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This week's tip:

Winter Training for Skaters
How to stay in shape during the off-season

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By Greg Major

Skaters at Indoor Nationals

You'll find many of the fastest skaters in the world training indoors.
Photo: Mark Virtue

Us inline skaters love our summer workouts. Which isn't surprising: what's not to like about rolling outdoors on beautiful summer days.

But come winter, our enthusiasm tends to falter.

We don't want to get wet, we don't want to get cold, we don't want to ruin our bearings.

We come up with lots of excuses, some reasonable.

But here's the thing: once you stop training, you quickly — within weeks — lose your hard-earned physical conditioning.

Don't let this happen to you!

Stay active.

Here are some off-season workouts that are great for skaters:

Indoor Skating

One obvious way to keep skating in the winter is to join an indoor speed team. Even if you don't want to compete indoors, you'll find that speed practice is a great way to stay in shape and sharpen your skating technique.

Boot Camp

Another option is to enroll in a boot camp fitness program, like the one I run in Chicago. These programs include cardio and strength training, including plyometrics. They work your whole body, not just your legs.

Stair Running

Find the longest set of stairs you can. Run up and down them at a steady pace. Do this for a fixed amount of time. You might want to start with 10 minutes and build to 30. To add variety, take two steps at a time at 2-minute intervals.

Stair Sprints

Sprint to the top of the stairs, using the trip down to recover. The idea is to do each sprint as hard as possible. For variety, lift your knees as high as possible (while moving them up and down as fast as you can).


Find a short steep hill or embankment. Run up using a crossover step. (Right foot landing in front and to the left of your left foot, and left foot landing in front and to the right of the right foot.) Start slow. Then gradually add more power to each push. This will give you a good cardio workout and improve your crossover and double-push technique on skates.

Keep Moving

Winter provides all kinds of opportunties for staying in shape. Even something as simple as sledding can give you a great workout because at the end of each run, you have to push the sled back up the hill again.

Whatever you do, don't wait too long to start your off-season training. ... The outdoor skating season will be here before you know it.


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Greg MajorGreg Major is a veteran inline racer, a certified personal trainer and the president of Bulldog Bootcamp Co. A lifelong athlete, he played semi-pro football in the 1980s and won the Chicagoland Natural Bodybuilding title in 1992. He started skating in the 1980s on a pair of $19 Rollerblade knockoffs. Today, he is a member of Team Rainbo and Tru-Rev's masters racing team. He holds the course record for his age division at the Northshore Inline Marathon (1 hour, 6 minutes and 24 seconds). He and his wife, Michelle, founded Bulldog Bootcamp in 1999.

Bulldog Bootcamp web site




Related reading:

Skate Tip of the Week Archive
Beginners Guide to Outdoor Racing
Beginners Guide to Inline Skating




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