Ice Dynamics® - a full-year training plan for off-ice conditioning

On-Ice Demands

Figure skating is a year-round sport with changing on-ice demands over the course of a year. Weeks or months at a time focus on choreography or accomplishing new jumps or lifts, other times of the year may concentrate on frequent program run-throughs in preparation for an upcoming competition. Each of these time frames represents different phases of the annual on-ice training plan to help skaters achieve the goal of performing at or close to their full potential at competitions.

A benefit of this cyclic on-ice training plan, either intentionally or unintentionally, is that skaters who vary their training are less likely to burnout or become injured. Figure skaters do not have the advantage of a true off-season to recover, compared to other sports such as football, baseball and hockey. By cycling the intensity of the on-ice training throughout the year, skaters recover, recuperate, and prepare for the upcoming phases and while staying on the ice during the “off season” and can train to peak for competitions and tests during the “in season”.

Off-Ice Solutions

Figure skaters need more than just ice time to become competitive athletes. In addition to the requisite ice time to acquire and refine skating skills, it is accepted that figure skaters in all disciplines and levels need to participate in off-ice conditioning to stay ahead of the highly athletic demands of the sport. Strength, power, aerobic/anaerobic conditioning, balance, and flexibility are developed off-ice to match or exceed the on-ice needs. Ice time is then spent refining moves, rather than getting in shape. Injury rates are reduced when skaters develop strong muscles to protect joints, and when flexibility is developed throughout the body to safely attain the desired aesthetic line. For example, the flexibility for a Beillmann spin is steadily developed off-ice by consistently practicing a whole series of shoulder, spine, hip and thigh stretches with progressive intensity, not by solely attempting to do 25 Beillmann spins per day.

The Ice Dynamics® program provides skaters with a full-year 6-phase training plan that effectively matches on-ice demands. Key competitions during the year for each skater dictate the exact timing of the off-ice training phases. Each phase in a multi-week cycle with a specific conditioning focus.

Each phase serves as the foundation for the next phase, and in this way, the off-ice training program builds upon itself over the course of the year to progress skaters gradually and consistently. Each week within the phase has different daily workout plans; variation keeps the training interesting for the athletes.

More in this category: The 6 Training Phases Explained »