BRIDGING THE GAP
RESEARCH and PRACTICALITY
GENERALLY SPEAKING,THE MOST impressive legs in all of sport belong to long-track speed skaters. Think American gold-medalists Dan Jansen and Eric Heiden from the 1980s and '90s. (Short-track skaters like Apolo Anton Ohno have smaller quads since their sport depends more on mobility than sheer power.)
"In long-track skating, there are repetitive concentric-eccentric contractions happening in the quads through a full range of motion," notes Eric Sternlicht, PhD., owner of the exercise and nutrition consulting firm Simply Fit (simplyfit.com) in Orange, California, and trainer to competitive speed skaters, "It's a sustained power movement that produces a high force application to the quads for a longer period than you get with traditional weightlifting or other activities, which stimulates hypertrophy."
Not all of these athletes' quad development is a result of on-ice training. Elite skaters also hit the weights to enhance lower-body strength, power and endurance. Sternlicht highly reccommends front squats, which target the quads more than the glutes. He also suggests using a slide board to improve lateral movement and wall sits for endurance, both of which can be done at home.
SPEED SKATER'S WORKOUT
|Slide Board/ Lateral Movement Training(warm-up)||1||
|Barbell Front Squat(warm-up)||2||10-12|
|Barbell Front Squat||3||3-8 (*1)|
|Walking Barbell Lunge||3||8-12 per leg|
|Wall Sit||3||30 sec. (*2)|
*1, For developing pure strength, use heavy weights and normal-speed reps; for developing power, use light weight (20% - 50% of what you'd use for strength training) and explode up as fast as possible on the concentric phase.
*2, From here, work up to doing just one set for 5-10 minutes.