Skate Maps


Inline secrets from the world's top skaters and coaches

This week's tip:

Five Great Workouts for Skaters

By Tony Muse

Tony Muse is a race

Tony Muse
photo: Shutterwideopen Photography


Skating can be too much fun. Once you develop a modicum of skill, you can roll for hours, impressing pedestrians, flying by cyclists — and all the while, barely breaking a sweat.

But don’t be fooled.

This kind of skating may be fun, relaxing and even healthful. But it’s not going to take you to the highest levels of fitness. It’s not going to trim those last unwanted pounds around your belly or prepare you for the rigors of inline racing.

For that, you've got to spend some time on “the pain train,” which means devoting a few training sessions a week to hard, structured workouts.

Not sure what that looks like?

Here are five of my favorite “pain train” workouts:

1. Straightaway Blast

Find a long smooth straightaway of about 100 meters. Imagine this is the final stretch of a race.

Start your first blast, accelerating from slow to full speed as fast as you can. Carry your speed all the way to the finish line.

After the blast, skate easy for a minute or so. Then start again.

Repeat 10 times.

I’m lucky. I have access to a 400-meter track. So when I do my straightaway blasts, I sprint one straightaway every other lap. That’s 100 meters on, 700 meters off.

2. Corner Blast

Same as above, but with crossover strokes.

Find a nice smooth corner or turn of about 100 meters. Make sure it has perfect pavement.

Time your blast so you round the corner with nothing but crossover turns. Start slow and accelerate throughout the 100 meters.

On a 400-meter track, this means sprinting around one corner every other lap.

3. 20/10s

Find some pavement where you can skate for at least 5 minutes without stopping.

Skate until you are warmed up. Then go all out for 20 seconds, holding nothing back.

Rest for 10 seconds. Then go all out for another 20.

Repeat at least eight times. Ten is better.

If you do at least 10 reps — and do them all out — I guarantee you will make big gains in endurance and speed.

4. Mile Repeats

Find a mile of pavement free of intersections, traffic or other obstacles.

From a standing start, skate the mile course as fast as you can, timing yourself.

Record your time and give yourself a few minutes — whatever you need — to recover.

Repeat four times.

I also do this drill on the 400-meter track, doing four laps each time. This makes it easy for me to keep track of my lap times and see where I’m lagging.

5. 100/200/300/400

This one is pretty much self explanatory.

Sprint 100 meters. Then rest for twice as long as it took you to do the sprint. (If your 100-meters takes 10 seconds, rest for 20.)

Repeat four times.

Then sprint 200 meters with the same rest ratio: 2 to 1.

Repeat three times.

Then sprint 300 meters (same rest ratio).


Then sprint 400 meters (same rest ratio).

Then go back down the ladder in reverse order.

Some of the great distance skaters (e.g., Jorge Botero and Diego Rosero) climb up and down this ladder two or three times.

Things to Keep in Mind

Start cautiously if you are not used to interval training. The potential for falls increases when you go full out. (And of course, if you have any concerns about your heart, check with your doctor before starting any intense exercise routine.)

Vary your workouts. Don’t get too comfortable with one drill at the expense of the others. If you’re feeling comfortable, you probably aren’t getting much out of your workout.

Always skate with good technique. Technique trumps fitness most of the time.

Have fun. If you have training partners, engage in some friendly competition during workouts. If not, compete against yourself with a clock and monitor your progress.

Give yourself a rest day. On mine, I like to take a leisurely skate around a nearby lake.

Finally, don’t use what you learn in this tip to beat me on race day. My kids think it's cool when I win!


Tony MuseTony Muse is one of the winningest racers in the history of U.S. speed skating, both quad and inline. The younger brother of Dante Muse, Tony won 18 world championships in the 1980s and 1990s. He has raced professionally since 1992 and is a member of the Powerslide US Racing team. He has also coached such notable skaters as former world champion Solange Franklin and US indoor national champion Todd Foley. "This is my sport," he says, "and some day I would like to run our national governing body in order to get us the exposure and Olympic opportunity we deserve." Tony is a father of five and real estate broker. He lives in his hometown of West Des Moines, Iowa.

Powerslide US web site



Related reading:

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




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