Sit Spin Basics (Kim Ryan)

Spin specialist Kim Ryan teaches a sit spin class at a seminar. The skaters in the class can all do a sit spin, but many need help getting the position lower so it’s a “real” sit spin. After watching the class make some initial attempts, Kim begins by focusing on improving the skaters’ functional strength and flexibility. This should not be overlooked, especially at the lower skating levels.

Kim has the skaters do 5 one-leg deep knee bends (on each leg) in the sit position with the free leg forward, and weight forward on the skating foot so the toe pick touches and provides stability. She does this at the wall for support and so skaters can use the wall to help them get up if their legs are not yet strong enough. Notice, she wants 5 per leg per day, every day, regardless of whether the skater is skating or not. This “slow” process is effective because it’s not a “chore” for skaters and they’re more likely to do it daily, and it builds strength and body awareness via repetition without making the skater sore or overly tired.

After the skaters practice the deep knee bends, Kim provides a review of her approach to the sit spin. One of the most important tips is the idea of having a “hinge” at the waist on the entrance. This helps the skater initiate forward body pressure for the eventual sit spin position and it also allows a deeper knee bend and more edge pressure.

Another very important point Kim makes is helping skaters avoid the classic “flamingo” or “one foot spin” position after coming up from the sit position prior to the exit. Instead, skaters need to learn to come up with the free leg remaining in front. Once a skater can do a basic sit spin, it’s very important to develop proper exits. The free foot remaining in front is also important for change foot spins or transitioning to an upright scratch spin position.


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