Though figure skaters make their feats look effortless, it takes hours of off-ice training to stay in shape for those performances. Yoga offers the perfect workout for figure skaters, as it combines strength and flexibility. Here are some of the best yoga poses.
Core strength is critical for skaters to maintain balance on the ice, especially during spins and rotating jumps. Try these poses to build abdominal strength and stamina.
- Boat. Lie on your back, legs stretched out in front of you. Raise your legs together as high as you can while keeping them straight. Lift your torso and stretch your arms forward past your hips as far as you can. Hold the pose.
- Plank. Stand and touch your toes, planting your plans on the floor. Jump your feet back as far as you can, so your back is straight and your elbows are locked. Hold the pose, or bend your elbows and lower your torso to be parallel to the floor for a greater challenge.
- Side plank. Lie on your side and prop yourself up on the forearm closest to the floor. Raise your other arm to the ceiling and hold your body in a diagonal line off of the floor. Hold the pose. For an additional challenge, balance on your hand instead of the forearm. Repeat on opposite side.
A strong, flexible back is important for skaters to twist and do layback spins without injury. Try these poses to strengthen back muscles and keep them flexible.
- Half Lord of the Fishes. Sit on the floor with legs outstretched. Bend left knee and place foot on the floor on the outside of the outstretched right knee. Twist torso, bracing right elbow against outside of left knee to hold the pose. Repeat for opposite side.
- Bow. Lie on your stomach, arms at your side. Raise your torso and stretch arms toward your feet. Bend knees and raise hip until you can clasp your feet. Hold the pose.
- Triangle. Stand with legs wider than hip-width apart and arms outreached, parallel to the floor. Stretch right arm out over right foot, then touch right hand to the floor near right foot, bracing forearm on calf. Twist torso and reach left arm to the ceiling. Hold the pose.
Strong quads, flexible hamstrings, and open hips are necessary for advanced skating moves and longer programs. These poses strengthen and stretch legs while improving balance.
- Downward facing dog. From plank position, plant your feet and rock your hips up and backward until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings and calves. Keep elbows and knees straight. For an extra challenge, raise one leg at a time as high as you can.
- Warrior II. Begin this pose as you would triangle, but twist torso to look out over your outstretched right arm. Bend right knee until your quad is parallel to the floor. Hold the pose. Repeat on opposite side.
- Pigeon. Kneel on the floor, then extend right leg behind you so quad touches the floor. Bend left knee and tuck foot under right quad, keeping knee pointed forward. Press hands into the floor for balance and hold the pose. Repeat for opposite side.