Another skating blogger, Mary (who writes the blog “Fit & Fed”) posted an entry detailing the off-ice workout that she does for hip and knee pain. This reminded me of a post that I did on my own off-ice routine, which has undergone quite a few changes since October 2014.
Since last April, I have been seeing a terrific physical therapist who works with what is called “Postural Restoration,” an approach that targets asymmetries and imbalances that negatively affect muscle function and alignment. I’ve worked with Sarah in several one-on-one sessions; I also been taking her weekly class. This class is really fun, though challenging; the exercises use a Pilates springboard and props but are modified to target and activate key muscles that contribute to asymmetries. I always spend the subsequent 24 hours marveling at how many of my muscles might go otherwise unnoticed if not for this class. Some of these exercises are from her; others were suggested by other therapists or my helpful coaches.
I’ll start off by saying that throughout the day I try to do the following:
- Stand up straight, tighten my core, and lift out of my hips. (When I do this correctly, I can feel certain muscles (glute and core) kicking in on the left side, and sometimes feel tightness in my left hip. I take this as a good sign.)
- Short foot and other foot exercises (like pointing and flexing, or heel raises).
First thing in the morning and late in the evening I do some combination of the following:
- Exercises to fire up the left glute and core: such as the supine semi extension and glute max exercises.
- Exercises for the left adductor: on my right side and the hip lift at the wall (I used to do this with a balloon).
- Gluteus medius: instead of clamshells, I’ve been doing this “heel slide.”
- Forward and side planks; pushups
- Hip flexor stretching; lunges; squats
- Foot exercises with a theraband tied around the bedpost. Heel raises.
- Pilates core exercises (rolling like a ball, dead bug, and others).
I have been playing with some additional exercises for my hamstrings and glutes. I’ve been trying out the single leg deadlift, which I used to do much more easily a few years ago but now feels like it should be abbreviated to “the single dead.” I found a series of exercises designed for hockey players that might be useful, though I think I’ll stay away from the ones that involve chains, at least for now.
I’m pretty good about exercises, but I don’t think I’d be nearly as diligent if I weren’t skating. As Mary noted, skating is a great incentive to go to the gym! In my case, no gym is currently necessary, just a yoga mat, a wall, and a few props.
January 12, 2016 at 8:04 pm
I have been lazy with the exercising but try my best to stretch every night! Hope the exercises are helping with your skating and overall health and flexibility!
January 12, 2016 at 8:37 pm
Stretching is really important! I’m sure you are far from lazy; these exercises are pretty focused on specific corrections, so it’s more necessity than virtue for me. Hopefully you’ll escape the “theraband” track!
January 13, 2016 at 9:33 am
I keep hearing that stretching is important, and in general I’ve bought into that notion. But along with that dogma, I also keep hearing that one must warm up muscles before stretching. What are people doing to warm up muscle groups early in the morning or late at night before stretching them? As for late at night exercise routines, every time I try that I find that I have difficulty in falling asleep (or staying asleep)–worse than an ill timed cup of coffee!
January 13, 2016 at 9:47 am
I haven’t been doing all that much real stretching, since for me stability is much more the goal than flexibility right now. So I do my exercises first, starting with the easier ones, and then maybe do some gentle stretching in the middle or at the end. And I don’t do a lengthy or strenuous exercise session before bed, just maybe 10-15 minutes of a few key exercises targeting my hip alignment and foot (no planks or heavy-duty core/legwork). I try to make it part of the relaxation (or boredom) that encourages falling asleep! Since many of these are so repetitive, it generally works.
February 2, 2016 at 10:51 pm
Interesting how similar our off-ice training is in some ways! And both of our PT’s use the PRI work, what are the odds? The PT office I use here has an ‘athletic engineering’ side with PT assistants who can supplement what the PT does. I’m working occasionally with a PT assistant who is/was a skater herself, she had her 7th figure test. Feeling optimistic, I think I have a good team. I’m sure you are getting quite the workout between the planks, side planks, single leg deadlift, plus all those other PT exercises that don’t look like you are doing anything yet burn so bad! Hope you get the results you want soon.
February 3, 2016 at 9:01 am
Wow, Mary, I’m glad you have a team that is in sync with skating. I’m finding that progress is slow, but then suddenly there is that “light bulb” moment when things come together in a big way. Looking forward to reading about your progress on “Fit & Fed.”