Leg Exercises for Speed Skaters

by Catherine Field, Demand Media
    Improve your speed and agility with leg exercises.

    Improve your speed and agility with leg exercises.

    With hairpin turns and explosive speeds, speed skating isn't a sport for the slow and meek. Maintaining those lightning quick laps requires a powerful lower body. This means toning your glutes and quads -- the buttocks and front thighs. Whether skating on ice or at the rink, gain speed and give your race an edge by working these muscle groups.

    Low Walk

    To make the low walk work, add a hill and occasionally jump into the air to mimic a races start. Simulating a speed skating position, low walks tone the glutes while helping you perfect your on-ice form. Squat into your skating position, your back rounded and arms swung back. Do 30 second quick sprints, lowering your speed for ten seconds between sprints. Sprint for 15 to 30 minutes or until your glutes and quads feel fatigued. Run through this exercise twice a week.

    Side Lunge With Floor Tap

    Add power to a normal side lunge -- a toning exercise for the glutes, quads and hamstrings -- with a floor tap. This addition trims your torso, cinching your abs and obliques while mimicking the forward skater's bend. Begin with your arms by your sides, your legs hip-width apart. Lunge forward with your right foot, keeping your knee bent at 90 degrees. Bend at hips and reach forward, touching the floor with your left hand. Quickly stand and repeat the movement with the opposite leg. Repeat the move, alternating legs until your thighs are fatigued.

    Single-Leg Squats With Towel

    For speed skaters, exercises working the hamstrings and quads are important. Exercises that pack bonus points then are necessary. For example, including a towel with these single-leg squats will let you to target the adductors, or inner thighs, too. Traditional single-leg squats ignore these regions, focusing solely on the glutes, hamstrings and quads. Fold a towel and place it beneath your left foot. Stand with your feet next to each other, and then shift your weight to the right side. As you squat down, slide your left leg out to the side. Don't let your knee bend more than 90 degrees. Hold the squat for 30 seconds, and bring your left leg in as you stand up. Switch legs and repeat, alternating between legs until your muscles are fatigued.

    Alternated One-Legged Bounding

    The alternating one-legged bounding exercise -- a tradition in the running world -- can be applied to help build up your leg strength. It will also help your skating speed. The alternating one-legged bounding exercise is a method of pronounced skipping in which you'll want to focus on speed and stride length. As you run, focus on forcefully pushing off with your foot as it hits the pavement. Begin with your left leg and do five to eight bounds -- or enough to feel the burn in your legs and buttocks. Then switch legs, pushing off with the right. This exercise will tone the overall leg, focusing on the glute and quad.

    About the Author

    Having studied at two top Midwestern universities, Catherine Field holds degrees in professional writing and patient safety. Writing since 2000, Field has worked with regional newspapers while publishing fiction online. She conducts medical communication research at a Midwestern medical institution and is slated to write a book based on her research findings.

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