I would like your advice regarding programming for figure skaters for a off ice training.
These types of questions are difficult to specifically answer. The skaters age and sex are unknown, level of experience and skill ability is also unknown and if they have any injury issues that need rehabilitation. So, we must create a wide training direction. Below are some general guiding principles which you the trainer will need to decipher and apply to your client as appropriate.
Here is how I am seeing it, at this moment: Ice Skaters need very good balance and proprioceptive ability. They also need good jumping power, generated from the upper legs, hips, mid-section and shoulder girdle. Muscle power- endurance is probably the primary goal metabolically, which is driven by the PC-ATP and Anaerobic Glycolitic systems. Some aerobic metabolism is also essential to help recovery aspects. With these things in mind we start designing the exercise prescription.
Here is how a workout pattern might look:
- A warm- up might consist of 5-10 min. on a stationary bike at moderate effort. Stretch out. Start second level of warm-up with movement drills like cariacos, reverse lunge walking, high knee running, some “in & out” running, [set up 6 cones in a zig- zag pattern and have them run forward- backpedal through them. Walk back to the start. Finish with light DB arm- shoulder movements. Set these drills up in a circuit for more stimulation. Stretch out a little more and drink water. On to next task.
- Proprioception training goes here. Proprioception is a deep subject. You may research this in our library of articles. This will help you further understand the subject and help you design an appropriate exercise pattern. However, a few training pieces that may be helpful are things done on 1 leg with 1 or 2 arms working. An example would be a 1 legged low cable pull with the opposite arm. Pull the handle to the chest area using the upper leg, hip, low and mid- back region and arm flexors. Alternate around with the opposite side. Then have them try same leg with the same side arm. Variation is good and the loads can be adjusted as needed. Adjust the cable angle for more creativity. After this “balance” training we move to the strength- power work.
- Some of the Olympic type lifts can be used here. Modify them as needed and alternate between BB and DB work. Lifts like Cleans, modified cleans (half squats with a pull to the shoulders), push press, squats and what ever you think is safe and sane. Add the hip extension machine, pull downs and chest press to this segment and you have a good start. The mid- section consists of back extensions, cable abdominal training, (exercise library) and stretching.
- Interval training with 20 - 90 second work periods with double rest periods will stress the metabolic areas needed. Example 30 seconds of work: 60 seconds rest, repeat. These can be completed on the bike, stairs or ice. The volume may vary depending on how much of the other training you are doing, as well as what periodizaton phase of training your client is in.
Give this outline a spin and let us know how it goes. Weight, sets, reps and tempo will depend greatly on the phase of training your client is currently in. For more information on this, take time to read PTontheNET.com articles by Tudor Bompa (Periodization of Strengthseries) and Ian King (What Speed of Movement Do I Use?), as well as the entire Essentials of Integrated Training article series by Mike Clark. Remember, keep your clients hydrated, rest as needed and use whatever restoration methods needed to help your client recover.