How To Train Like An Olympic Speed Skater

Just as in any sport, even if an athlete is blessed with the genetics, he or she must still be trained. The best in the sport are those who train the hardest and train consistently.

They also have to skate fast – plain and simple. Most serious or competitive speed skaters skate fast in training, train in the weight room, and use track and plyometric work to enhance power, strength, and speed.

Speed skating, training for speed skating, how to train speed skating

Contrary to what you might think while watching the Winter Olympics, much of speed skating training takes place off the ice and on dry land, in both gym and track settings. As I did my research, I noticed a lot of commonalities between track and speed skating training, but I also saw some subtle differences. The speed skating training involved a slightly different (and sport-specific) technical approach, but it still utilized the same means-to-an-end to develop optimal power, explosiveness, endurance, and flexibility. This is great news for those who might not have access to ice, a rink, or a skate training facility. It means you can train like a speed skater anywhere. And I mean anywhere. Tracks, hills, fields, trails, stairs, and just about anywhere else if you use some imagination.
Here are some great exercises to help you train like a speed skater. Please be smart, modify as needed, start slow, and most importantly, focus on technique and progression of movement.

Track and Plyometric Training
Plyometrics are important in increasing dynamic speed, power, and agility (not to mention ankle strength and flexibility). Some of my favorites here are much like the track drills I use with my own athletes and include low-walks, lunges, bounding work, stair work, skaters, single-leg or double-leg hops, jumps, drops, lateral and diagonal drills, and several others along all planes of motion. Jump rope work is also great for ankle strength, speed, and agility, as are ladder drills. So make good use of all of those no matter what your training regimen or sport might be.

Strength Training
Speed skating, training for speed skating, how to train speed skating, olympicsWeight training for speed skaters is not all that different from what you see in other athlete strength programs. The key for skaters is to build up strong legs and core. They also put quite a bit of emphasis on balance. As for the legs, squats of several varieties are important, as are leg extensions and hamstring curls (and so much more). The upper body work is also important and typically includes a tremendous amount of midline work. It is typical to see these athletes utilize some basic strength programming including supersets and dropsets in different capacities and arrangements.

Speed Skating Specific Training
In a sport where the gap between a gold medal and no medal is an average of 1.3% difference in time and the difference between gold and silver is only 3/10 of a percent, you have to be good. Despite all the off-ice training, you need to be comfortable on the ice when you get back on it. To do this athletes simulate and build up the similarities that transfer over.