Monday, May 26, 2008
Develop Superior Balance
Any type of skating for instance, figure, roller, hockey, or speed skating has one thing in common. That is balance. There are several ways to improve your balance. Work on strengthening your core daily. Everything starts and ends there. Use the BOSU ball and whatever else you can find to make your core as strong as can be. You'll find that your balance will be a lot better.
With simple exercises such as crunches, would help target your abs. You can target your core, by doing the plank or the bridge exercise. This is done by supporting your body on your arms with a low center of gravity for as long as your body can sustain, it will help build your abdominal muscles. The most important aspect of balance is to have a strong core.
Work to develop superior balance by doing the following:
1) Improve your core strength. The absolute best way to improve your core strength is Pilates. You can generally find Pilates classes at your local gym, or through electronic methods in the privacy of your home, at any time, whenever you want; or you can higher a private coach. Another way you can improve core strength, is to do lots of crunches. As many as you can do in a day. Make sure to also work opposing muscles groups as to not aggravate your back in the process.
2) Ankles’ response to stimuli Another way is to improve your ankle's response to stimuli. In bare/sock feet, stand on one foot. At first, keep your foot raised beside your leg and your arms out. Feel your ankle adjusting to your balance. Try to hold this position for at least three minutes or more if you can. Then, put your arms down. You can also move your raised foot either in front or behind you. For the toughest exercise of this sort, close your eyes; the idea is to allow your body to adjust to minute changes in your balance which strengthens the ankle. Walking one foot in front of the other on a straight line, or using a balance ball as you sit on the floor with one leg on the floor and the other leg stretched out on top of a ball as you contract your abdominal muscles will improve your balance as well. Learning to balance will not be a quick fix. It will take time, dedication, and patience. You may also consider yoga and/or a personal trainers.
Yoga and ballet, will not only improve your balance, it helps to improve your posture as well as help with you to become graceful. For a competitive skater, adding daily stretching for about one to 1and a half hours really helps, consistency is the key. Don't stretch too vigorously at first.
Try the following exercises to improve your balance as well as flexibility
Touch your toes while standing.
Reach for your toes while sitting,
Straddle stretch: legs are split sideways, and you stretch for each leg one at a time,
Work out using the treadmill, do sit ups, push ups, jumping jacks, jump rope regularly.
When you first learn to figure skate, it is hard but as you get more balanced it gets easier.Most skaters have a 'strong' and a 'weak' side to their skating. It takes practice and hard work to balance, make each side equally strong by continuously practice on both sides. Be sure to keep your knees bent and your arms at waist height and out from your body for balance. Many times new skaters bend one knee deeply but stiffen the other leg. Use good posture, arch your back, and extend the free leg behind you after you push.
Start by doing lots and lots of releves to build up your leg muscles. With stronger leg/calf muscles, come stronger ankles as this is where most of your strength and balance will come. Remember to practice balance on each foot. Do not neglect or favor one side. When you go on your toes, focus your weight to your big toes, lean forward about an inch until you feel balanced, find a spot on the wall to stare at, and keep your abdominal muscles as tight as you can.
Stretching: It is important to stretch your quads and hip flexor; stand up straight, bend your legs parallel to your butt, hold quad stretch and lean slightly forward. For your hamstrings sit on the ground with your legs straight, and try to touch your toes.
Leg abductors: Lay on an edge of the bed, couch, etc., with your butt facing the edge, shift top leg back slightly and have someone steady your hips and gently push down on your top leg. The area around your knee should feel the stretch in your hip and outer leg.
Calf stretch: Tibialis anterior stretches (shin): Point your toe on the floor, and stretch forward.
Additional exercises you can try are: Squats, lunges; hold dumbbells out in T formation, forcing your legs to balance side-to-side, as well as forward. Dead lifts would also be very useful with weighted crunches, and oblique crunches on both sides of the abdominal, as well as roman chair, and leg lifts for lower abdominal.
Posted by Sk8r Girl at 10:44 AM