For most Americans, who might watch figure skating once or twice a year, the grueling seven-hour training sessions, countless falls, and warrior-like mental discipline behind it are lost in the face of the glittering costumes and pop music. But behind every seemingly effortless execution of a quadruple jump is a ferocious athleticism. Reigning Olympic figure skating champion, Evan Lysacek, embodies that mix of subtle grace and steely determination. The 27-year-old Chicago native claimed gold in the 2010 Winter Olympics and is in training for the 2014 winter games in Sochi, Russia, where he'll attempt to become the first man to win back-to-back Olympic figure-skating titles in more than half a century. Lysacek was generous enough to reveal nine figure-skating exercises he uses; they maximize overall athleticism no matter what your sport.
Consecutive Broad Jumps
Figure skating requires great explosive power. One way Lysacek trains for his on-ice aerials is by practicing repeated broad jumps on solid ground. Find a space where you have about 20 meters to move in a single direction. Stand with both feet shoulder-width apart. Load into a squat position and launch into a forward jump (as you learned in gym class). "The landing of each jump is the takeoff for the next," says Lysacek. Perform six to 10 long jumps in a row, maintaining an even tempo. Jog back to where you began, and begin again. This is a sure way to quickly elevate your heart-rate – increasing your metabolism and engaging your anaerobic energy system. Perform four sets.
Credit: Photograph by Dustin Snipes