jo skates

Skating in the key of life

Off-ice training


If they tried to make an inspirational sports movie out of my life right now it would be really boring.  No punching sides of beef in a meat locker. No running up the stairs of the Philly Art Museum and doing a victory dance on top.  No pretty heroine in a beret (ooh, turtles, I love turtles!) No planned face-off with Apollo Creed. No David Santee skating to my theme song.

There is something quite calming about working on basic edges and turns. Plenty of adrenaline, but it is measured out in tiny doses. (Will she actually get on an edge this time before the three turn? Will that hip actually come underneath her on that swing roll? I think it’s. . . wait for it, wait for it. . .a choctaw! OMG!)

I don’t have my next physical therapy appointment until next January, and it’s probably a good thing, since I already have quite a list of exercises to do off the ice. There are some that I’m supposed to do first thing in the morning (to get my hips aligned and to increase core strength and stability) and some I’m supposed to do all through the day (to get my hips aligned and to increase core strength and stability) and some before I go to bed at night (you get the idea).

So here’s a taste.  I’m probably forgetting some of them, but here goes.


  1. Using my adductor muscles to squeeze a pillow between my knees. Or in my case, I use the nifty little purple ball that one of my sisters-in-law gave my older son when he was a baby and that I couldn’t bear to give away as he grew up, knowing in my heart of hearts that someday I’d need it for physical therapy).
  2. Using a thick dowel under my right leg and on top of my left to squeeze my right hip into place. Or in my case, I use an old broomstick embellished with duct tape that has very little sentimental value.
  3. A kind of modified bridge position against the wall with the right leg lifted while squeezing my trusty purple ball between my knees.
  4. Pushups and planks, including side planks. There’s probably some kind of fun variation on these, but I haven’t discovered it yet.
  5. Clamshells.  These are supposed to help with turnout muscles too, but for the life of me I can’t feel a thing.
  6. I’ve added one of my own to help develop strength and stability: on my hands and knees. I extend the right leg out and hold or move it up and down or side to side. The key is not allowing the left leg to rotate inward. I’m adding some weights on this one this week.
  7. Calf raises. These are to develop foot strength. I’m supposed to switch to doing them on one foot at a time pretty soon. My left foot is still pretty sore at times so this is really hard.
  8. Modified spiral with theraband. I’m not sure what else to call it, but it’s hard. I’m supposed to hold it and also to work on some knee bends with it.
  9. Squats. I added these to work on a deeper knee bend.
  10. Lunges to stretch my hip flexors.  My therapist tells me that if it were up to her, I would never stretch again (too much danger of allowing my hip to pop out again). But parts of me are really really tight, and I’m trying to correct my APT, so this seems like a good idea.

    Behold the instruments of (torture) strength and alignment!

    Behold the instruments of (torture) strength and alignment!

All day:

  1. I’m supposed to lie down on my back and pull up on my right knee for 30-60 seconds to get my hips in place whenever I can. This is a bit tricky in some situations.
  2. Foot exercises in which I scrunch up my toes as if I’m picking up marbles or pieces of cloth or letting the soft pink sands of some divine beach run over my . . . oh, drat, okay, back to reality.

Night: The first three exercises of the morning, plus squats and lunges. Plus some foot massage for the sore spots, plus if I have enough time, the glorious foam roller. Ahhh. . .


The plus side?  I don’t have to drink raw eggs.

Author: Joskates

Don't see me on the ice? I may be in the classroom or at the theater, or hanging out with my family and friends.

6 thoughts on “Off-ice training

  1. Thanks for the exercise ideas, JJo! Maggie


  2. Whew! It’s more and more work to keep these bodies healthy, strong and flexible isn’t it? Good job! (I have a similar assignment from Beth.)


  3. I hope the plantar fasciitis is better, Anne. Thanks for commenting!


  4. Hi Jo – I’m new to your blog and wanted to say hi! The foam roller is amazing – I often get lower back pain after skating, and it helps relieve the stress in that area. I’m also doing my daily PT exercises after tearing a meniscus in May. Hope you’ll stop by my Skating Friday blog posts to say hello sometime!


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