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.
You will need two boxes: one at least a foot higher than the other. Place the boxes approximately 3 feet apart. Stand on top of the high box. Step off of the high box onto the floor and rebound up onto the smaller box. "Spend as little time on the floor as possible. The goal is a quick rebound and powerful explosion back up," says Lysacek. When this becomes easy, switch the boxes so that you step from the small box onto the floor and rebound onto the high box. Remember to switch your "rebound" legs after each set of six. If you want to train like Lysacek, add a weight belt or vest. Do three sets for each leg.
Credit: Photograph by Dustin Snipes