jo skates

Skating in the key of life

The strong leg is not the strong leg


And the weak leg is not the weak leg.

I am starting to sound like some avant garde poet or philosopher. But really what I mean is that I am beginning to realize that my left leg may actually now be stronger than my right.

I just started working on outside loop figures, and I have more control on my left side than on my right. My left forward power pull feels pretty good, whereas my right side needs a good goose to get going. And I have been having trouble getting a really good push off my right foot/ankle (more on that in a moment).

Whoa, what’s going on here?

Some of this may well be due to nearly two years of strengthening exercises. Some of it might have to do with the bruise I got on my right hip/tailbone several weeks ago (not to be confused with January’s bruise–boy, this year has been kind of a mess!). And some of it may well be much older injuries to the right ankle (torn ligaments and a broken right fibula, we’re talking 20 years ago) coming back to haunt me.

At any rate, it feels strange to suddenly be complaining about weakness on the right side. But that’s just what I’m going to do when I see PT Sarah later this week. In the meantime, some lesson notes!

  • I have been thinking a lot more about the placement of edges on circles/lobes since both coaches have been on me about that. I tend to place things too late on the circle and then have to distort my edges to catch up. For instance, one of my exercises is three turn, back crossover, change circle, step forward and repeat on other side. My tendency is to do the three at the top of the circle rather than earlier and so I run out of room. Not pretty. I am thinking that this may well be a reason I neglect the push  out of the three turn (from the back inside edge)–or maybe I delay the three because I don’t like that push and then can make the excuse that I’ve run out of room? Okay, enough psychoanalysis.
  • In general, I need to work on stronger back pushes using a stronger inside edge. This is where the right ankle doesn’t flex in as easily and naturally as it might. I have noticed that if I work on this, my ankles get pretty tired: a sure sign that I haven’t been using them as much as I should.
  • Speaking of ankles, I need to think about ankle flexion and foot placement for forward inside edges as well, and passing through that flexed-V position. I did this today on my lesson, and boy oh boy, what a big difference on that left inside edge (which felt like the pit of doom this past week, I tell you).
  • I have been doing back chassés clockwise, and still having trouble. The problem wasn’t just the ankle flexion and how I was directing my energy back, though that’s been part of it.  Laurie noticed today that my shoulders were also raised and I wasn’t “down” into the ice on that right back inside push. Once I fixed my upper body (right arm in front, everything down), this was much better.
  • Swing roll prep exercise: shifting my weight over to a flat with a neutral upper body (just moving ribcage, not arms and shoulders), knee bend and back extension, then rise and move free leg forward without changing other aspects of body position, especially alignment. (Really hard on the right side, better on the left! What’s with that?)
  • Baby spread eagle, forward outside. Then that same baby spread eagle and scoot forward by shifting weight back and forth.
  • Euro-man’s pattern. Really extend, really bend, really push. Then get some speed.
  • Outside-outside mohawk (Viennese). Make sure you are really doing outside-outside. And practice getting in that heel-to-instep position, then simply rotating core and replacing feet. Stay in that V-position (don’t close up). It should be easier than what you’re currently doing, which to step towards the new foot.
  • Loops. I don’t have a handle on these yet, so will just put down some key words. Take it slow. Allow the free leg to come wide (don’t swing it wide). Be careful not to rock back on blade in the last part.


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.

2 thoughts on “The strong leg is not the strong leg

  1. Hey, this means progress! Congrats! It’s so important to do strengthening exercises on both sides so you don’t have an imbalance. Hope your bruises continue to get better, Jo.


  2. I’ll take any sign of progress as a good sign. Thanks, Eva, for being such a supportive reader and for all your good wishes.


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