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Sit spin: tips for off-ice exercises to get enough leg strength?

Discussion in 'Moves In The Field' started by Katarzyna, Jun 25, 2012.

  1. Katarzyna

    Katarzyna Well-Known Member

    In order to go any further with testing I need to be able to do a sit spin. But apart from other problems it looks I simply don't have enough strength in my thighs and I usually end up with somehow forcing my knee joint doing the work, which certainly isn't a good thing. I need to add that spinning in general isn't my strong point. :(

    I tried to practice the sit spin position in swimming pools and had absolutely no problem there - probably due to the fact that with less weight you need less strength. (However I stopped that, when someone in my surrounding mentioned that staying in a stable position similar to a crouch might look like if I were peeing in the pool. :yikes:)

    Does anyone have tips for off-ice exercises to get more strength in my thighs? (Sidenote: as I like to wear skirts the exercises should not result in Schwarzenegger style legs!) - Thanks in advance! :)
  2. AndyWarhol

    AndyWarhol Well-Known Member

    Do squats and lunges. If you have a weight machine you can do leg presses. practice the sit spin position of the ice in your shoes and try to get back up. It will get easier :)

    And don't worry about getting bulky thighs/wearing skirts, it will just make your legs toned!
  3. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

    Squats. Due to knee injury I cannot squat my entire weight with proper technique, so my PT has me use a balance ball against the wall.

    I have a recognizable sit position that passed, but it is not parallel. Instead we worked on speed and revolutions-parallel was never going to happen. On my retry test, one judge complimented my position to my coach, nice pointed toe, legs together, etc, despite it not being low enough.
  4. Doubletoe

    Doubletoe Well-Known Member

    While leg strength is a factor, it's not the only factor; it's also about specific body position, timing and technique. Here are the things that helped me get my sit spin low enough and consistent. I will assume forward sit spin on left foot for all of these:

    1. Get a deep knee bend on your preparatory edge (right back edge) before stepping down onto the entrance edge.
    2. Plant your left foot on the ice, bend very deeply (think thigh parallel to ice, even though it won't be), and make a very round edge, leading with your left arm and looking over your left shoulder.
    3. Keep your free leg extended as far behind you as you can. Think of letting it cross behind your skating leg so you're like a dog chasing its tail. Keep your back arched (shoulder blades squeezed together) for strength and support.
    4. Keep your free leg behind you a little longer than you think you need to, and keep your back arched. When you hit the end of that entrance edge, bring the free leg around low and extended, like a compass that is tracing a big circle a few inches above the ice. Your right arm swings in parallel to help you.
    5. When the right leg reaches 2:00, turn your foot out so the heel of the blade doesn't get caught in the ice. Do this as a smooth motion without stopping the swing of the leg.
    6. Allow the free leg to collide with the skating leg, then lower your butt while pushing your chest and free leg forward. Your back stays strongly arched as you try to touch your belly button to your skating thigh.
    7. Keep lowering your butt and pushing your free leg and chest forward until you can feel the inside of the thigh of your free leg against the lower calf of your skating leg. Once you feel that, it means your skating thigh is parallel to the ice and you are in the correct position.

    To practice this position off ice, wear shoes with at least a 2" heel to simulate the position you will be in when you are on the ball of the blade with your heel lifted off the ice. It's also much easier and safer than doing a flat-footed deep knee bend.

    To practice the position on the ice, lower yourself into position (follow steps 6 & 7) while doing a one-foot backward glide. Make sure your heel is lifted off the ice to simulate the spin position. You will get a little bit of toe scrape but you're going backward so you don't have to worry about getting your pick stuck in the ice.
  5. kayskates

    kayskates New Member

    Are you having trouble getting into a recognizable sit position or getting up from the spin?

  6. Katarzyna

    Katarzyna Well-Known Member

    Thank you all so much for your tips! :inavoid:

    I’ll now do a lot of squats and lunges as warm-up before skating. :)

    However, if I try the one foot position on the floor it’s the same problem like on the ice: not enough strength leading to the result that I do things with forcing my tendons, which certainly is not good - when my PT once watched it, she said that I’ll rub off my knee cap with it and that I need to develop muscles first. One reason why I stopped trying sit spins on the ice for some while. :(
    (The same goes for gliding on one foot on the ice – I do it the same “forced” way.)
    Similar problem here. When doing squats I tend to put much more weight on my left leg. Either as it`s my lending leg, so probably more muscles on the left leg from that or maybe I still did not rebuilt enough muscles when I too had some troubles with injury on that knee three years ago . But as I now detected this “cheating” habit, I will really focus on putting enough weight on the right leg. ;)

    Doubletoe – thank you for your tips regarding technique. Beside muscle strength that’s certainly another big issue for me. :)
  7. LilJen

    LilJen Reaching out with my hand sensitively

    Another strength-related tip that helps: ABS!!! If you have access to a pull-up bar, try hanging on it and raising your legs together until they're parallel to the floor. Helps a great deal with the hip flexors (which I often pull in edge jumps if they're not in tip-top condition) and holding your free leg and your torso in position.
  8. Doubletoe

    Doubletoe Well-Known Member

    Ah, sounds like you do need to strengthen muscles first, then. Since your left leg and right leg are not equal, it's probably best to use machines that isolate the muscles instead of just doing squats. Leg extensions (to work the quads), leg presses (quads, glutes and a little bit of hamstrings) and leg curls (hamstrings) are the standard ones. Use a weight that will allow you to do 10-12 repetitions. That will keep you from injuring yourself, will allow you to keep correct form and will also be sure not to bulk your muscles up too much.
  9. antmanb

    antmanb Well-Known Member

    I find that my left leg (forward spinning leg) is a lot stronger than the right leg (landing leg) because of the amount of practice I've had trying sitspins, and the complete lack of success I've had getting a backspin means I've not progressed to trying back sits.

    My personal trainer has had me do single leg squats in order to train the right leg up in strength, but that might be difficult if two leg squats are hard on your knees.

    The other exercise he had me do was squats using a big swiss ball against the wall for support. The variations we tried was squatting down on both legs, then picking up one foot slightly off the floor and pushing back up with one, with the ability to put the other foot down for help if necessary, alternating the leg on each repetition. We then also did it the other way round so that at the top of the exercise you try to go down on one foot but put the leg down to assist if needs be then push back up with both legs.