Cha Cha Cha Exercise for Double/Triple/Quad Loop (Tom Zakrajsek)

World and Olympic coach Tom Zakrajsek shares an exercise he uses for developing the necessary tightness in the feet on double loop, triple loop, and even quad loop. Tom calls this exercise “cha cha cha” as this is a memorable name that also conveys the importance of rhythm and tempo within the exercise.

Tom begins by explaining, “An important part of the loop jump is maintaining tight, close feet as the curve tightens and the skater gets ready to take off. A common error is the feet separating and body piking, either forward or to the left (non-axis side) or both.” The cha cha cha exercise “really helps the skater anchor their head, and understand how the feet will snap into place right as they get under the jump to take off.”

Tom teaches the loop setup on “perfectly straight” legs and on two outside edges, with the feet “really tight.” Tom acknowledges “there is some variation” in this setup as other elite coaches approach this differently, but the straight legs set the skater up for the “plyometric loading moment” without causing excessive movement and what Tom calls “tremors in the loading zone that are detrimental to the jump.”

The exercise is done at the barrier with the skater facing away from the barrier but gently resting the hands on the barrier (behind them). The skater begins on two outside edges, then slides the skates out and back in on those outside edge. When the feet are close, the skater snaps the feet together and across. The skater does this three times, then holds the feet together and pivots back and forth on the axis foot (“cha cha cha moment”) three times, followed by a rotation of one and half revolutions and a landing, pressing away from the barrier with the arms. The rhythm of the exercise is important and Tom calls it out as “one two one two one two cha cha cha one two out.”

Finally, Tom has the skater demonstrate a triple loop where we get to see his tight feet. He also has the skater walk through the jump showing the “tight feet and the snapping moment.”


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