Off Ice Training with Straps   -Part 1 of a 2 part series
By Susan Ellis

One of the keys to making technical improvements or changing bad habits is to slow things down
to really FEEL what you need to feel off ice. By adding resistance to slow training you are
recruiting more muscle fiber and training them in the proper neural pathways to create the
exact motion you want on the ice.

 
      















Click here to watch video

                                                           










    Click here to watch the video                    












Left push/ Right Cross

In the first photo above look at Chae’s basic position. Hips are tucked under, shoulders and hips square and level, left side is aligned on the left leg, right leg is fully extended, both feet pointed straight ahead.  His right shoulder is almost over his left knee. (And yes, he shoulder have eyes forward rather than looking at his feet.)
2nd photo: He maintains a low hip under position while bringing his right knee up towards his left shoulder and maintains pressure under his whole foot, not just the heel or the ball by pressing hard in to the ground.
3rd photo: See how close he brings his knee under his chest! He can actually touch it with his chin. His whole thigh should remain there as he extends with his left now. Notice how his right shoulder is pressing down and he is pressing in through his right hip. The right hip should actually come very slightly forward of the left hip at this point.
4th photo:  He continues to push and fully extend the left before touching down with the right.
5th photo: When he is fully extended with the left and the right has touched down. Notice the angle on his right shin when it lands. It is leaned and doesn’t land straight up and down.  Watch the video












Right Push

On the right push sequence, again notice Chae’s starting position. Hips are down and tucked under, shoulders and hips square and level, left  leg is fully extended, both feet pointed straight ahead.  His right shoulder is over his right knee and right shin and knee pointed toward sternum.
2nd photo: To start the push on the right he presses down with his right shoulder, presses in with his right hip, Presses his right knee forward (while keeping his heel on the ground) and presses hard in to the ground with his right leg. Notice how close to the ground his left knee passes! And it stays close to his left leg
3rd photo: Still pressing shoulder down, hip in while driving his left knee up under his chest.
4th photo: Holding his left thigh under his belly while he continues to extend and push hard in to the ground with his right.
5th photo: Lands the right at the end of the left leg extension. Did you notice his upper body stayed in the same position throughout the movement?  Watch the video

So how often do you need to do either Techni-cords and/or belts to create good habits? If you’re a younger skater maybe 3 times a week for 10 -15’ is good. For older skaters, especially if you don’t have ice, 4 – 6 times a week is needed for 20 -30’. Of course it depends a bit on what other training you are doing but you can always fit some of this type of work in to your warm ups. Not only will you build technique, but you will also be building very specific strength as well.

Many thanks to Chae Young Lim of the Saint John Club for your excellent technical work and participating in this video!

Next month – Working with Straps On ice




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Right Leg - Click here to watch the video
Left leg - click here to watch the video
Off ice it’s fairly easy to slow things down. Techni-cords are a proven method for both technical and strength and power training. (see June 04, June 06 tips). The good thing with Techni-cords is that you can use them even when you don’t have a partner by simply attaching them to a railing, or hook in the wall. You can easily change the resistance as well as the speed of movement. They are also very useful in isolating certain parts of each movement that might need improvement, such is pressing in with the right hip repeatedly.
Technical precision is crucial to proper execution and it starts with the basic starting position. Notice how Chae’s hips tucked nicely under him, chest is down, belly close to thigh, back rounded and relaxed, no rotation of shoulders or hips, knee forward past toes. It is absolutely critical to maintain this position throughout the entire drill. One of the biggest mistakes is for the hips to rise up and back during the push. Some skaters do this to take some pressure off the pushing leg (that’s cheating), some don’t even realize they are doing it. You must keep your lower back rounded  so your hips stay under you to maintain pressure good pressure.   

You can also use straps or belts off ice if you have a partner. Both of these devices work very well in helping to lay down initial motor pathways for your muscles and, when used on a regular basis, can really help in laying the foundation for good technical habits on ice.
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."

-Aristotle