By Sean Zucker –
The next Winter Olympics is nearly two years away, hoping, of course, that it doesn’t suffer the same fate as this year’s pandemic-postponed Summer Olympics. Regardless of what happens, there is no need to wait until 2022 to enjoy the benefits of one of the Winter Olympics’ most popular events – ice skating. Turns out that even for amateurs and newbies, this graceful sport offers one hell of a workout. Better yet, new workout routines promise to provide all the benefits of skating without having to lace up skates.
Vogue recently went so far as to declare ice skating the absolute best winter workout. It highlighted the activity’s body sculpting potential by way of its various unique movements and aerobatic ability. To emphasize further, it brought in an expert.
“It (ice skating) has cardiovascular benefits as it trains both your aerobic and anaerobic systems, and it’s a fantastic overall body challenge to your core, your balance, your coordination, and your posterior chain,” reports Peter Zapalo, the director of sports science and medicine for U.S. Figure Skating. “But the really cool thing is that the sport trains total body proprioception—the ability to sense your own body’s position, motion, and equilibrium.”
Zapalo also told Vogue that ice skating has the ability to shape and position glutes, ideal for creating the ever-sought-after better booty. “Skaters have great butts,” he joked.
Of course, with a pandemic at hand, not everyone is psyched—or even allowed—to hit the ice at some often-crowded rink. Thankfully, skating’s benefits are still within reach in the comfort and warmth of home. In recent years, an ice skating inspired cardio workout, amply named “ice skaters”, has gained traction as an excellent use of the sport’s core movements without needing blades or ice.
Ice skaters also don’t need a ton of space because they’re more or less stationary. Think of ice skaters and ice skating having a similar relationship as running in place does with jogging. The exercise simply requires standing on one leg with the opposite leg bent at the knee. Then jump sideways as far as you can and land on the opposite leg and as you land, jump back sideways to your starting foot. When repeated, the action should visually mimic the action of ice skating.
The workout is a combination of lateral squats with explosive jumps side to side to create an intensive full body exercise. The movements can help build strength and power in the glutes, hamstrings and quads. It can also improve stability in the ankles, knees, and hips. Additionally, it strengthens the core to help maintain balance and improve posture. Of course, with intensive quick actions comes cardio and ice skaters are no different. Best of all, it requires no equipment.
Stephanie Levinson, a trainer at the Sports Club/LA in New York City, may have put it best when speaking with Shape on the workout. “The same drills that give you strength and stamina for skiing and ice skating also get you tight abs and a crazy-toned lower body,” she explained.