Glute Strength & Figure Skating

As you know, figure skating is one of the most demanding sports out there. We throw ourselves into the air and land at a force of over 10x our body weight, we perform intricate footwork and turns while staying vertical – just to name a few.

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed the numerous posts of me performing hip thrusts. I am sure some of you are wondering why I do these so often.

So where does having strong glutes fit into a skater’s athletic development? I am sure you have noticed how nice Adam Rippon’s glutes are – and there’s a reason why!

There are numerous benefits. Let’s review a couple of topics.


KNEE ALIGNMENT

The majority of figure skating elements are performed on one leg. Your gluteus medius is the main muscle responsible for maintaining your stability and alignment when standing one one leg. Without proper strength training of this muscle, you are putting yourself at risk for potential injuries.
Strengthening the gluteus medius and maximus muscles helps to reduce internal rotation of the femur – which means it will prevent your knees from coming across the mid-line of the body (when your knee turns inwards also referred to as “Knee Valgus”). This is especially important when it comes to jump landings. By strengthening these muscles, you will quickly reduce the risk of injury to your knees by ensuring they are maintaining proper alignment. This is also important when doing turns like three turns, brackets, rockers and counters.
If you’ve ever suffered from a knee injury like me, you probably already know the importance of this!


EXPLOSIVE JUMPS

You won’t be able to achieve the jump height and distance you are aiming for with a weak posterior chain. One of the main muscle groups that make up part of your posterior chain are your glutes, which are responsible for stabilizing your hips and that is where the majority of your power comes from. That’s why it’s important to incorporate plenty of glute activation exercises into your off-ice program. Of course, as a skater, we strive to get as much air time as possible, so we can rotate pesky jumps like the axel – which makes this very important!


Glute Strength Exercise Ideas

Body Weight
Squats with pulse
Side lying hip abduction
Glute bridge (regular or single leg)
Hip thrusts (regular or single leg)
Bulgarian split squats

Resistance Band
Sumo walk
Monster walk
Lying clam shells
Standing kickbacks
Squat to lateral leg lift

Want more ideas?
Stay tuned in the next few weeks for videos featuring resistance band exercises!
-Erika

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