One of the UK’s top off-ice specialists, Kelly Buddery, is back as our guest blogger! Today, she’s sharing her top tips for stretching to help the spreadeagle position. Remember to 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 spread eagle is a great transitional move, often used as an entry for axel type jumps, by the male skater in lifts in both pairs and ice dance, and in synchro skating for pairs elements and moves in the field. Generally harder on outside than inside edges, other variations of “spread eagle” type moves are the “Ina Bauer”, “Cantilever” and “Besti squat”, all which will also benefit from the stretches below.

I have heard countless times “oh I can’t do a spread my hips don’t turn out that way”, and then the skater never bothers to work on the position, having written it off as “impossible”. Some skaters will attempt a spread eagle every now and again- maybe whilst trying different moves at a skate camp, but generally don’t ever really practise them.

So here’s the thing-naturally the body is not designed for one foot to face one direction and the other in the opposite direction!! So for the majority of people the spread eagle position will take quite a lot of work…and I don’t mean trying it once every few months!

I agree that there will be some skaters that due to injury, or problems with their hips, may never be able to do this position comfortably. However I definitely think a lot more skaters could have a great spread eagle if they believe it is achievable for them, and are prepared to put the work in.

 So how do you do that- see below!! (plus  5minutes practise on ice every single time you skate)

Let me know how you go on

Love Kelly x

Guidelines for Flexibility 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.

Hold static positions for 20-30 seconds. Rest & repeat x 3.

1// Frog Stretch

Keep the knees in line with the hips. Perform both with feet together and  feet wide (90 degree angle at the knee) Then also in a high sitting position-aiming the knees as wide as possible.  

2// Seated Wide Leg Stretch

Flex the feet and turn the legs out from the hips- aiming the little toes to the floor (pic 1) Reach forward with a straight back, do not let the hips roll in, or the big toes turn down towards the floor (pic 2).

3// Seated Butterfly Stretch

Insides of the feet together, draw the heels in towards you, ease the knees out. Keep the back straight.

4// Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch

Elevate the back knee with a yoga block or similar. Keep the back foot flexed and turned out. Bend front knee into a deep lunge, keeping hips square and press the back hip forward. Also execute with the front foot turned out as far as possible.

5// Lying Frog Stretch

Draw heels in towards you and ease the knees out. As with the kneeling position, perform with both feet together and also feet wide. Keep the feet flexed and little toes aimed towards the floor in the wide position.

6// Standing Wall Bent Leg Spread

Back against the wall, turn the feet out, bend the knees to 90 degrees and press the knees towards the wall. If you have a barre or something to hold on to, you can also execute this stretch facing into the wall, pressing the hips forward and using the wall to ease the knees outwards.

7// Lying Straight Leg Spread

With the feet flexed and turned out, engage the glute muscles and lift the hips, bringing the weight onto the upper back and feet. Press the weight towards the little toes, aiming for “an outside edge”, then lower. Repeat x 10, hold up on the last one for 15 seconds. Rest and repeat.

8// Standing Straight Leg Spread

Same position as lying, resting the shoulders against the wall, squeeze the glute muscles and push the hips forward. Again aim to get the weight on the outsides of the feet, on to an “outside edge”

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.

FACEBOOK: Kelly Sheffield

INSTAGRAM: Kellysheffield_off_iceschool