Adam Drybrough, a self-employed business and government relations consultant in Canada, spent several years participating in ice skating championships. Placing within the top 20 for ice dancing during the 2005, 2006, and 2007 Canadian National Championships, Adam Drybrough has skated in both the junior and senior level events.
All types of ice skaters rely on their balance to perform various maneuvers on the ice. Below are just a few off-ice exercises to help skaters improve their balance:
- Skating hops: From the skating stance, skaters should bend forward at the hips until their torso is parallel to the floor. Then, while bending the knees, skaters balance their body weight on their right foot. The left foot should be resting roughly one foot behind the right foot and the body should be close to the floor. By pushing off the floor and hopping forward, skaters transfer their weight to the left foot. At the same time, their left arm moves backward while the right arm moves forward to maintain balance.
- Single-leg balance: This exercise begins with skaters standing with their feet roughly hip-width apart and their back straight. By bending the left knee to a 90 degree angle, skaters balance on their right leg for as long as possible. They then switch their weight to the left leg and repeat the process until their stabilizing muscles are tired. To add extra challenge to this exercise, skaters can perform it while standing on an unstable surface with their eyes closed.
- Single-leg squats: While standing on their left leg, skaters bend their right knee and raise it up so that it hovers in front of their body. Once they are stable, they bend their left knee and push their bottom back until their body is lowered by 45 degrees. Skaters then go back to their starting stance and continue the exercise several times before switching to the other leg.