Skate Maps


Inline secrets from the world's top skaters and coaches

This week's tip:

Knee Breathing

By Trish Alexander

Trish demonstrates knee bend

Trish Alexander demonstrates proper knee bend.
photo: Trish Alexander

Here’s a concept that can help make your skating more efficient and powerful.

I call it “knee breathing.”

It’s a way to visualize the movement of your knees when you skate.

When you push out with your foot, visualize your knee exhaling. When you bring your foot back under you, visualize your knee inhaling.

The more you bend your knee during this "inhalation," the deeper you are “breathing” and the more power you will generate for your stroke!

I know what many of you are going to say: I already bend my knees enough.

Most skaters think so. But it's a misperception. The vast majority of skaters — from rec to speed — bend their knees too little.

If you don’t believe me have yourself videotaped with a chalk line running the length of your pants. You’ll probably be surprised.

I find that most rec skaters bend their knees only 5 to 15 degrees. They should be bending their knees twice that much if they are rec skaters and up to 90 degrees if they are speed skaters.

Perpetual motion

While knee breathing, keep your knees in constant motion. Your knees make a circular motion as your legs push in and out.

Keep your knees spinning like a top. If they stop, at any point in your stroke, they lose all their energy.

So get out there and practice some knee breathing. With a little practice, you'll be a more powerful and efficient skater.


trishIIflattenedTrish Alexander is the head of the Skate IA and director of the Skate Journey Skate School in Bellevue, WA. She started ice skating as a child and was a competitive figure skater as a pre-teen. She started inline skating in 1994 and began teaching two years later. She is certified to teach Level I, Level II, Master Fitness, Blade Fitness and Fitness Inline Marathon Training. In a former life, she was a paralegal and private detective.

Trish's blog



Related reading:

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




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