We’re thrilled this month to have one of the UK’s top off-ice specialists, Kelly Buddery, sharing her top tips to help improve your basic spiral position.  This is the second in a series of off-ice stretches that Kelly is sharing with us (see the first one here) so work hard, practice a little bit every day and make sure you share your progress with us.  Before and after pictures are really helpful to see how far you’ve come and Kelly loves to see them!

Over to you Kelly ….

Hi guys, Kelly here! 

A good basic spiral on both legs is pretty much a skating essential, from skate UK up to senior level. A  beautiful move to watch (think Sasha Cohen), widely used in programmes, exhibitions and ice shows, the camel is also of course one of the 3 basic spin positions. Whether you are trying to get your leg high enough for your Level  1 (or 3) Field Moves, using a spiral as part of a Choreo sequence, or trying for all 3 positions in a CoSp (combination spin)*, the spiral/camel position is a “must have” for all levels of skater.

*A CoSp without all 3 basic positions will receive a “V”, which reduces the value of the spin regardless of the level. The camel is generally the hardest of the basic spin positions to achieve.

 I often have skaters asking how to improve the height on their spirals, so here are some tips below.

First establish what is the issue- flexibility, strength or both! Try a spiral off-ice holding onto a wall/barre. Get a partner to see if they can (gently) lift your leg higher.

If they can easily lift your leg without resistance then you need to work more on strength in the position

If your leg doesn’t move and you can feel a strong stretch in the hamstring of the standing leg, then you need to work on flexibility. Obviously the more you work on both areas the better your spirals will be!!

I often say in class that there is no point having amazing flexibility if you don’t have the strength to execute positions well on the ice, aside from the fact you are much more likely to injure yourself if you have flexible joints but no stability or strength to support them.

Remember as well as trying the off ice exercises below, spend 5 minutes of every practise session working on spirals on both legs, in a straight line and on inside and outside edges. Let me know how you go on. Happy spiralling!!!

Love Kelly x

Guidelines for Flexibility and Strength training:

  • Warm up thoroughly before performing any stretches.
  • Work to your own ability, progress at your own pace; increase your range of movement gradually. Never force yourself into any position.
  • Work on improving flexibility after on-ice training or as a separate session, not during the warm up before on ice work.
  • It is essential that you are also following a comprehensive strengthening programme alongside your flexibility training.
  • If you feel dizzy, have chest pains, palpitations, or feel unusually tired during any exercise then stop immediately. If these symptoms continue for more than a couple of minutes then seek urgent medical attention.

Position-Specific Strengthening Exercises:

Try 1-2 sets of 10 reps per exercise

  • Laying leg raise, with or without resistance band. Try to relax upper body and lift from the lower back, using the bottom muscles.  Keep the legs straight and hips square to the floor. 2 x 10 each leg. Also can be performed both legs together
  • Upper body lifts. Laying on front, keep legs relaxed, lift and lower the upper body with control
  • Placing the arms by the head  will increase the difficulty

Combinations of the 2 exercises – using the upper body and lower body

Try spirals with light ankle weights, lift with control, hold for 5 seconds, lower with control

Flexibility Exercises

All static positions 20-30 second hold, repeat x 2-3 times

  • Seated hamstring stretch. Keep the knees straight and reach forward from the hips. Flexing the feet will increase the stretch in the calves
  • Laying hamstring stretch. Keep the back flat and hips square to the ceiling, ease the leg towards you keeping it as straight as possible.
  • Standing hamstring stretch. Keep feet together and legs straight, reach forward towards the floor. As you progress pull the body down onto the legs.

About Kelly:

Kelly has been iceSheffield’s resident off-ice coach since the venue opened in 2003, and is one of the UK’s leading off-ice specialists. Over the past 16 years she has worked with over 30 British champions and a wide range of skaters, from Beginner to European & World Championship level.

Kelly teaches skate camps and masterclasses at many rinks throughout the UK and has moderated for the past 5 years at the British Ice Skating (BIS) coaching convention. She is also off-ice coach for the BIS Development Squad.

With a background in figure and show skating, Kelly has 25 years’ experience performing both as a chorus and principal skater and working as choreographer and director for ice shows around the world. She also teaches on the ice, specialising in performance and choreography.

Qualifications include:

  • Personal Trainer
  • Advanced Flexibility Instructor
  • Sports Strength & Conditioning Coach
  • Pilates Instructor
  • Exercise to Music/Cardio & Resistance/Advanced Gym Instructor
  • Core Stability Coach
  • Fitness Instructing-Exercise & Physical Activity for Children
  • Inclusive Fitness Industry Instructor
  • NISA Off-Ice Coach
  • NISA Level 2 Coach

Kelly does train off-ice by Skype but she’s currently full with a waiting list and so isn’t taking any more clients on at the moment.  If you live local to Sheffield (or are visiting for social or competitive reasons) and would like to join any of Kelly’s in house classes then she’d love to see you – just contact her for times, availability and costs.