In this off-ice training video, Janice Morgan demonstrates 3 great dynamic stretching and warm-up exercises. Performed both before and after skating, they can improve performance and prevent injury.
Janice begins begins this 2 minute, 36 second lesson by having her students balance on their left leg while grabbing the right leg with the right arm, bending the knee and pulling it up and behind the back. The right knee should be facing downward toward the floor as the skaters rise up onto the big toe of the free standing leg. Repeating this exercise first on one leg and then the other creates a nice stretch for critical muscles. As her skaters attempt this exercise, Janice reminds them to be sure to keep the bended knee facing the floor and to not let it drift out to the side.
Janice calls the next exercise the “inchworm” or “caterpillar”. Based on the “Upward Dog” Yoga position, Janice begins by laying face down on the floor with feet, legs and thighs touching the floor surface. She then straightens her front arms, raising her head, abdomen and torso off of the floor and creating a nice concave arch in her back. She then transitions into the “Downward Dog” position by pushing off the floor with her toes so that only her toes and hands remain touching the floor. Her head is facing downward, her arms and legs are straight and she raises her hips and buttocks as high into the air as possible.
Next, while keeping her legs straight, Janice scoots her toes toward her hands as far as she is able and then “walks” each arm forward until she is once again in the “Upward Dog” position. Repeating this exercise provides a great stretch for muscles that have been hard at work on the ice.
The last exercise is called called, “Elbow to Instep”. Beginning in a forward lunge position Janice takes the arm on the same side as the front leg, bends it upward at the elbow and reaches down so that her elbow is touching the instep of her front foot. As she lowers her elbow, her back leg straightens and extends behind her. She straightens her other arm and places her hand on the floor to provide support and balance. Janice then straightens her elbow and places her hand on the floor near the outside of the front foot. She straightens her front leg so that now all four limbs are straightened and touching the floor, providing another great stretch. Janice then asks her students to walk their back leg through to the front and repeat the exercise on the opposite sides of their bodies. Janice emphasizes that keeping both the front and back feet aligned with one another provides the maximum amount of stretch.
For students who want an even greater degree of stretch, Janice suggests flexing the toes of the front leg upward when they reach the part of the exercise where both front and back legs are straight.