Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy Holidays from Sk8Strong!

Happy holidays to everyone in the skating community!   This first full year at Sk8Strong has produced amazing results for thousands of skaters all around the world.  Our training programs have now reached 27 countries and are used all across the United States.  We appreciate the wonderful feedback we have received from coaches, skaters, fitness professionals, and professional organizations.  Sk8Strong will continue to serve the skating world as an informational resource to all who are willing to be educated and advance their knowledge and skills.  Congratulations to all of the skaters and coaches who consistently use our programs and continue to progress their skating skills because of the strength, stabilty, balance, and flexibility they have gained.  Continue to be consistent with your exercise programs, and it will help you reach your goals!  For those of you who have not yet committed to Sk8Strong training programs, visit our testimonials to hear what many skaters and professional have to say about us.  You won't be disappointed!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sk8Strong Holiday Gift Cards

Sk8Strong holiday gift cards are now available! Give your coaches, skaters, students, or friends a great gift for the holidays.  Gift cards redeemable at are available in various amounts from $10 to $75 at

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Off-Ice Training Seminars for Skaters and Coaches

Sk8Strong offers several options for your rink or club to host an off-ice training seminar.  There are several different topics that you can choose from to create a full day seminar or half-day workshop.  Sk8Strong Off-Ice Training seminars are fully interactive, and topics are offered for coaches and skaters.  You may find detailed information at  If you don't find exactly what you're looking for, contact Lauren at to tailor a seminar to your club or rinks' needs and numbers of skaters.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Great training aids available exclusive to! Limited time only!

Sk8Strong is happy to announce that we are making 2 great training products availble for a limited time only:the Perfect-A-Poise and the Extreme Stride. Read below for details.

The Perfect-A-Poise is a revolutionary resistance training tool that promotes better posture, coordination, and consistency of positions in skating. Designed by former world team member and ice dance and moves in the field specialist Mathew Gates, this training aid teaches skaters how to find their opposing lines of movement. Mathew found that these opposite lines of movement, drawn from shoulder to skate, are key to establishing proper skating positions and posture. Skaters will develop a foundational posture to incorporate into skating movements and positions, from jumps and spins to moves in the field and ice dance. the end result is a more integrated, consistent and fluid skating technique.

Perfect-A-Poise works for all levels of skaters; it's excellent for skaters just learning how to stroke properly, yet essential to skaters wanting better control into their triple jumps or during advanced footwork.

The shoulder strap, which is velvet lined for comfort, is strapped to a skaters shoulder. This is connected to a double resistance cord, which concludes at a smaller strap which is easily attached to the front of the boot of the opposite skate. A skater can use this training tool to perform stroking, crossovers, moves, foorwork, jump entries, landing positions, and more!

**Only available in the size for skaters 5'1 to 5'6 in height

The Extreme Stride is a revolutionary resistance training tool that will assist a skaters training both on and off the ice, working all of the hip muscles in the primary skating positions. Developed by Mathew Gates, a former world team member and specialist in ice dance and moves in the field, this training aid can be used on and off the ice to develop strength of the hip abductors, adductors, extensors, and flexors.

It consists of four velvet lined straps attached by resistance cords, with a center slidable ring to form an 'X' pattern. One strap attaches to the right skating boot and to the left leg below the knee, and the other attaches to the left skating boot and the right leg belwo the knee. A skater will be able to perform various exercises and skating positions such as stroking, edges, crossovers, and more to strengthen the hip musculature.
A demonstration video on CD iin window media player format is included with this product, and includes both on and off ice skating drills.

Visit to order yours now while they last!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Good luck to all Regional Competitors!

Sk8Strong wishes all US regional championship competitors the best of luck this month!  Congratulations for all of your hard work and dedication.  Take a much needed break after regionals (or congrats on moving to sectionals) then begin a new chapter to your off-ice training routine.  This is the time to make necessary changes in your workouts and evaluate what is helping you and what you need to concentrate more on.  Feel free to ask Sk8Strong any questions when embarking on a new training routine at  Good luck everyone!!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Earn Money as a Sk8Strong Affiliate!

Sk8Strong is happy to announce the beginning of its affiliate marketing program!  This program is a way for vendors, skating clubs, and website owners to share in the profits of Sk8Strong sales, without having to lift a finger.  How does it work?  You sign up for our affiliate program (it's completely free), and you are given your own tracking code/link.  You can place a Sk8Strong banner or text link on your website, or even send out a simple email to your friends and colleagues, and each time a customer makes a purchase at from that link, you earn a commission.  Simple and easy!  To read more details, go to  We'd love you to join!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

How Often Do I Need to Do My Off-Ice Training Workouts?

If we all lived in a perfect world in which we had time for everything we wanted to do, we would need 30 hours in every day.  This busy generation of skaters has school, homework, skating, sport #2, musical instrument or drama club of choice, etc..... If you're an adult skater, you have work, kids, driving to kids' various activities above, meals, laundry, etc...  Oh yes, and we expect you to fit in some off-ice training?!

The problem is, without off-ice training, a skater wouldn't be as successful on the ice.  Most skaters need consistent work on flexibility, core strength, plyometrics, functional strength, and balance to keep up with their skating routine.  The question is, how much is enough, and how much is too much?

A skater who is seriously competitive at the level which they are training 4-6 days per week for regionals, sectionals, or nationals should be doing at least 3 days per week of some form of off-ice training, ideally 4-5.  Training should involve all areas of off-ice training: core, full body strength, flexibility work, plyometrics, and cardio.  Periodization rules should be followed to maximize performance throughout the season.

If you are a skater who is competitive and skates to do well at regionals, does other activities, and trains 3-5 days per week, 2-3 days of off-ice work is recommended.  Due to the limited time, it is important to complete the key exercises which will help better your performance.  It is beneficial to meet with a physical therapist or experienced strength trainer to determine your target weaknesses and deficits.  From there, you will know which exercises are most important for your body structure, and will do the most effective workout in a shorter period of time.  Note that every skater should include the appropriate core exercises in his or her routine, as well as exercises that promote proper body alignment and progress to the correct plyometric strengthening program.

Recreational skaters who skate 1-3 days per week typically are involved in many other activities, and have little time to spare.  If you fit in this category, attempt to include 1 off-ice training session in your busy schedule per week.  Since you do not skate as often, the dominant skating muscles may not be as strong as other skaters', and you may progress at a slower pace.  Even one off-ice session per week will benefit you more than none!

An adult skater typically has more responsibilities outside of skating, including family and work.  Sometimes it is hard to fit in one or two sessions per week (and I speak from experience)! If you also fall into that category, try to fit in at least one off-ice training session per week.  In the 'new age' of training, you can do all of the exercises you need in the comfort of your own home with minimal equipment.  If you are the busy skater with young kids under foot, exercise at home while they play!  It is very important for the adult skater to work on flexibility and strength training to prevent injury, which is more prevalent as we get older.

Off-ice training is important to your health and overall longevity in the sport.  Try to follow these general guidelines or guidelines given to you by a qualified health professional to fully develop your athletic potential. "You don't do sports to get fit, you get fit to stay in your sport"- (Attain Sports Performance 2009)

Monday, September 7, 2009

"Inner Champion, a Mental Toughness Training Manual for Figure Skaters"

Sk8Strong is excited to now include a great mental training book in our catalog. I luckily stumbled upon the book "The Inner Champion, a Mental Toughness Training Manual for Figure Skaters" a few months ago. This book, written by Choeleen Loundagin, is a comprehensive guide to sport psychology for figure skaters. Ms. Loundagin's book has received numerous testimonials from top coaches and skaters in the figure skating world, and is a must have for the competitive skater. Visit for detailed information about this great product!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sk8Strong DVDs Receive PSA Endorsement

Sk8Strong is happy to announce that our DVDs: The Competitive Skater, Developing the Youth Skater, Adult Training, and The Ultimate Dynamic Warmup, have received official endorsement from the PSA: Professional Skaters Association. This organization is the governing body for figure skating coaches around the world, and provides the skating community with quality education. Sk8Strong is proud to be associated with such an excellent orgainization, and pleased to have received their stamp of approval.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Interviews with Patrick Chan, Ashley Wagner, and Adam Rippon

Sk8Strong was happy to have spent a few days at the Liberty summer competition in Pennsylvania, watching some of the top US skaters while educating coaches and parents of proper off-ice training techniques. Patrick Chan, Ashley Wagner, and Adam Rippon were kind enough to take some time to talk with Sk8Strong about their off-ice training regimens.

Here's a great Q & A with Patrick Chan:

1) How many days per week to you do some form of off-ice training?
"I do different kinds of off-ice training at least 6 days a week. On weekdays I do off-ice work around mid day and later in the afternoon: on Monday, Wednesday and Friday I do yoga during my lunch break after my morning session; on Tuesday and Thursday I do a cardio work out instead of yoga. Now after I'm done skating during the day I see my personal trainer where we work on more specific areas of the body. Finally I get a day off on Sunday."

2) What does your typical off-ice training routine include?
"I don't quite know any of the exercises by name, I can sort of describe some of them for you. My off-ice routine usually includes squats, leg presses, plyomertrics (box jumps, hurdles...) and a bunch of body weight resisted exercises. Like chin ups, clapping push ups. I also use medicine balls and swiss balls in many of my exercises. And finally I use exercise bands with different resistance to work my upper body and abs."

3)Do you work with a physical therapist, strength and conditioning specialist, etc.?
"I definitely have physical therapists ready for me if i ever injure myself and i need to get treated immediately. My strength and conditioning "specialist" is basically my personal trainer. It's great because most of my trainers (at home, Florida and Delaware) have great knowledge of strengthening and conditioning. So I don't have to have multiple people working on me, I only need my trainer who has basically all the knowledge needed to help me. All in one!

4)How important is off-ice training to helping you maintain consistency in your skating, and do you find it a necessary component of your training?
"I find off-ice training super super important, even though some coaches disagree and are against high amounts of off-ice training. I don't know how I'd be able to do some of the things I do on the ice if I wasn't doing off-ice preparation. Off-ice training has allowed me to push my limits on the ice and help build stamina through my training sessions on the ice. Without it I'm quite sure I'd have some kind of injury and wishing that I'd had done off-ice training. With todays new judging system and great complexity in our programs, I believe it's a must to have some kind of off-ice training. Like I said, off-ice preparation prepares me for what I have to do on the ice and helps me with injury prevention."

5) Do you use weight machines or body weight resistance exercises?
"I use both weight machines and body weight resisted exercises. It's good to add some variety to your work out and incorporate both types of exercises in your workout. Some people might think that weight machines will bulk you up (as I, myself, thought before) but what I learned is that it's not the machine, it's the way you complete and do the exercises. I believe that machines work the general and larger muscles, and body weight resisted exercises work the smaller more specific muscles. I love both kinds equally and I usually switch back and forth depending on the day and how I feel. "

6) What do you do as a warmup before you skate?
"Before practice and competitions I usually start off with a bit of a run around the rink (around 6 laps) if possible. Usually when I first start warming up I'm quite groggy and sluggish, so I look into doing fast twitching exercises like one foot jumping, long jumps and squat jumps. As well as a few balancing exercises, just to make sure that my body is in tune and I can sharpen my sense of balance (especially in the morning). Finally I do light stretches since I try not to force myself too much into stretches especially when I've just woken up. Too painful! An extremely important stretch for myself is to stretch my neck. There has been way too many occasions where I've skipped the stretch and ended up with a tweaked neck at the end of the session. So no matter what, take the time to stretch your neck, especially with today's crazy footworks and complex body positions in spins. I've had many trainers and specialists tell me that a warm up should at least get you to break a sweat and get you feeling warm, so that's when I know I've almost finished my warm up."

*A special thanks to Patrick and his in-depth answers. Patrick will be incorporating Sk8Strong's dynamic warmup exercises into his routine.

Ashley Wagner is the US senior ladies pewter medalist and winner of the 2009 ladies freeskate. She currently trains in Delaware, and does some form of off-ice training every day! She keeps it light, running on the weekends, then spends her week in pilates and conditioning classes that emphasize core and lower body strengthening. She favors body weight resisted exercises versus machines, and uses the TRX training system, which consists of two sport cords with handles, which are perfect for the traveling skater! Ashley also added ballet and dance to her regimen last year, which she said 'greatly improved my artistry.' Sk8Strong agrees! Ashley works hard to prevent injury: "I work with a physical therapist. My back is my biggest problem, and that helps to maintain it. Off-ice training is equally important as on-ice training in maintaining consistency." Ashley is definately on the right track, and I look forward to seeing her skate this season.

Adam Rippon is the World junior champion and upcoming senior medal contender for the US. He includes off-ice training in his routine five days per week, and follows periodization guidelines by upping his training in the summer. He does "a lot of dynamic warmups and plyometrics" and also includes body weight resisted exercises in his workouts. Adam said he started taking his off-ice training seriously three years ago, which helped him gain consistency. "I also work with a physical therapist. If I didn't have my PT, I would break. It is very important to prevent injury!" Let's hope Adam keeps working with that therapist, as Sk8Strong would like to enjoy his skating for years to come.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

How Off-Ice Training Really Works...

I thought I'd share my personal story with you. I delivered my wonderful daughter in April 2008. As I had returned to the ice and competed after my son was born, I figured getting back up to speed would be just as easy after the second child: wrong! I started skating again after three months after childbirth, with little strength training. It took me several weeks to get a feel for single jumps, let alone doubles, as my legs felt weak. After a month, I could do my double salchow, and tried in vain at the double loop and flip. To my surprise, they did not come very easily. I decided to take this season off and work on my off-ice strength and conditioning to get back in shape. My program consists of two days a week of a circuit of lower, upper body, and core interval training with plyometrics once a week. Very similar to the programs in "Adult Training".

My first day back skating (not including many hours of teaching) was the other day, after an eight month break. How excited was I when I was able to do double salchow, double loop, and double flip on the first attempts. No wobbly legs, and I felt like my old self after half of a session! This is the reason I diligently promote off-ice training. Without my strength and conditioning program, I would never have been able to pick up the jumps that quickly. Off-ice training is a necessary component to every skater's training program, and I would not be where I am today without it. Now on to double lutz-double toe tomorrow.....

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

How Old Does My Child Have to Be to Exercise?

There are several theories out there about how old children should be when they start weight training. When looking at those theories, you have to consider the exercise program. Should 7 and 8 year olds be lifting heavy weights? No. Should they be doing body weight resisted exercises that will help develop correct movement patterns? Definately! Also termed 'functional exercises,' these exercises are an excellent tool to help a skater develop correct biomechanical alignment movement at an early age. Why wait until a skater is 12 years old with knee problems? Head off injury in the teen-age years by promoting health and strength at an early age. A skater needs to develop balance and symmetry of muscle flexibility, balance, and strength to complete jumps and spins properly, as well as core strength to keep a spin centered and check out of a jump with strength.
Basic exercises for the hip stabilizers, quadriceps, and hamstrings will help a skater with the alignment of the ankle, knee, and hip, as well as improve single leg stability. There is a balance component to many exercises; therefore, you are training two components at once. Training these muscles at a young age will help develop muscle memory that will last throughout the skater's life, and will prevent development of bad habits and movement patterns. Sk8Strong's "Developing the Youth Skater" contains a comprehensive exercise program for a skater to develop these correct movement patterns and more. A skater will learn how to use the core muscles for stability, correct lower body alignment, balance in various positions, and become a better skater through sport specific exercise.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

"Skate Mom's Workout"

Several skating parents have expressed interest in a workout that mom's can do during their child's skating sessions. Sk8Strong is considering putting together "Skate Mom's Workout", a follow-along 45 minute video that mom's can do right at the rink, without equipment involved. No more sitting on cold bleachers! This video would be in ipod-compatible format, so you can follow right along with a group of parents. Please let Sk8strong know if you or your fellow skating parents are interested, and we'll put together a great workout program for you! Email us at with your feedback.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

PSA Conference Auction

Sk8Strong has donated its complete 4-DVD premium off-ice training set to the auction at the PSA conference this week. This includes Developing the Youth Skater, The Ultimate Dynamic Warmup, The Competitive Skater, and Adult Training. Good luck to all bidders, and Sk8Strong is happy to support the Professional Skater's Association.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Off-Ice Training for the Adult Skater

In celebration of Adult Nationals week, today's topic is off-ice training for the adult skater. Adult figure skating has taken off in the US and many countries in the last ten years, and will only continue to grow. For those of you who haven't seen the high levels of adult competition, you would be in for a surprise. In the highest level, championship masters, the men have completed triple jumps, and the women double axels in the past few years. And the competition should only get better in the years to come.

Adult skaters have a greater need for off-ice training because, as a skater gets older, he or she is more susceptible to injury. Muscles get tighter, joints break down, bones get weaker, and the body requires more strengthening and stretching to keep it healthy. The problem for adult skaters is the lack of time to skate, balance a family, work, and do off-ice training! I have met some amazing adult skaters over the years who have managed to fit it all in. Completing an off-ice program, whether it be 30 or 60 minutes, one to three days per week, will help to keep an adult skater injury free and risk losing precious training time. Appropriate functional exercises will increase stability of the lower extremities and help to prevent osteoporosis, increase joint nutrition, and best of all- improve your balance, strength, and stability to better your skating! A good training program will create a balance of flexibility and strength in a skater's body, to avoid imbalances that can occur by skating too much. (For example, the ITB muscle and hip flexors can become tight, leading to knee or hip problems).

Sk8Strong created "Adult Training" because many adults complained of products or seminars not being targeted towards adults. I follow the Adult exercise program 2-3 times per week, and I assure you it is not easy if you challenge yourself with the exercise progressions. When most people hear the word 'Adult', they think the exercise program is simplified, but that is not the case. The main difference between "Adult Training" and "The Competitive Skater" is the reduced number of plyometric exercises for adults, as adults don't need to pound on their lower extremities with plyos. The difficulty of the majority of the exercises is the same, just catered to adults to prevent injury.

Good luck to all adult competitors this week, and congrats for all of your accomplishments, whether you are a bronze, silver, gold, or masters skater!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

"Core Stability Training" DVD for figure skaters

Sk8Strong has introduced a new DVD "Core Stability Training" to the product catalog. This DVD will take skaters through a collection of exercises that range from beginner to advanced level, and includes all of the core exercises from Sk8Strong's other DVDs. If you are just looking for a complete core training program, this is your DVD! To keep your cost down, this DVD is sent in a basic jewel case, rather than the graphic cases from Sk8Strong's original collection. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sk8Strong MP4 Off-Ice Training Videos for Your Ipod

Due to popular demand, Sk8Strong has created Ipod compatible MP4 videos so you can have your Sk8Strong workouts with you at the gym, the rink, or wherever you please! They have the same content as Sk8Strong DVDs, and can be purchased alone for $29.95 each, or added to your DVD purchase for only an extra $5. As the world becomes more mobile, we thought we would too! Don't miss out on this great addition to your Sk8Strong off-ice training program....

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Introducing the Sk8Strong Scholarship

Sk8Strong is sharing some of its profits in the form of a scholarship for a graduating high school senior who is a figure skater. The criteria for applying for the scholarship include: 1) Graduating high school in the spring of 2009 2) Entering a four year college 3) Planning on majoring in a health field-related degree. Sk8Strong is very excited to support a deserving skater who will be working in the health field. Application can be downloaded at . Good luck!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Boston Globe Article

Susan Wessling, the editor of International Figure Skating Magazine, was nice enough to feature Sk8Strong and I in an article for the Boston Globe. Thank you Susan, for giving people greater insight into my philosophies. To read the article, please click on this link:

Monday, February 2, 2009

What kind of off-ice training should figure skaters be doing at this time of year?

Are you a competitive figure skater training for regionals in the fall? Do you have a 'battle plan' for your training until regionals? If not, then you should start now! The key to creating a successful season begins after LAST YEAR'S regionals. After the last big competition, and a few much needed weeks off, you should sit down with your parents and coaches and develop a year-long training program. And yes, that includes off-ice training, as it is a very important key to a figure skater's success. And that training involves periodization, which is a training plan that involves highs and lows of cardiovascular workouts, strength training, plyometrics, program run throughs, and more, at different times of the year.To peak at the appropriate time, it is important to scale you training at the right times to be in your best shape. Over training can tire you out, but under training will leave you tired and breathing heavy at the end of your program. Figure skating and that 'perfect program' takes work, and that work is a combination of strength training, core stability work, dynamic warmups, on-ice repetition, and technique refinement. If you haven't ever investigated periodization, visit the USFS website for some sample schedules. Sk8Strong periodization recommedations are also included in the Sk8Strong "Off-Ice Training For Figure Skaters" Manual. Find out what you've been missing in your training program. The correct off-ice workout program will take you a long way, and it's never too late to start!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Definition of Core Stability: Brittney Rizo

What makes a skater consistent and able to repeat the same technique over and over again? The answer is a combination of many things, one being core strength and stability. As I watched the US Nationals senior ladies short program last night, I watched a number of wonderful programs, but one skater stood out in my mind, and that is Brittney Rizo. As a coach in New England, I have watched Brittney develop from a Juvenile regional medalist, to Eastern sectional novice champion, to nationally televised senior lady. Through the years, she has developed her triple jumps, first with my former coach, and now with Mark and Peter. Not always consistent, she has developed into an excellent jumper with a terrific axis of rotation. That axis of rotation is controlled by the core strength of her body, as well as upper and lower body strength. As a result of maintaining a high level of strength with off-ice training, her jumps are perfomed at a high level of consistency. She has built an excellent foundation over the years, and she should continue to improve the more difficult triples as she continues her training routine. If you get a chance, tune in to the to view her fabulous technique! Good luck Brittney!