I just want to start this post by saying how grateful I am for the amazing response we have received from all of you on our last few posts. It means the world to have all of your support and I hope I don’t disappoint with the second (and hopefully final) part to physiology 101.

Find out what you need to do to make it through your routines without running out of breath


Photography by Laurelle Jones

In part 1, we covered the energy systems and what it meant for skaters. I concluded that since the longest routine in our sport is under 5 minutes and most other routines are around 2-3min mark, we predominantly use the anaerobic/lactic acid energy system. In order to get more stamina for routines, we must overload that system. We do this through interval training to simulate a routine.

So let’s take a 2 minute free skating routine. It’s not full on all the time, you have some spins and jumps and footwork. In between, you’re skating. Think of these periods as your recovery time (even when they don’t feel like they are). Freedances, believe it or not, do have some periods that aren’t as intense on your cardiovascular system as others. They may be intense in other ways but they’re not as hard to breathe through. Some may disagree but the outcome is the same, your cardio training must go up and down just like a routine. There are 2 ways to do this:

1) Put your skates on and do back to back routines. Yes even long programmes. Yes with the music. As I said before, the best way to prepare your body for skating, is to actually skate. Start off doing 1 routine, rest 5 minutes, do it again. Then next week try for 3 routines. Maybe the week after, reduce your rest time so you do another routine as soon as you catch your breath.

This type of training should be started pretty much as soon as you’re confident with the steps/elements in your routine. For example, once I finish my freedance, I’ll leave myself a week or 2 to settle into it then I will attempt to do back to back routines. But right now, I don’t have a finished freedance and I know some of you may not either. So what to do in the mean time?

2) Interval training or HIIT. High intensity interval training will definitely get you moving through that routine with ease. I recommend starting with this and the swap to back to back routines.

HIIT workouts are simple: You have to work as hard as you can for a certain amount of time and then rest for a certain amount of time. Over time, the aim is to decrease the rest interval and increase the work interval. The workouts are displayed as ratios. For example 30:20 x10 means you work for 30 seconds then rest for 20 seconds for 10 rounds. In total, the workout would be 10 minutes long.

During the work interval, you must be doing an aerobic exercise (something that gets you puffed) in order to work the heart and lungs and improve your cardiovascular fitness.

Exercises that you could do during the work interval:

Burpees, lunges, jump lunges, squats, push ups, sprints on treadmill, uphill sprints, uphill fast walks, fast walking, jump squats, high knees, sprints on a bike/stationery bike. Or a combination of all of these.This is what makes HIIT so much fun, it doesn’t have to be one or the other, it can be many things or all of them or just 1, YOU CHOOSEaccording to your fitness level. The rest interval can be a complete stop or you can keep going but slower.

But with infinite possibilities, where to start? I suggest with something simple like bike sprints vs biking slowly/not at all or fast walking vs slow walking and then as you get fitter maybe try other exercises like jump squats to switch it up. You can use running instead of cycling if you but I do not recommend. With the amount of knee injuries that skaters suffer from, I suggest to keep away from running to avoid any extra unnecessary load on your joints. Cycling is a perfect way to recover from/prevent knee injuries. Running is the exact opposite.

Here is a 12 week example of ratios that you could use in your own training. The beauty of HIIT is how fast, easy to administer and effective it is.


This programme is something I would follow and I only have one routine (although I would apply this to compulsory dances as well). Please contact me if you are interested in a programme suited to you for a small price.

HIIT has an incredible amount of benefits. So many that I can’t go into them in this post or you’ll be sitting here reading forever. However, if you want to know more, let me know and I’ll do another post all about it! Or even better, do your own research, ask me questions, get interested!

Before I finish, let me clarify, this is mainly training for your cardiovascular system (heart and lungs). If you’re smart, you could switch up the exercises to develop power and strength as well. The exercises I listed above can do that. These are the exercises I’ve included in my 12 week programmes for international and national level skaters that will be coming out soon! I’m all about effective and efficient workouts. No time wasters with mediocre results.

It’s all about 100% effort for a short period of time.

Let’s keep that in mind as we move forward…