Spread Eagle – Figure Skating Spread Eagle (Amy Brolsma)

Figure skating coach Amy Brolsma explains and demonstrates how she teaches the outside spread eagle.  The spread eagle can be a beautiful figure skating move but it usually requires a significant commitment from a skater in terms of stretching time and on-ice practice time to create a spread eagle that is truly beautiful.

Amy begins by acknowledging that learning a spread eagle can be very uncomfortable, and it may remain physically uncomfortable even after a skater has mastered it (although you get used to the uncomfortable feeling).  For nearly all skaters, the top of the skating boot presses strongly into the lower leg.  Many skaters initially learning the spread eagle do not realize just how much pressure the boot needs to have against the leg and don’t press hard enough.

Amy starts at the wall with a simple stand-still drill that gets a skater used to having strong hip turn-out while balancing and “feeling” the other muscles necessary to stabilize the position.  The tips regarding weight placement on the blade and inner thigh activation are brilliant.  Notice the ankles are dropped dramatically to the outside edge, even at a standstill.  Next, Amy has the skater glide in the spread eagle position along the boards.  This is an unusual and highly effective tip, as it takes it from a “static stretching” position to a “dynamic” movement requiring much more control.

After skaters are comfortable at the wall, Amy has them skate on a large circle on a forward outside edge.  By swinging the free leg forward and back as open as possible before setting the free foot down behind, the skater can use the movement and momentum to initially get into the dual outside edge position.  Amy offers a simple but very challenging drill to build mastery of both the left and right outside spread eagles.  Notice the tip regarding shoulder twist and arm placement.  This helps the skater maintain the circle and stay on an outside edge, and it also can help skaters improve their overall alignment on the move.

Amy notes that the “frog stretch” can be very effective at opening the hip flexors and helping skaters prepare for the spread eagle on the ice.  Here is a video demonstrating this stretch.

At the end of the video, Amy demonstrates just how much ankle pressure is needed and how far the boot “cuts into” the lower leg.


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