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.
"Everyone knows a basic bicep curl, but for me, it is very important to monitor the technique so as to not build any bulk" Lysacek says. To shy away from hypertrophy (muscle-size) training, reduce the reps and up the weight. This builds strength without bulk.
Start with a 25-pound dumbbell in each hand by your sides. Slowly curl up for three seconds. Hold for a second at the peak, and then slowly lower down for three seconds. Do not allow your elbows to move or swing your arms. "I don't go for muscle pumping. Instead, controlled movement," says Lysacek. Try three sets of 4 reps each.
Credit: Photograph by Dustin Snipes