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.
V Sit With Twist
Another core-scorcher, this exercise can be done anywhere. Sit on the floor and elevate and straighten your legs to form a V (a yoga mat will reduce pressure on your tailbone if you're uncomfortable). Slowly widen the V by allowing your straight legs to fall toward the floor as you simultaneously lower your back, making sure not to contact the ground. Keep your toes pointed straight. Just before your legs and back touch the floor, crunch back up to narrow the V while rotating your torso to one side. Untwist and return to your starting position. Alternate sides. If you want to keep up with Lysacek, repeat four sets of 25. (Good luck with that.)
Credit: Photograph by Dustin Snipes