Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Standing XBX: My Warmup with Skates On

I previously wrote about the XBX program that I do every day, and how I use it for off ice warmup.  It's a great warmup with standing and prone components. Unfortunately, there are times the exercise room is booked so I figured out how to do my  warmup standing on the mats outside the rink where there's no people. I did my best to match the XBX exercises, by changing the prone exercises to standing.

And I do it with skates on. No guards.

I'll list the exercises in order, there's a chart at the bottom of the page with the levels. I'm on level 18. I should be finished with this chart in a couple of weeks.

Exercise 1: Toe Touches--go down touch toes, come up a few inches, touch toes again, come up to standing. I start and end with my arms over my head.

Exercise 2: Knee Lifts. Alternate knees to chest.
Exercise 3: Side stretch: Stretch my hand to my knee, come up a couple of inches, go to the knee again, return to standing. Do the other side.

Exercise 4: Arm Circles. Circle my arms forward the required number of times, then backwards.

Exercise 5: Standing Ab Crunches. I've tried several variants. But none of them make me happy. This is the most challenging.

This is the easier one. In skates I prefer this one. I squeeze the hell out of my abs when I do this one.

Exercise 6: Back Stretch (Standing Locust). This feels great. Stretch, straighten, repeat.
Exercise 7: Side Leg raises. Lift leg to the side, return to floor. Repeat. I do one side at a time. The count in the chart is the total for both legs. So if it's 18 in the chart, I do 9 a side.
Exercise 8. Standing Pushups. This is good for building endurance. Although I don't feel very challenged.
There are stairs in the rink area, so I'm switching to incline pushups if my skates don't interfere.

Exercise 9: Leg Crosses to Hand. I can't find this pictured anywhere, so I have to build up the steps.

I stand with feet apart arms out.
I swing one leg across my body, and up, so that I can touch my hand to my skate. I do this with much more form than the woman in the picture below, and I keep my arms out shoulder height. All I have to do is slightly reach my hand forward and touch the skate as it comes up to shoulder height.
When I do this exercise, it scares people.

Exercise 10 is aerobic. I just get on the ice. 

Here's the chart I'm using. I think I'll continue to use these exercises for off ice warmup standing even though I'm progressing to Chart III in a few weeks. I may make some modifications, but this really gets the blood flowing and the muscles ready to skate.

Exercises 8A and 8B aren't relevant here.

Friday, September 25, 2015

What's Your Experience With Newly Sharpened Blades?

A. It feels like you're dragging your fee on the ice

B. It kills your crossovers

C.You beg your coach not to make you learn something new

D. You're cool with it

E. You Can't STOP!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Day at the Rink

Since my two butt falls in a month, I've started wearing a coccyx pad to keep from injuring myself (yet again). Technically, this is an extra Skatingsafe.com knee pad I stuff down the back of my tights. It's about 8 inches by 6 and a third of an inch thick.

So I go into the ladies to slip the pad in place. When I come out I go up to my coach and turn away from her. "Does this pad make me look like I'm wearing a diaper?"

My coach says 'No.", then the ice dance team next to her asks what's going on.

I relate the story of my two coccyx falls and how I'm' now wearing a 'butt pad'.

The woman ice dancer looks at my behind critically. "No, it doesn't look bad. You're just built like KK."

I give her a puzzled look. "Who is that?"

Everyone, my coach, the ice dancer and her male partner all laugh. "Kim Kardashian." the skater says.

"I don't think that's all due to the pad," I say.

The male ice dancer tries to pay me a compliment. "You know big butts are popular now."

Apparently coccoyx protection does make your butt look big.  Well, Baby Got Back!


One of my coach's little skaters likes to come up to me while I'm skating. She doesn't say anything, she just stares at me and smiles.

I'm fascinating.

So I usually ask her about her skating and get a one word answer. Today I asked her if she's working on her jumps. Head nod in return. "Which one?" I ask.

"I don't remember," she says.

"Is it your axel?"

She giggles and shakes her head in shock that I'd even mention the holy grail of skating. She may be only 6, but she knows it's 'the hard one'.

"Is it your flip?"

Head shake.

Man, I'm struggling here. Waltz jump? No. Mazurka? No. What's left? I take a stab at it. "Salcow?"

"YES!" and she skates away, adult confusion mission accomplished.


As I'm stepping off the ice, the elderly lap skater high fives me as he gets on the ice.

Finally! I'm noticed by someone nearly my age!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

It's HOCKEY Season!!

 When I see the ice is torn up after a hockey game, even after a resurfacing




Monday, September 14, 2015

The Tailbone Fall X 2

So about 3 weeks ago I fell on a back edge and landed on my tailbone. After I've been really improving  my skating, really fast, I have a major fall.


I want you to know how noble I was. I was on the back edge on public, when a little girl in a sweater with a bunny on it, skated in the wrong direction right at me. In other words, she was heading clockwise on a counter clockwise session. I was in her way.

I couldn't stop. She was just suddenly *there*. I twisted my body in trying to avoid her, but instead I just dropped straight down on my ass.

This is every bit as painful as it look
 Let me just tell you that I'm being really nice by not including a picture of how doctors do surgery to operate on your coccyx.  You've heard the expression "tear you a new asshole?" Yeah, that. I think it would be better to suffer with the broken tailbone than go through the recovery for that surgery.

Anyway, it's gradually improved. I'm sure its not broken, and I'm sure it's not a bruised bone. It's take the last few weeks for this to heal up. I could touch my toes and straighten up without a  major pain in my tushie.

So, I take a lesson on Sunday. The ice is horrible. The local minor league team had a game before public and the ice technician just sort of drove the resurfacer around the ice while whistling Dixie. Gouges, lumps, rough surface (did he use cold water or what?).

So, yes just as I'm doing a back edge, I hit some gouge, lump or roughness and go down on the same butt spot as before. My coach was looking right at me and she has no idea why I fell, and neither do I. I was on this amazingly solid back outside edge, and still went down.

But THIS TIME, I have a skatingsafe.com hip pad protecting the  tail bone area.

It still hurt.

But it didn't make me any worse.

After this second fall, my coach told me that she had fallen on kids twice, once during an LTS class she was coaching, and it didn't hurt them at all.  

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

I Rant about USFSA Freeskate Program

I've got nothing against USFS Basic Skills levels. It's straight forward and understandable. Reading it, you get the impression of a well organized machine.

It's not the same for Freeskate.

In Freeskate, I get the impression some thoughtful people put together a skills program to get to the axel then later just stuck some extra stuff in because they forgot about it. To me it looks like some skills are just stuck in higgeldy piggedly.

I know I'm nothing but a recreational skater, and I have no right to make comments about the skills program, but I'm also a systems engineer, I plan A before B for a living. As a student I look at the Freeskate program and scratch my head. It's sometimes a puzzlement.

Freeskate 1 puzzles me with the Advanced back outside three-turns clockwise and counterclockwise (R and L). And why is this 'a puzzlement' is because back threes were never introduced in Basic Skills. Yet when you start Freeskate 1 suddenly you need to be learning ADVANCED back threes. And the Waltz jump is reintroduced with crossover entrance, but the Mazurka (a cute little jump) gets nothing.
And why are basic forward edges in Freeskate 1? Aren't those easy enough to be in Basic Skills?

And aren't you going to need back outside and inside edges for back 3s? Yet back edges aren't introduced until Freestyle 2 while back 3's are in Freestyle 1.

Also, progressive-chasse' sequences mysteriously appear in Freestyle 2 without a lead-in.

And then in Freeskate 6, when you're learning the axel and the lutz, appears alternating back crossovers. Hunh? Isn't that a bit .... late?

Imagine LTS is like packing a suitcase. You have just so many skills you can put in the suitcase.

Basic Skills 1-8

Freeskate 1-6

 This is the point where I'd like to say that I prefer the weSkate program from ISI, but they don't even include back threes...at all.

Friday, September 4, 2015

"Will No One Rid Me Of This Troublesome Dance?" -- Henry II

From the USFS rule book:

MUSIC: Tango 4/4
TEMPO: 26 four-beat measures per minute; 104 beats per minute
COMPETITION INTRODUCTION: 32 beats, 18.5 seconds
PATTERN-TIMING: 1 = :16; 2 = :32; 3 = :48; 4 = 1:05
DURATION:  Test 2 = :32  Competition 3 = :48  Adult Solo Dance Competition 2 = :32
TEST: Preliminary
The Canasta Tango is skated in Reversed Kilian position, and both partners skate the same steps. It is a dance consisting of forward edges only and introduces the tango rhythm to skaters at the preliminary test level.
Particular attention should be given to the skating of the chassé at Step 4, and the two slide chassés at Steps 7 and 10. The use of appropriate knee action on the slide chassés can help in expressing the tango rhythm.
Note that Step 14 may be started, optionally, with a cross stroke. A stroking action by the left foot should be evident and a toe push is to be avoided.
Neat footwork, good edges, tango expression, extension and good carriage should be maintained throughout the dance.
INVENTOR: James B. Francis
FIRST PERFORMED: The University Skating Club, Toronto, Canada, 1951
Okay, so far, so good. Let's look at the pattern.
Man, that's only laughs I'll get out of this dance.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

All Hail the Mighty 4 Way Strech Spandex for Figure Skating Costumes

 All hail Spandex! 

The cloth that lets me flex. 

If I bend, 

It covers my end, 

My area most convex.

 --Babbette Duboise