This article is from the Recreational Figure Skating FAQ, by Karen
Bryden with numerous contributions by others.
6.2.7. Axel jump
The Axel jump takes off from a forwards outside edge is landed on the
backwards outside edge of the opposite leg, after one and a half
The usual approach to the Axel is a RBO edge (for counterclockwise
jumpers). On the approach, make sure that your body is very upright,
your feet are closer together and you are facing outside the circle.
From this position, push strongly onto a LFO edge on a deeply bent
knee, leaving the free leg far behind you. At the same time throw both
arms behind you, with slightly bent elbows. Your upper body should
remain upright and over your hips. The following bit of clip-art
illustrates what you are supposed to look like on the entry to the
The lift-off for the Axel comes both from pushing off the skating leg
and from swinging forwards the arms and the free leg. The more
forceful the swing, the higher the jump will be. As you raise on the
jumping leg, roll your weight forwards onto the toepick. The toepick
will be the last thing to leave the ice.
IMPORTANT: When the free leg overtakes the jumping leg, do not kick
forwards with the free foot, but instead drive the knee upwards. This
is what some people means by "stepping up" into the Axel. The movement
of the free leg resembles climbing up a steep staircase. The purpose
of this "stepping up" is to keep the free leg as close to your body as
possible during the lift-off stage. This facilitates the snap into a
fast rotation and the weight transfer from the left to the right leg,
required for a stable landing on a strong back edge.
As you lift the ice your free knee will be pointing upwards, your arms
extended in front of you and your jumping leg fully stretched. Now
comes the tricky bit: To generate the fast rotation, quickly pull in
your arms towards your chest, point down the soon to be landing leg
and cross the left over the right leg. This will look as if you were
doing a backspin in the air.Although achieving this air backspin
position quickly is not strictly required to be able to do an Axel, it
is the key to complete successfully more advanced multi-revolution
jumps and it is generally considered better form than jumping with
your legs hanging side to side ,so you might as well learn it!
When you land, unwrap the legs by lifting the left knee and roll onto
the RBO edge in the usual landing position.