previous page: 8. Off-ice training and endurance
page up: Recreational Figure Skating FAQ
next page: 8.2 Improving turn-out

8.1 Weight training


This article is from the Recreational Figure Skating FAQ, by Karen Bryden with numerous contributions by others.

8.1 Weight training

Weight training is also good, especially for improving jumps. But
weight training is not recommended for kids because of the potential
for long term damage to a growing skeleto-muscular system

In skill sports, such as skating, there is controversy over weight
training. One school of thought is that the weight activity should
reflect the activity of the skill to be performed, so there is some
neuromuscular training effect as well as the muscular hypertrophy
(strength-gain) of the groups involved. The other is that the activity
should be UNLIKE the related skill. This supposedly will prevent
psychological and neuromuscular confusion over whether you're
performing the desired skill, or the weight activity that's like it.

The first school would appear to be appropriate for relatively static
skills like a sit-spin. This is because an activity that is similar to
this activity is going to have the broadest effect upon all the muscle
groups involved in the activity, rather than just isolating certain
muscles. With highly specific skills such as jumps, it may be better
to train all muscles in the legs with exercises that target the major
muscle groups but are not similar to any jumps in particular.

The second school would be more likely to favor machines, which are
designed to isolate specific muscles without the need for any form.
These machines allow you to build strength without developing the
neuromuscular skills (e.g. proprioceptive perception) necessary to
control your actions.

This isn't considered a good idea - a major part of weight training,
particularly for a beginner, is to develop the neuromuscular system to
fully utilize the strength that you already have, mainly through
efficient muscle fiber recruitment and control over the action.

Basic exercises should cover large muscle groups. A few exercises can
train most of the body. The bits that are missed can be trained by
more specific exercises, but this is not necessary at the
beginner-to-intermediate level.

Find a competent fitness instructor to create a program. If you are
looking for good information regarding weight training for young
athletes, hook up with the National Strength and Conditioning
Association (NSCA).

Their address is:

National Strength & Conditioning Association
P.O. Box 81410
Lincoln, NE 68501
(402) 472-3000

The NSCA has several publications dealing with training young
athletes. They have recently published several position papers on the

AVOID power exercises like plyometrics (explosive jumps) until you
have built the athletes' strength using basic strength exercises.
NEVER do more intense plyometric exercises like bench jumps with
pre-pubescent athletes.


Continue to:

previous page: 8. Off-ice training and endurance
page up: Recreational Figure Skating FAQ
next page: 8.2 Improving turn-out