Stretching

December 19, 2012 § 4 Comments

Stretching is often secondary to everyone’s workouts (do you lift, bro? do you skate, bro?). Stretching takes a back seat when you try to imitate Brian Boitano, landing three salchows and a triple lutz while blindfolded.

Good practice, brah.

Good practice, brah.

But before you make the gender mistake and say that stretching is a girl thing to do, realize ligament/muscle tears and other possible serious injuries are equal opportunity. They do not discriminate amongst genders or body type. If you do not stretch before or after your workout or stretch improperly, you run the chance of getting injured.

Injuries, they're lurking.

Injuries, they’re lurking.

Why Is Stretching Important?

Working out hurts so good unless you tear something. Stretching helps alleviate some of that pain. Holding each stretch for at least 15-30 seconds will help increase range of motion and flexibility, important in a sport that requires a demanding amount of flexibility. Stretches help improve circulation, decrease muscle tension and muscle soreness and increase the amount of time spent relaxing and visualizing what just happened during practice.

Let’s see what you did during practice:

  • Off-ice to get the cardio going, running around the rink.
  • Plyometric drills (double-leg bounding, alternating steps) to work on jumping power
  • Jump rope to end off-ice to work on coordination, agility and mental fortitude while fatigued.

By the time you got on the ice, you worked on things like:

  • Stroking patterns/skating around the ice.
  • Jumps, getting full extension in the air, doing proper take-offs, getting max air, max extension on toe taps for flips and toe loops and finishing with proper checkouts.
  • Proper arm coordination during those jumps.
  • Spins. F**k spins so much.
Seriously.

F bombs? That’s rude.

The all-around explosive movements during practice required being on the balls of your feet, placing a lot of stress on your calves. Stroking around the ice, getting around the ice happens only when you generate the power from the glutes, adductors, quadriceps, iliotibial band and calves work in conjunction. Those jumps, from entrance to take-off and checkout, require all the already mentioned muscle groups before, but also your abs and lower back to keep the jumps compact. Spins? Abs, calves to keep the spin tight and centered.

Whether you stretch up standing, on the ground, against the wall or the boards surrounding the ice, try to get in the stretching while your muscles are still warm from the earlier workout. If you can’t afford a massage therapist, foam roller and the use of your body weight are pretty good for massaging sore muscles like calves and IT bands. Flexibility stretches can help stretch out the quads, adductors, glutes and hamstrings, which will also help reduce muscle tension that often aggravates the lower back. Don’t simply stretch one side and not the other just because one side is easier. Stretch both sides out. Here are some yoga positions to stretch out tight hips or lower back. You will thank yourself later.

yougotitdude

Less chances of injury. Hooray!

thefigureskatinglawyer

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§ 4 Responses to Stretching

  • people seriously underestimate the need for stretching. My sister is teaching a stretch class right now and one of the guys in the class (who is 27) is getting darn near reaching his splits and has improved his jumps for ballet by (excuse the pun) leaps and bounds. lol. What kind of stretches are you doing? Do you work on turnout at all for ice skating? Just curious.

    • jdcandidatewhofigureskates says:

      Haha, I’m lazy as hell when it comes to stretches. I should be working on turnouts because my hips get tight as hell, it’d probably help my balance and it might help my balance for one of these: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spreadeagle_(position) .

      The time I don’t get lazy, I will foam roll, do some yoga stretches on the ground to stretch out the hamstrings and glutes and practice trying to touch my toes (not even close yet).

  • I’ll message you a list of stretches when I get a chance. I’ve never been able to touch my toes, so when I start stretching I’m like 2-3 inches from touching my toes, but by the end of the stretch session, I’m either touching my toes or a few inches past (depends how often I’m stretching lol). For turnout, try lying on your stomach, with your legs making a diamond shape, with your feet flat against each other in the air. Lower your feet as much as you can, and hold that. It helps with turnout. You kinda look like a frog, but try it out. It’s not too intensive and you’re not likely to hurt yourself.

    • jdcandidatewhofigureskates says:

      The frog-turnout stretch sounds like a great idea but I may need to do so in the comfort of my own room, away from public view. I also may message you soon as well about beginner ballet classes because for a figure skater, I am one clumsy looking person out on the ice. Thanks for the suggestions!

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