By: Gabriella DeBono
On the junior grand-prix circuit this season, Alexandra Trusova notably landed two quadruple jumps in competition. She is the first woman to ever do so¬– and she’s just thirteen years old.
What is this generation of skaters doing differently than past champions? For starters, they’re daring to raise the bar higher than it’s ever been before, but their training is highly focused on two key components of successful jumps: the take off and air position. Today we’ll be talking about the take-off.
Coordination, strength, timing, and rhythm are all key components of a good take-off. Every skater personalizes jumping techniques in their favour, but what remains the same across the board is the goal to achieve height and momentum. Sport specific training, like the Flexafit program, helps you achieve this goal by practicing exercises that simulate an on-ice take-off. This not only target specific muscles groups that help you explode into the air, but it strengthens the neural pathways in your brain that “create” muscle memory (you can check out our previous post about what muscle memory is here).
Here are a few exercises from the Flexafit program that you can try at home to train your body and mind to jump higher and clean up those jumps!
1. Half turn squat jump with a three-second hold
This exercise trains the “load and explode” of vertical jumps. Holding the “loading” phase of the jump mimics the control and stability needed on a take-off edge. It also trains your quadriceps eccentrically (stresses them while they are lengthening) which is an effective way to build strength. Exploding into the air after holding the squat position trains the muscles to fire quickly– just like they need to during jumps and combinations!
2. Double/single leg box jumps
Similar to the previous exercise, double and single leg box jumps train the specific muscle coordination patterns and neural pathways needed for successful jumping techniques. These exercises should be done with control and the supervision of a trainer to ensure proper technique and alignment.