On the Ice => Off-Ice Training for Skaters => Topic started by: Query on February 07, 2017, 04:50:42 PM

Title: My recent off-ice training lessons and experience
Post by: Query on February 07, 2017, 04:50:42 PM
I've been reading the "Fitness for Dummies" book. Seems to have reasonably sane advice on exercise and training, though it is not specific to figure skaters. I found the latest edition in the library.

Of course, I'm sure that to some extent, everything relating to training is specific to your particular body. Not surprisingly, people who give training advice, and scientific studies, contradict each other a lot.

Many people say you must train to exhaustion to improve strength or endurance efficiently. And that you should be somewhat sore through part of the next day. I hope I'm not ruining the effect by soaking in a hot tub to reduce the soreness.

From recent experience, I have figured out that if I try to do a circuit of many, many exercises, I don't get enough exercise on any one body part to strength anything. Works better for me to work on 2 or 3 exercises, on different body parts.  And do other exercises on different days.

Also, if I do sets of repetitions long enough to exhaust those muscles, I don't get many total reps in each body part, or much effect, before I get too tired to continue. Better to take shorter rep sets, and keep doing them (in a circuit with other body part exercises), until that sequence exhausts me.

For me, stretching is completely ineffective if I don't warm up by doing other exercises first. And I need to stretch at least 2 times / day, or lose all the effect.

But all that may be specific to my body.

A lot of trainers say that strength training won't do much good until after you are fairly far along on aerobic endurance training. (Perhaps partly because strength and endurance training tend to suppress each other's effectiveness, according to various studies - but maybe that is for elite athletes?) I'm not fit enough in either yet to be sure, though two months of training hard for both didn't do much good. (Or I overtrained? - the Dummies book says if you strength train more than every other day, your muscles don't rebuild, and it is counterproductive, unless you take dangerous drugs.) That's why I'm experimenting with changing stuff around now.

Despite that claim, I just joined the Planet Fitness (gym) $10/month plan, and plan to take a lot of their strength training classes, and talk to the trainer, to figure out how to train for strength more efficiently. Both are no extra charge. But I must quit fairly soon to avoid paying the extra $39 annual fee. :) They have very complicated formulas and procedures for quitting, like a lot of gyms, and they insist on deducting costs from your checking account. The best deal is if you join on their billing date, and quit at least 10 days before 2 months have passed - and save your receipts and copies of your contract and cancellation forms, just in case. They have no aerobics or stretch classes, which is bad. :( But $10/month is cheap as gyms and classes and trainers go. If you continue, that $39/year only brings it to $159 plus one-time $10 sign-up fee - fairly low, if it meets your needs. Most of their equipment is easy to use, fairly adjustable, and instructions on their use is available. (Once in a while they offer a special deal. Like, around January, 1, 2017, joining was free (I had to pay $10 :( ). Then, until Feb 1, it was $1. Around Christmas and one other time, they offer $99/year prepaid plans. I think you can switch to prepaid from the month-to-month plan.) They have WiFi, and if you bring 3.5 mm jack headphones, you can also watch their TVs while using some of the machines. Policies vary somewhat location-to-location. (E.g., some ban cell phones, my club just says you can't talk while using the equipment.)

BTW, if you price shop gyms, count driving costs and times. E.g., the IRS estimates that the total costs of driving are about $0.51/mile (I think).

Many gyms have minimum age limits - not a problem for me, but is for some skaters.

Incidentally, the athletic trainers at most gyms have only gone through something like a 20 or 30 hour certification class. (What is more, there are a lot of different certification bodies, and they have different certifications for strength training, group exercise instruction, etc.) Not comparable to an ATC, who must take many college courses within the context of a related subject 4 year undergraduate education, or to a PT, which is a 2 year graduate level degree (usually). I think those both take thousands of hours to complete, if you count homework and possibly related clinical experience.
Title: Re: My recent off-ice training lessons and experience
Post by: Query on February 14, 2017, 10:07:43 PM
I tried skipping the soak in the hot tub, after strength training. Ughh. For 3 days, I was too sore to do more trainnig.

Another day, the hot tub was closed. :( So I tried something trainers have mentioned - I drank a high protein drink afterwords. (30 grams of protein - considering that the recommended adult male daily intake is 68 grams, for a reference person heavier than me, that's a lot. Especially since I'm on a diabetic diet which is is already a little high in protein.) It mostly worked - I only got a little sore.

Maybe I should do both, when I can.

BTW, the trainer at my Planet Fitness is quite good at strength training - and I'm ashamed to admit that taking a class helps push me to do it. He's not so good at stretches - I'll stick with the stretch techniques learned elsewhere.

I would eventually like to transition to strength and cardio exercises that don't require expensive gym machines.
Title: Re: My recent off-ice training lessons and experience
Post by: Query on February 26, 2017, 07:18:03 PM
BTW, interval training for aerobics (also called cardio) works really well.

And here are links to some free workout videos:

I think I am going to transition to home gym training, instead of paid gyms. The highest cost of the paid gyms is driving to get there...
Title: Re: My recent off-ice training lessons and experience
Post by: Query on February 27, 2017, 12:59:45 PM
Incidentally, I tried a trampoline that I have access to. Interesting. Very low impact jumping (but I'm using a big trampoline - 12 - 15' diameter, which might change that). But I felt nervous, for now - was afraid to jump as high as I would from the floor.

Exercise for men vs women; young vs old

One of the biggest things I've noticed is that the exercise rhythms - reps and etc., # of day/week giving optimal results, etc., cardio training techniques, slow vs fast strength training - that work best for me, are not always the same as what particular trainers advocate. I.E., that I need to learn by experiment what works for ME.

In the same vein:

I wondered whether exercise videos aimed at women were good for me, a man.

Many men want to want to look like body builders, but I am more interested in endurance sports. So I thought that women's workouts might make more sense. But according to sources, there are supposed to be anatomical and physiological differences in how we can and should exercise.

I did some web searches:

His and Hers Fitness; When it comes to working out, men and women are from different planets (
Not much substance, despite the source, but mentions different squat position for healthy training.

Strength Training for Women; How Women Lift and Train Differently Than Men (

Some of what he says rings true. E.g., if I attend a strength training class with women (most exercise classes are completely or mostly female), I tire out very quickly. That's partly because I am in poor shape. But if what he and some others below say is true, maybe I should be exercising using different types of routines.

Men Vs Women’s Strength Training Programs (

Strong Vs Toned: The Truth About Gender-Specific Workouts (

9 Reasons why women should not train like men (

Heart responds differently to exercise in men vs. women (

Should Men Eat Before Exercise and Women Eat After? (

Also whether exercise videos aimed at young people were good for me; I am not young.
Many sources talk about the joint breakdown in the old, requiring different exercises. That hasn't happened for me. But there may be other differences. I haven't found a good source yet on this, but:

Decade-by-decade guide to exercise (
(not an authoritative source)