Every elite athlete knows the importance of a well-planned off-season. But as skating seasons seem to stretch longer, and start earlier than ever, it’s easy to wonder what and when an off-season is, and what it should be used for.
So what exactly defines the off-season? According to Coachupnation.com’s Andrew Kurzawski*, he describes the off-season as a time period where an athlete needs to focus on specific performance goals, such as muscle increase, skill improvement, and mental toughness. “This requires an athlete to dedicate a significant portion of the week to the weight room/performance training setting... it is a time for athletes to recover from injuries, but it is most importantly a time for athletes to improve their athletic and mental performance.”
For the Northernettes, based out of Minneapolis/St.Paul, Minnesota, they have a trainer once a week where they focus on cardio, strength and flexibility. The girls also do cardio on their own throughout the week. How do they use off-ice to help develop their team? Coach Alana shared her thoughts;
"High-level synchronized skating is a lot more physically demanding than most people realize. It is very athletic and it takes great individual strength, flexibility and endurance for success as a team on the ice. Our off-ice training is designed to help our skaters be faster and more powerful on the ice. We focus on strengthening the core, legs, and upper body so each skater can hold their own on the ice. [In addition, we focus on] flexibility for greater extension and line, and on endurance so that we can skate our programs strong. We put great value in our team workouts as it helps our athletes push each other and helps keep each other accountable."
Watch the video of Northernette’s workout for some inspiration!
Keep an eye out for our next blog post, featuring athlete Olivia Dalén (@oliviadalen) from Team Boomerang (@teamboomerangswe), a senior team in Sweden, and Team Boomerang’s Strength and Conditioning Coach from Viscus AB, Simon Meander (@prestationsportalen). If you know someone who should be featured, let us know by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Use the #theother90 to view all synchro-related on and off season training, or to share your behind-the-scenes hard work with the world.
*Andrew Kurzawski collegiate basketball / strength and conditioning coach for Penn State University, founder of Gym Rat Performance, and Certified Personal Trainer for high school, college and professional level athletes)