jo skates

Skating in the key of life


Positions Not Used In Everyday Life

As my last post stated, I am hard at work trying to improve some skating positions that have been quite difficult for me (affectionately called Positions Not Used in Everyday Life or PNUIELs). I’m not even talking about Ina Bauers or spreadeagles, but something pretty basic: getting more backwards free leg extension (what Cinderella here is doing on a back outside edge).


Ari said that while I should try for 90 degrees, even 45 degrees would make him happy. A humbling proposition!

Nothing makes me feel like declaring “I’m getting too old for this!” like the prospect of working on PNUIELs. They say as you get older, you lose some of your flexibility. As I never had a lot of leg or hip flexibility to begin with (as a former gymnast, it took me two years to finally do a split), it’s tough to imagine having even less.

Luckily, I’ve already checked my ego at the front door of the rink. If I can retrain myself to walk with my left hip underneath me, I should be able to do at least a little better with these positions.

For this particular extension, I found an informative YouTube video on how to work on a ballet arabesque. I especially like what the instructor says about not engaging the lower back muscles here, but instead rotating the femur forward and looking for the crease in the very upper part of the thigh (at the hip).

Something to practice off the ice! And to inspire me to improve my flexibility (or to strike fear into my very core), I can always look at photographs of Gumby-like skaters.

Speaking of skating photographs worth seeing: this blog posting on ice dancing from last Olympics has some incredible examples of PNUIELs.

Oh sure, I’m about as close to these fantasies as I am to skating with Prince Charming! But it sure is fun to dream: someday my PNUIEL will come!