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Skate skills:

Inline secrets from the world's top skaters and coaches

This week's tip:
Get Your Legs Moving!
By Alexander Bont

(Sept. 29, 2006)

Some skaters are born with an abundance of leg speed, which makes them natural sprinters. Others are not so lucky.

But just because you weren't born a sprinter, doesn't mean you can't become one. Specific exercises can increase your leg speed. Here are the best two I have found:

Eddy Matzger drafting behind a Jorge Botero leads the leaders Alexander Bont running

Alexander Bont

Downhill Running

Choose a very slight gradient, preferably on grass to lessen the impact on your joints. Start at the top of the hill and run down it. It won't take long before you hit top speed, which will force your legs to go faster than they want to.

Note: Be careful not to choose too steep a grade or your legs won't be able to keep up and you will end up in a heap at the bottom of the hill.

Stair Running

Choose a long staircase with small steps. Run up the flight of stairs as fast as possible making sure your feet land on every single step. Then do the same thing on the way down. Rest in between so your legs stay fresh.

Hint: This may sound funny but it works. Make up a short sound in your head like Gi or Da. Now say it in your head as fast as you can — Gi Gi Gi Gi Gi Gi Gi Gi Gi — as you run up the stairs. Match the sound of your feet with the sound in your head.

Arms and Legs

Now here's a technique that will help get your legs moving: Pump your arms as fast as you can while skating. You will find that your feet will naturally keep up. Try it!


Alexander Bont, son of renowned boot designer Inze Bont, started skating when he was two and went on to become a champion ice and inline speed skater. He spent seven years on the Australian national short track ice team and was a state inline champion. Since retiring from racing, he has become one of the most prominent figures in the inline world as marketing manager for Bont Skates.

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