As a seasoned Pilates practitioner, I know firsthand the transformative power of this form of exercise.
That’s why I believe Pilates is an ideal cross-training option for figure skaters who want to take their performance to the next level.
So, in this article, I’ll share my insights on the benefits of Pilates for figure skaters and offer guidance on how to incorporate Pilates into your training routine.
Whether you’re a competitive figure skater or simply looking to improve your skills, Pilates can be a valuable addition to your off-ice training regimen.
Table of Contents:
5 Benefits of Pilates for Figure Skaters
As a Pilates practitioner, I can attest to the numerous benefits this form of exercise can provide to figure skaters.
Here are some of the key advantages of incorporating Pilates into your training routine:
Improved Core Strength and Stability
Core strength is essential for maintaining balance and executing moves with control and precision. Pilates exercises such as the Hundred, Roll-Up, and Plank target the muscles of the core, leading to a stronger, more stable center.
Increased Flexibility and Range of Motion
Figure skating requires a wide range of motion, particularly in the hips, legs, and back. Pilates exercises such as the Footwork, Long Stretch, and Elephant can help improve flexibility and range of motion, allowing for more fluid, graceful movements on the ice.
Enhanced Balance and Coordination
Pilates exercises require a high degree of body awareness and control, which can translate into better balance and coordination on the ice. Moves such as the Leg Springs, Arm Springs, and Push-Thru Bar on the Cadillac machine can help train the body to maintain proper alignment and balance.
Reduced Risk of Injury
Skaters are at risk of a variety of injuries, from sprains and strains to more serious conditions like stress fractures or broken toes. Pilates can help reduce the risk of injury by improving joint mobility, enhancing muscle strength and flexibility, and promoting better body mechanics.
Improved Breathing and Endurance
Pilates exercises emphasize the importance of proper breathing, which can help improve endurance and stamina on the ice. By practicing controlled, deep breathing during Pilates sessions, skaters can learn to regulate their breathing and maintain energy throughout a routine.
Best Pilates Exercises for Figure Skaters
To experience the benefits of Pilates for figure skating, it’s important to choose exercises that target the specific skills required for the sport.
Here are some Pilates exercises that can be particularly helpful for figure skaters:
Mat Exercises to Improve Core Strength and Stability
The Hundred, Roll-Up, and Plank are all mat exercises that can strengthen the muscles of the core, improve stability, and develop control. These exercises can help skaters maintain proper form and alignment during jumps, spins, and other moves on the ice.
Reformer Exercises to Enhance Flexibility and Range of Motion
The Footwork, Long Stretch, and Elephant are all exercises that can be performed on the Reformer. These exercises can help skaters improve their flexibility and range of motion in the hips, legs, and back, leading to smoother, more graceful movements on the ice.
Cadillac Exercises to Improve Balance and Coordination
The Leg Springs, Arm Springs, and Push-Thru Bar are all exercises that can be performed on the Cadillac. These exercises require a high degree of balance and coordination, which can help skaters develop greater body awareness and control.
Incorporating Pilates into a Figure Skater’s Training Routine
Incorporating Pilates into your training routine can be a game-changer for figure skaters. Here are some of the most popular ways to incorporate Pilates into your training routine:
Pilates Mat Classes: Pilates mat classes are a great way to learn the fundamentals of Pilates in a group setting. Mat classes typically involve a series of exercises that target the core muscles, including the abdominals, back, and hips. Pilates mat classes are available at most gyms, fitness studios and YouTube and they are usually taught by certified Pilates instructors. These classes can be a fun and effective way to get started with Pilates.
Private Pilates Sessions: If you’re looking for a more personalized Pilates experience, consider booking a private Pilates session. In a private session, you’ll work one-on-one with a certified Pilates instructor who can tailor the exercises to your specific needs and goals. Private Pilates sessions can be done in-person or online, and they are a great way to get individualized feedback and guidance.
Online Pilates Classes: If you’re short on time or prefer to workout at home, online Pilates classes can be a great option. Many Pilates studios and instructors offer online classes that you can do from the comfort of your own home. Online classes can be done live or on-demand, and they typically require little to no equipment. All you need is a mat, some comfortable clothing, and a willingness to learn.
No matter how you choose to incorporate Pilates into your training routine, it’s important to remember that consistency is key. Aim to do Pilates at least 2-3 times per week to see the best results.
By adding Pilates to your training routine, you can improve your core strength, flexibility, and balance, which will help you become a better figure skater.
As you can see, Pilates can be an incredibly valuable form of cross-training for figure skaters. The benefits of Pilates, including improved core strength and stability, increased flexibility and range of motion, enhanced balance and coordination, reduced risk of injury, and improved breathing and endurance, can directly translate to better performance on the ice.
Incorporating Pilates into your training routine can be a game-changer for your figure skating skills. By using Pilates exercises targeted to your needs as a skater, you can develop greater control, fluidity, and grace in your movements.
If you’re a figure skater looking to take your skills to the next level, I highly recommend giving Pilates a try. Start by consulting with a qualified Pilates instructor who can help you create a personalized routine tailored to your goals and needs. With consistency and dedication, you can see a significant improvement in your figure skating performance.