jo skates

Skating in the key of life

It’s a plane! It’s (not) a bird!


The holiday season always brings hope that one day I’ll wake up with an entirely balanced new body, but alas, this is one of those things that Santa can’t bring. But it’s okay, my old one seems to work just fine aside from the occasional misfire. So it’s all good. I’ve been trying to come up with some skating resolutions for the new year, and keep returning to fairly basic principles: stay healthy, skate without pain, work on alignment.

Two thoughts to kick off what will hopefully be a good year of skating.

1) One of my sisters-in-law is a chiropractor, and she adjusted me several times over the holiday break. She also gave me some exercises to maintain stability in my left side. These were not new to me, but interestingly enough, the “quadrupeds” were harder than the plank version. That’s because when I tried to balance on my left leg and moved my right leg back, my left side tended to twist inwards almost automatically. Again, this was confirmation of the patterns of movement that I have developed over the years. I had to concentrate on keeping my left hip and my core stable and firm in order to counter this motion. Ack!

Sensing my panic, my sister-in-law also gave me a really useful image to use. I am to imagine a parallelogram that is drawn by lines running across my (hopefully level) hips and lower ribcage, and each side of my body.  The goal is to keep this shape intact and on the same plane. Here’s the closest I could find to an illustration (okay, it’s a stretch, but you get the idea) .


Both in these exercises and more generally, I am supposed to keep my rectangle (or my case, maybe more of a square) flat and “super-strong.” Super strong, I like that.  It’s like a superhero, only with the cape in front of me.

This week I went over this idea with Laurie, who added the insight that when I shifted my weight to the left side, I was not engaging the proper glute/hip muscles either.  If I turn out my knee slightly, it helps a lot. The left bottom corner of the cape needs to stay unfurled, and I have to keep from twisting the bottom half clockwise.

2) We also worked on not having my shoulders pop up. I sometimes let any upward motion (like rising on the knee) continue through the upper part of my body; as a result, I look like a bird flapping its wings. To make myself aware of this, I’m supposed to draw up my shoulders and then pull everything down engaging my lats (latissimus dorsi), and then practice this anchoring technique on just about everything I do.

Laurie came up with the image of having bungee cords attached from my wrists down towards the ice. As I rise, the tension increases, keeping my shoulders grounded. If you picture this model with her arms extended downwards, you’ll get the idea.


Flappy arms, begone! Happy 2015 to everyone!

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.

4 thoughts on “It’s a plane! It’s (not) a bird!

  1. You are so lucky to have a sister in law who is a chiropractor! *jealous*


  2. Yes, she is a terrific resource as well as a wonderful relative! To make you even more jealous, I have another sister-in-law who is a massage therapist and a sister who is a doctor. But on the flip side, I can’t get away with bad posture on family vacations. Happy New Year and thanks for checking in!


  3. Hi Jo. Keeping the shoulders down is a long project for me, still working on it! Massage has been helpful in getting them down in the first place, perhaps your handy relative could help with that!


  4. oohh, I love massage, and this is a wonderful reminder to get them more often. Here’s wishing you a tension-free back in 2015!


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