Jump height is vital if you want to advance in figure skating. You can possess excellent technical ability, but if you don’t achieve sufficient jump height you won’t remain airborne long enough to perform the multirotation jumps that are mandatory at some levels of skating. Depending on your ability and physical condition, you may need a combination of technical improvement and fitness work to increase your jump height.
When you develop a strength training routine, remember that arm strength also helps produce higher jumps. Between your off-ice workouts and your skating, your legs will likely receive all the attention they require, but your arms and shoulders can easily be neglected.
If you’re new to weight training, begin with lighter weights and work your way up. Consult a physician before starting a new exercise routine.
Perform plyometric jumps during your off-ice training routine. Do single- and double-foot jumps, weighted and body-weight squat jumps, box jumps, and jumps in which you rotate your body, starting with a one-quarter turn and working your way up to a three-rotation jump. Make the jumps more challenging by wearing ankle weights weighing between 1/4 and 5 pounds.
Perform a daily static stretching routine to increase your flexibility. Do static stretches after a skating or workout session, or following an aerobic warmup if you’re not working out that day. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds. Stretch all of your major muscle groups, including your calves, quads, hamstrings, hips, core, chest, shoulders and arms. Specific stretches can include seated or standing hamstring stretches, a hip flexor lunge stretch, butterfly stretch, straddle-sit, standing spiral and seated lumbar stretch.
Develop a program of overall strength training. Include exercises such as squats, calf raises, alternate leg raises and lifts, mountain climbers, planks, pushups, bench dips, cable chest presses, biceps curls, plus shoulder presses and raises.
Work on your technique with a qualified coach who is registered with U.S. Figure Skating, the governing body of figure skating in the United States. The technical improvements you need will depend on your level and the types of jumps you’re attempting. The technical requirements for toe jumps, for example, are different than for edge jumps.
M.L. Rose has worked as a print and online journalist for more than 20 years. He has contributed to a variety of national and local publications, specializing in sports writing. Rose holds a B.A. in communications.