You know them. You perform them diligently and regularly on request and some of you achieve this with a minimal amount of complaining and consternation. Others take the swearing and shouting approach. Either method is acceptable as long as they are done to the best of your ability, with strict form, controlled tempo and postural and breathing awareness throughout.

Why though?

The name obviously makes reference to the lateral motion as performed by……skaters. Lateral motion occurs in the frontal plane (left and right) which is a plane of motion you move through without even thinking about it as part of your daily life. Raising your arms out to the side while dressing, stepping to your left or right to get in your car etc are all frontal plane movements. Herein lies the issue with many forms of traditional exercise; It rarely incorporates more than one plane of motion.

Think about it.

Generally, most exercise prescription has you moving in the sagittal plane which is front to back motion. Running, cycling, bench pressing, squatting, front raises, curls and crunches are all sagittal plane motions. Nothing inherently wrong with any of this. However, ineffective and imbalanced training regimes overload this plane of motion with little consideration of the others. You freely move and work in all three planes of motion (the third being the Transverse Plane, rotational movement) in an interchangeable fashion yet you only train your body in one?

The net result:

Dysfunctional movement patterns, poor neural control of your muscles and pronounced asymmetries. The skate will often expose which (if any) of these dysfunctions apply to you. Classic issues we are looking for when asking you to skate:

Knee caving inwards. This a valgus collapse and is indicative of weak Gluteus medius the muscle on the outside and towards the back of your working hip. When strong, it will keep the knee in slight abduction (tracking a little outwards instead of folding inwards) ensuring the knee aligns with the toes below and the hip above, forming a straight line.

Sit deeper in your squat forcing your weight towards your heel to recruit your glute maximus (bum) and consciously drive the knee slightly outwards shifting weight to the edge of the foot ensuring glute medius activation. Can’t sit any deeper? Then it’s likely your calves are inhibited/tight. Try this; roll a golf ball under your foot from just behind the ball of the foot to the heel. Do this all the time. At your desk, watching tv. Do it relentlessly. See and feel the difference.

Lateral hip shift. Your body weight travels over the gap with your carriage and even causes you to rotate at the spine, turning the shoulders in the direction of the skate. Generally, as a result of tight adductors and weak internal oblique’s.

Focus on your planks, side planks, pikes and wood chops in class. Try pushing the inside of the knee away with your elbow when you are in your hip flexor stretch on your carriage to release the adductors (inner thigh).

Collapsing forward at the waist. We’ve all done it, you’re getting knackered and your squat has turned into you just leaning on one leg with one hip higher than the other, your shoulders hunched, upper back rounded and usually your face screwed up. Your middle traps (between the shoulder blades), rhomboid( below the traps) and serratus interior (sides of ribcage) are likely weak with opposing muscle group (pectorals, anterior deltoids, anterior core) over stimulated, shortened and tight. Stop, reset, breathe and do the following.

Solution :
Work hard on all your pulling motions. Think cable rows (seated, kneeling standing) shoulder circles, dumbbell rows and constantly reassessing your shoulder position at any given moment. They should sit naturally below your ears without forcing them back.

This is one of our most regular clients demonstrating ideal set up, positioning and execution of the skate. Use your mirrors (your eyes should be up and head neutral anyway) and if it doesn’t look like this then take the steps above to correct.