The Sight of Your Warm-Up Routine is Ridiculous

December 18, 2012 § 1 Comment

For casual skaters who insist on skating less than five times a year to save money on rentals and emergency room visits, it can be odd watching regular skaters jump, hop and skip many times before even getting on the ice.

Jump rope? Loosening hip flexors, calves, shoulders? We're watching you.

Jumping rope? Doing cardio? Loosening hip flexors, calves, shoulders? We’re watching you.

But these off-ice physical and mental routines get these skaters ready to land jumps, ridiculous spins and fancy footwork.

What Are They Not Doing?

Well, they’re not doing what the general public will do before the holiday skating. They will definitely not wear jeans, which would restrict movement throughout all jumps, all one-foot spins and footwork that requires hips turned out. They will not instagram on ice because of the recent policy changes that allow facebook/instagram to sell their photos.

Really though, they won’t take pictures because they’re busy setting their entire focus on their practice. They’ll also eat healthy, relying on fruits, yogurt and/or protein powder for pre-practice fuel instead of burgers and cheesecake. Some skip breakfast or pre-practice snacks entirely and eat after but they also don’t get coffee before practice. Caffeine is a diuretic and will also raise heart rate, making it uncomfortable during a strenuous practice. Regular skaters will also be smart about the times they get on the ice, whether it’s a freestyle session full of hot shot young skaters who recently got out of school or a public session, with less people to dodge but those same people don’t know how to get out of their own way.

What They’ll Do Instead

In the fifteen minutes it takes for a zamboni to do a wet cut of the ice for the next session, they’ll stretch out. They’ll jog around the ice to get the muscles loose and get the cardio up with some jump rope. They’ll loosen their knees with plyometrics, jumping up and down while throwing in some coordination with the arms. They’ll differ in ways of loosening their hip flexors but they’ll want to be loose for whatever the coaches want them to do out on the ice. Skaters will also rock from the heel of their foot to the ball, where the phalanges meet the metatarsals.


Getting a feel for that region of the foot when simulating jumps off the ice helps skaters jump when they’re on the ice. They’ll know that when the majority of their weight is on this small region of the foot, it’s an optimal time to jump. Well, a skater could also try to jump off their heel but they will not get any rotation and they’ll feel stuck on the ice as they merely just go up and not around. Any extraneous motion from the upper body (swinging the arms, dipping the shoulders, etc.) will definitely result in an ugly looking jump or something worse.

Don't jump off your heel.

Moral of the story: don’t jump off your heel.

After the physical warm-up, skaters will take some time to envision what they’ll be completing on the ice. That mental exercise is useful in breaking down each task that goes into the jumps, spins and footwork. Done enough times, these mental preparations will be second nature by the time these skaters get ready for competition. Daily mental preparations can be anywhere from a few minutes long to as long as the skater needs to visualize and get their s**t together.

After the extensive warm-up, skaters will put on bunga pads on/around their ankles for comfort. They’ll finally put on their skates, walk to the entrance of the ice, take off their skate guards and skate.

All in a span of 15-30 minutes, depending how early a skater gets to the rink before skating session.


What happens after? Do experience skaters hand off their first pair of skates or their latest 1800 dollar pair of custom skates with 600 dollar Gold Seal parabolic blades to the person working the rental counter and be on their merry way? Hell no.

Skaters will get in their last jump attempt, spin attempt, attempt at footwork before they finish their practice. They’ll grab their skate guards to protect their blades so that each step off the rink will not dull the blade faster. They’ll take off the skate guards, wipe their blades down with a cloth to make sure the steel blades don’t rust. They’ll stretch or they’ll thinking about stretching and skip stretching altogether. The skaters will complain later on that their calves and hamstrings are ungodly sore. They’ll be confused as to why their calves and hamstrings are so sore before the next practice. Skaters will rehydrate throughout and after the practice with their water bottles.

Good practice, good practice.

Good practice, good practice.

That is a hell of a lot of work to partake in a figure skating practice. But it isn’t much work to do if you like what you’re doing.


P.S.: Just kidding, still a lot of work. But I sure do like to skate.


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§ One Response to The Sight of Your Warm-Up Routine is Ridiculous

  • Picky Eater says:

    Ah, so THIS is what I should be doing before the ice opens up, instead of just staring at the ice and the clock! Great idea – thanks!

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