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)