Periodization & Figure Skating

What is this and how does it apply?

You have probably heard the term “periodization” being tossed around when discussing off ice training programs. Let’s discuss what this means, and how you can apply this principle to your off ice program.

Many of my adult skating friends participate in Adult Sectionals and Nationals, which take place in March and April. Some of my other friends enjoy competing year round at local competitions. Regardless of which skater you are, it is important to plan your training around your main competitive season, so you can reach your peak fitness conditioning around your most important events – without burning out. If you can determine when you want to reach your “physical peak”, you can create an off ice program focused towards reaching that goal. 

Periodization involves adjusting your training variables to achieve your intended focus for that specific time frame. Training variables include many items such as frequency, intensity, sets, reps and exercise selection. 

Today, we will look at a high level overview of an example of how this is applied to figure skating when training for Sectionals & Nationals. Details regarding other exercise variables such as sets, reps, intensity, etc. will be in a future post.

The chart below reviews the 4 training periods of a figure skater and reviews the following components – strength training, aerobic, anaerobic and plyometrics.



The “rest” season is right after your main competition – in this case Sectionals & Nationals. This time is used to focus on muscle and core stabilization, muscular endurance, and aerobic (steady state cardio) conditioning. This is the time to let your body recuperate from the physical and mental stress of competing.

The next season is the “off-season“. This is generally a 6 to 7 month period where your main focus is building your muscular strength, endurance, power, and also continue to work on aerobic conditioning. 

Next we have the “pre-season“. These are the couple of months prior to your competitive season. In this phase, it is important to have an increased focus on your power and strength. In addition, this is where we incorporate anaerobic conditioning (HIIT, sprints, etc) to build your endurance to begin running your program.

Finally we have the “in-season” phase. These are the couple of months during which we are competing in our main competitions. During this time, it is important to maintain your strength, power and endurance, but without pushing it too far. This is the time where our goal is to have reached our peak physical fitness.

After this, the process repeats for another year!

Keep in mind that regardless of which phase you are in, you will always need to remember to include a warm up, stretching, and a cool down!


As always, if you have any questions, please email me and I would be happy to help!

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