Strengthening Hips and Glutes (Kristina Anderson)

Figure skating coach and certified strength and conditioning expert Kristina Anderson demonstrates 3 important exercises for strengthening the hips and glutes.

The first exercise focuses on hip strength and stability, and starts in a sitting position with one leg forward and one leg to the side, with both legs bent at ninety degree angles. Keeping a strong core and good posture with the hands up in a hoop or frame position, raise the side leg and bring it to the front, then return it to the side, and let it down onto the floor. Kristina recommends 10 to 15 repetitions on each side. The exercise works the side of the glute muscle and the attachment point in the hip. She shows a simplified version of the exercise with the hands on the floor for stability, but the goal is to do the exercise without using the hands.

The second exercise is a glute bridge. The skater lays down on the floor with the feet pulled in toward the body, then lifts the hips. Kristina makes a point that skaters should not “flare” their rib cage during this exercise, but instead tilt the front of the hips toward the ribs as the hips are lifted off the floor. Skaters should hold this bridge position for 30 to 45 seconds and eventually work up to 2 minutes. Kristina also shows the more challenging single leg glute bridge, which requires more core stability as well as more glute strength (since one glute instread of two is now holding up the same amount of weight). Taking the hands and arms away from the floor adds even more difficulty, and skaters should eventually add a small amount of additional weight to increase resistance further (after 4 to 6 weeks of consistent training).

The final exercise is a a deadlift. To perform a deadlift correctly, the skater should have slightly bent knees and hinge from the hips, keeping the back very flat. It is not a squat. Kristina demonstrates correct form, and clarifies where the weight hangs from (as if she were using a barbell). At the top, it’s important to “tuck the tailbone under and give the buns [glutes] a nice squeeze at the top.” Deadlifts are excellent exercises for strengthening hamstrings and glutes. After mastering a basic two foot deadlift, skaters can increase the difficulty by using a spit stance, and eventually doing full one-leg deadlifts. As Kristina notes, skaters often have good flexibility through their hamstrings but lack hamstring strength which limits power for jumping.


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