The U.S. Figure Skating Association emphasizes correct training techniques in their stretching philosophies.
Figure skaters always begin a jump and rotate in double axels in the same manner, constantly landing on the same leg. This day to day training and continual repetition of the same movement patterns can lead to a muscular imbalance which can result in tight and stiff muscles. This loss of mobility and muscular imbalance will increase chances of injury.
Quick Tips from the US Figure Skating Association:
Using Proper Technique is key in flexibility training along with warming up the muscles and joints.
Here are some suggested warm-up activities: Pilates Hundred, jogging in place, jumping rope, jumping jacks. Any continuous rhythmic movement that increases respiration, heart rate, and blood flow to the muscles to be stretched is helpful.
As you stretch, concentrate on the area of your body that is being stretched in order to develop body awareness. Muscles will then relax and lengthen during your stretching.
Hold your stretch for 15 to 30 seconds, release slightly, and repeat the stretch three to five times. As you hold the stretch, the tension in the muscle should ease a bit. At this time you can ease a bit further into the stretch to lengthen the muscle a little more.
- Inhale at the beginning of the stretch and exhale going into the stretch position. Breathe slowly and relax while holding the stretch.