a dumbbell in the other. Draw the dumbbell up until it touches your ribs, then lower it. Immobilize your torso over the ball as you complete the reps, then swap sides.


Lower Body Workout


Body part

Apparatus Monday, September 1, 2008 1:19 PMp>Instructions


all-round lower body

none, or with lower back against a stability ball at the wall

With feet hip-width and parallel, engage your core. Lower your hips over your heels and then return to standing. Without added weight, aim for 20-30 reps. To protect your knees, don’t squat lower than a 90-degree knee bend.

Walking lunges

quads, gluteals, hamstrings

Dumbbells (optional)

Stand in good posture with core muscles engaged. Lunge forward onto one foot, letting the rear knee lightly touch down. Rise and bring the back foot forward into a new lunge without touching at the mid-point. Take 20 deep steps on each foot over a minute ’s time.

Side lunges

abductors, hips, gluteals


Assume your skating tuck with core muscles engaged. Raise the right foot slightly and lunge deeply to the right, landing in nose- knee-toes alignment. Push against the right foot to spring back up and realign over the left foot. Complete all of your right lunge reps before switching to the opposite side.


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Strong legs can maximize your skating technique and deliver the speed you need. Although regular full-body workouts are important for good overall fitness, skate-specific exercises for your lower body builds muscular strength where it counts the most. For best results, keep this type of training on separate days from your endurance training.

Try to do two resistance training workouts per week on low back, gluteals, hip flexors, quadriceps, hamstrings and abductors (not on skating days). Home-workout alternatives to these exercises are offered below where possible. Make sure you warm up with 15 minutes of cardio before you start lifting.

For the following exercises, choose a weight that lets you do 12 reps in good form. Lift slowly to eliminate momentum, which lets you cheat by involving other muscles. In all movements, keep your lower abdominals compressed to stabilize your spine and prevent back strain. Complete one set of 12 reps for each exercise, rest 10 seconds, and then move on to the next exercise until you have done all of them. Repeat the entire circuit 3 - 4 times.

This type of work tightens as it strengthens, and a good stretch afterwards will keep you flexible as your strength and muscle mass increase.

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