Skating Fridays

My Stretching Routine

One of my readers suggested that I share the exercises I use to stretch. I shamefully admit that I don’t do any warmups prior to getting on the ice, but I do spend about 10 minutes on the ice doing various edge work around the rink before doing any elements. I can write about that in another post.

Today I’d like to explain how I usually like to stretch. I try to do this on a daily basis unless I am traveling or am just plain lazy. To make the time pass, I usually do these while I am watching television at night. I start with my lower back and legs and then move on to my spine.

1. Roll my lower back on the foam roller. I have this awesome foam roller that I got at Wal-Mart and find that it really helps my lower back (particularly on my landing side) feel better. It’s like a deep tissue massage. I roll anywhere from 30 seconds to several minutes, depending on how sore my back is feeling. Sometimes I will do it multiple times a day if I’m in extra pain.

2. Sit and reach. I hold the pose for at least 30 seconds per side. It really stretches out my lower back as well. I also stick both legs out straight and hold that stretch for at least 20 seconds.

3. Crunches. I usually do anywhere from 100-500, depending on how tired I’m feeling that evening.
4. Front splits. I do both legs, holding each for at least 30 seconds. I used to be a gymnast so was previously pretty flexible (my right split has always been weaker). It took me about a year to get these back, and they’re not all the way down on the ground yet.

5. Center split. This one is going to take a while to get back. I currently look something like this:

My goal is to eventually end up in a full split position, but I know it will be a long journey. After holding that stretch for about 30 seconds, I sit down and hold this stretch, except with my arms behind me. I hold that for about 30 seconds and then scoot my booty forward another inch if I can.

6. Camel stretch. I try to keep my lower body upright as much as possible and then lean back like this. I can’t quite grab my feet yet. I hold this for about 30 seconds.

7. Downward dog. Since that camel stretch is a bit uncomfortable right now, I go straight into downward dog to help alleviate my lower back. Ahhh, much better.

8. Exercise ball bridge stretches. Finally, I get out my exercise ball and lie on back for about a minute. Then I put my arms on the floor and get into a bridge position. I lift my belly button towards the ceiling (lifting my back off the exercise ball completely) and hold the bridge for a count of 10. Repeat at least 3 times.

If my back is tight after the bridge exercises, then I go back into downward dog or the foam roller.

Hope that this post was helpful!

Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to any of these images. They are copyright of their respective owners.


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