jo skates

Skating in the key of life

Hip handles and five-minute warmup


So I have always had trouble getting warmed up properly for skating. If I had my druthers, all my skating sessions would be at least 90 minutes long, so that I could spend a good twenty minutes or so doing my stroking, basic edges, and turns before I really have to work at something.

Today I figured out that I could get warmed up much quicker. After only a couple of laps of swizzles and edge pulls, I immediately started working on the most challenging things I have on my plate at the moment: brackets, mohawks, choctaws, loops.

Previously, I’d been saving these elements for later in the session, thinking that I would work up to them. But by doing them first thing, I realized that first of all, they are not necessarily any harder than the other things I’m working on. I also realized that I am a lot fresher, both mentally and physically, early in the session. And finally, I got nice and warm right away because I had to steel myself to do everything. That extra tension does make a difference!

Off with the extra jacket! And on to my latest discovery, which I’m calling my “hip handles.”

I am imagining a set of handles running along that hipbone (just about where I’ve outlined in red).


As I am moving through edges, swing rolls, and turns, I am trying to make sure that my skating hip is traveling at a steady speed over the ice. If I need help with this, I just imagine pulling smoothly on those handles (blue arrows).

Hooray for hip handles! They seem to work better for me than thinking about pushing my hips under me.

Okay, I know that the term “love handles” can be used affectionately in a kinda passive-aggressive way. But we are definitely not talking “love handles” (mine, yours, anyone else’s) here. We are talking body-positive, all-warmed-up smooth hip sailing!

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 “Hip handles and five-minute warmup

  1. I definitely have love handles! Maybe these warmup exercises will help me get rid of them… ha! It is quite amazing how these unassuming elements can break you into a sweat. It happens to me too!


  2. I don’t know if the sweat is real exercise or just nerves, but it works for me! Here’s to vanishing love handles!


  3. I think 90 minutes is the ideal amount of time to skate, I like when I can arrange things to do that. I like your image of being pulled by the hip handles. Not sure I could be bold enough to start right in with my hardest turns, though, I think old pokes like me need a lot of warmup!


  4. I love those 90 minute sessions, Mary! Unfortunately our rink is down to an hour of public ice at a time, and since I am sometimes running late, it’s a scramble to get everything together. Mostly it’s getting my head together, though! Old pokes, indeed!


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