Return to Homepage

Competitive Figure Skating Training

by Caroline Gerse
(New York City, NY, USA)

For all of my pre-teen years and for the bulk of my teen years I was in training for competitive figure skating.

When watching the Olympics, I've often had people tell me how 'easy' figure skating looks, or how it's not even a sport. This couldn't be farther from the truth!

True, to get started all you need is your body and a pair of figure skates. But when you are in training, it becomes so much more than a stroll around the rink!

We would train about 5 days a week - sometimes more, very often less - for at least 4 hours a day.

One of the hardest parts about it was that a lot of the sessions would be so early in the day... I am talking about 5 A.M! I wouldn't even feel awake yet when I would first get there, but the cold burst walking into the ice rink was always sure to wake me up.

I had several different coaches over the years and I would also do my best to copy the others, and to copy my figure skating idols at the time. Trying to copy the skaters I saw on TV would really push me into trying new moves and new styles.

Some of the coaches I had were pretty bad, some were great. A trick a lot of them would use to push me would be to say that I would only need to try that axel jump "one more time" or to only do "one more lap" around the ice... and as soon as that one was over, they would say, "OK, Only one more!"

It frustrated me at the time but I can now see that they were using good motivational tools. I was lucky to have coaches who pushed me in healthy ways that were not harmful.

I saw other coaches at the rink who would put children all of 8 years old on diets when they did badly! I am forever thankful that my coaches did not do anything like that.

My coaches might have pushed me to the limit and told me to go "again, again, again" - but they still kept my health in their best interest.

I was in no better or worse shape when I started than any other kid my age. But as the years went on, figure skating definitely kept me in good shape.

We would also need to take dance classes, and the skills & stamina I got from figure skating made the dance classes seem to like a piece of cake in comparison.

The sport at a competitive level is extremely difficult. All of those jumps and spins you see on TV require a lot of strength to do, and everything has to be so precise to avoid injury.

The spins were so hard to do without getting dizzy and falling, and lifting your whole body weight up in a jump - and twirling once or twice while in the air after the initial jump and landing from the jump on one leg - was one of the hardest kind of resistance exercises I've ever done.

On the easier days I would feel energized & not sore after, on the harder days I would feel extremely sore & tired.

Some of the training was during "private ice" time where it was just me or just me & my coach. But we would also have to practice during "group ice" time, too - that was often dangerous because of so many skaters at different levels on the rink at once.

I once suffered a pulled ligament in my knee because of a fall during group ice training, when another skater was not paying attention to others and their force skating by & hitting against me pushed me to fall down hard against the ice. There were a lot of minor injuries thanks to how hard the falls could be.

On the whole, it helped me learn how to keep up a routine and a schedule and to have discipline. I still exercise now, but I do not figure skate anymore and feel like I had enough of it for those years... I don't think I'd ever want to get on the ice again!

If you are an adult who likes to watch figure skating on TV, I think it would be a fun workout for you. Even if you've never skated before - sometimes that's when it's the hardest & best workout.

But I would say to not take it too seriously & to not try to compete - just keep it for working out & for fun.

If possible, I would also advise you to try to do your figure skating workouts during times where there are few people using the rink or during "private ice" time if you can afford it. That makes it safer for you (& for the others) - especially if you are just starting out.

Do you need a little more help with your weight?

Click here to post comments

Return to Best Workout.

Where to start:

There is a lot of information on this site. The links below will get you off to a good start.

Most popular pages:

These are some of our most popular pages. They are also some of the most helpful if you are finally ready to lose weight.

You can always reach us:

  • 28960 US Highway 19 North, Suite 115
  • Clearwater, FL 33761
  • (727) 771-8282

  • Or to use our contact form click here.

top of the page