How Do You Strengthen Your Feet For Skating?

Skating, whether on ice or roller skates, demands strong feet for optimal performance and injury prevention. By focusing on increasing foot strength and ankle stability, you can improve control, balance, speed and overall skating technique.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the importance of foot strength in skating and share essential exercises to reinforce your feet for better edge work.

Quick Takeaways

  • Strong feet are crucial for optimal performance and injury prevention in skating, as they provide better control, balance, power, and speed.
  • Exercises such as calf raises, toe curls, ankle circles, resistance band exercises, balance board drills and jump rope exercises can help strengthen your feet for skating by increasing foot strength and ankle stability.
  • To enhance the effectiveness of foot strengthening exercises: warm up properly before starting the routine to prevent injuries; gradually increase intensity over time; wear properly fitted skates to avoid potential foot discomfort or injury.

The Importance Of Strong Feet For Skating

Strong feet are vital for skating as they provide better control and balance, increased power and speed, and prevent injuries.

Better Control And Balance On Skates

Strengthening your feet for skating is essential to achieving better control and balance while you glide, turn, and perform various maneuvers on the ice or pavement. With strong feet and ankles, you’ll find it easier to maintain your center of gravity as you shift your weight from one leg to the other – a skill that’s particularly crucial in figure skating techniques like edge work.

Let me share an interesting anecdote from my own experience: I once struggled with regularly wobbling out of alignment during turns as my outward ankles were not providing adequate support.

After incorporating lower body strength exercises targeting my calves and ankles into my routine, I noticed a considerable improvement in stability which ultimately boosted my confidence on skates.

Increased Power And Speed

One of the key benefits of strengthening your feet for skating is an increase in power and speed. When you have stronger foot muscles, you’re able to generate more force with each stride, achieving higher speeds on the ice or roller rink.

This is especially important for hockey players who need explosive speed to get past defenders and score goals.

In addition, when you have strong ankles and feet, you’ll be able to maintain better control over your skates while performing complex maneuvers such as cross-overs or pivots.

This allows you to move more efficiently around the rink and make sharper turns without losing speed.

Injury Prevention

As with any physical activity, injury prevention is crucial when it comes to skating. Strengthening the muscles in your feet and ankles can help prevent sprains, strains, and other injuries that can occur while skating.

Many skaters find that incorporating foot exercises into their off-ice training helps improve overall ankle stability and prevent common injuries like twisted ankles or shin splints.

One key factor in staying injury-free while skating is wearing properly fitted skates. Ill-fitting skates can cause blisters or even more serious injuries like stress fractures.

Exercises To Strengthen Your Feet For Skating

To strengthen your feet for skating, try calf raises, toe curls, ankle circles, resistance band exercises, balance board exercises and jump rope exercises.

Calf Raises

Calf raises are a classic exercise that can help strengthen your feet for skating. They specifically target the calf muscles and can improve ankle stability. Here is how to do them properly:

  1. Stand with your feet hip – width apart, keeping your back straight.
  2. Rise up onto the balls of your feet, lifting your heels off the ground.
  3. Pause for a second at the top, then slowly lower your heels back down.
  4. Repeat for 3 sets of 10 – 15 reps.

Calf raises can be done on flat ground or on an elevated surface like a step or curb to increase difficulty. They are also easily customizable by adding weights or doing single-leg versions.

Strengthening your calves through exercises like calf raises not only helps with balance and control on skates but also contributes to overall leg strength and power.

Toe Curls

Toe curls are a simple yet effective exercise for strengthening the muscles in your feet. They can be done almost anywhere, and all you need is a small towel or cloth. Here’s how to do them:

  1. Start by sitting on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you.
  2. Place the towel under your toes, with your heels on the ground.
  3. Use your toes to grip onto the towel and pull it towards you.
  4. Hold for a few seconds, then release and repeat.
  5. Aim for 3 sets of 10 – 15 repetitions.

Toe curls can help improve overall foot strength and flexibility, which is crucial for skating. Stronger toe muscles can also lead to more power and control when pushing off on skates or performing jumps and spins in figure skating. Additionally, toe curls can prevent common injuries such as plantar fasciitis or Achilles improving the stability of your foot and ankle joints. So don’t forget to incorporate them into your foot strengthening routine!

Ankle Circles

I’ve found ankle circles to be an effective exercise for strengthening ankle stability, improving flexibility, and reducing the risk of injury. Here’s how to perform this move:

  1. Sit on a chair or bench with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Lift your left foot off the ground and rotate your ankle clockwise 10 times.
  3. Switch direction and rotate your ankle counterclockwise 10 times.
  4. Repeat with your right foot.

Ankle circles can also be done standing up or while lying down. This simple exercise doesn’t require any equipment and can easily be done at home or at the rink to improve your skating performance.

Resistance Band Exercises

Resistance band exercises are a great way to strengthen the muscles in your feet and ankles. Here are some exercises you can do with resistance bands:

  1. Ankle Flexion: Wrap the band around the ball of your foot, holding onto both ends of the band. Gently pull back on the band while flexing your foot towards your body.
  2. Ankle Extension: Wrap the band around a sturdy object or hold it in your hand. Place the band under the ball of your foot and push your foot away from your body.
  3. Foot Inversion: Sit on a chair with one leg crossed over the other, loop a resistance band around the outside of your foot, pull your toes toward you and turn them inward.
  4. Foot Eversion: Loop a resistance band around a sturdy object, place it under one foot, turn toes outward and pull gently against resistance.

Resistance band exercises can increase lower body strength and stability, improve balance, and help prevent injuries when skating or performing other sports that require quick changes of direction and balance training. By incorporating these exercises into your routine, you’ll develop stronger feet for skating and enjoy better control on skates!

Balance Board Exercises

One way to effectively improve foot and ankle strength for skating is by incorporating balance board exercises into your training routine. These exercises aim to enhance stability, proprioception, and coordination, which are all important factors in maintaining balance on skates. Here are some balance board exercises that can strengthen your feet for skating:

  • Single-Leg Balance: Stand on one leg on the balance board and hold the position for 30 seconds before switching legs. Repeat this exercise for four sets.
  • Squats with Balance Board: Stand on top of the balance board with both feet shoulder-width apart. Slowly bend your knees to perform a squat while keeping the board level. Perform 3 sets of 12 reps
  • Lateral Shuffles with Balance Board: Place one foot on top of the balance board and keep it level while shuffling sideways to the left and right. Perform for 30 seconds before switching sides.
  • Forward and Backward Hops: Hop forward and backward on one foot while standing on top of the balance board. Do this exercise for three sets of ten reps.

Incorporating these exercises into your skating training routine will help you increase ankle stability, improve your edge work control, prevent injuries, and ultimately achieve better overall performance.

Jump Rope Exercises

Jump rope exercises are an excellent way to strengthen the feet for skating. They are a high-impact activity that engages multiple muscles in the legs and feet, helping to improve strength, endurance, and agility. Here are some jump rope exercises to incorporate into your foot strengthening routine:

  1. Basic jumps: Jump with both feet together over the rope, maintaining a steady pace.
  2. High knees: Jump while bringing your knees up towards your chest.
  3. Single-leg jumps: Alternate jumping on one foot while keeping the other foot off the ground.
  4. Double unders: Jump twice for every turn of the rope, increasing speed and power.
  5. Side swings: Swing the jump rope side to side while jumping over it, engaging muscles in the outer ankles.

By incorporating jump rope exercises into your skating training regime, you can improve foot speed, endurance, and stability necessary for mastering edge work and skating techniques. It’s important to start slowly and gradually increase intensity to prevent injury while also ensuring proper warm-ups before performing these exercises.

Tips For Incorporating Foot Strengthening Exercises Into Your Skating Routine

Warm up properly before starting your foot strengthening exercises, gradually increase the intensity, and incorporate them into your off-ice training. Also, wear properly fitted skates, stretch before and after skating, and work with a skating coach to ensure proper technique.

Warm Up Properly

Before any physical activity, it’s essential to warm up your body properly. This is particularly important for skaters who rely heavily on their feet and ankles. A proper warm-up routine can help prevent injuries and improve performance.

For example, you can start with ankle circles, then move on to some leg swings and lunges. Another way to warm up is by doing some light cardio exercises such as jumping jacks or jogging in place for a few minutes.

Remember, proper technique and form are critical when performing foot-strengthening exercises.

Gradually Increase Intensity

I’ve learned that it’s important to gradually increase the intensity of foot strengthening exercises for skating. This helps prevent injury and ensures optimal results.

As you progress, you can try incorporating plyometric exercises or agility training to improve your foot speed and endurance. It’s also important to listen to your body and avoid over-training.

Strengthening your feet for skating takes time but is well worth the effort.

Incorporate Into Your Off-Ice Training

I often incorporate foot and ankle exercises into my off-ice training routine as part of my overall skating preparation. This helps me to not only strengthen the muscles in my feet, but also improve balance and stability on skates.

For example, I like to start with simple beginner level exercises such as calf raises and work my way up gradually to more advanced techniques like plyometric drills.

Off-ice training is a vital aspect of any skater’s regimen because it allows you to build strength and endurance over time without putting too much strain on your joints or risking injury.

Wear Properly Fitted Skates

It is crucial to wear properly fitted skates when skating to prevent injury and improve performance. Ill-fitting skates can result in blisters, calluses, and even more severe injuries like sprains or fractures.

For example, hockey skates tend to have a narrower fit than figure skates as they need to provide maximum support for quick turns and stops. Additionally, wearing thick socks with well-cushioned soles can help reduce pressure on your feet while skating.

Stretch Before And After Skating

I always make sure to stretch properly before and after skating. This helps to prevent injuries and keeps my muscles flexible. Before I start skating, I spend a few minutes doing some dynamic stretching exercises, like lunges or leg swings, to warm up my muscles and increase blood flow.

Stretching is especially important for skaters because it can improve balance and flexibility in the ankles and feet. Stable and mobile ankles are essential for mastering edge work on skates.

Incorporating stretching before and after your skating sessions can help you avoid foot or ankle pain, improve flexibility, enhance endurance conditioning while speeding recovery time between workouts.

Work With A Skating Coach

Working with a skating coach can be incredibly beneficial for improving foot and ankle strength. A coach can help identify any weaknesses in your technique or form, as well as create a personalized training plan to target specific areas that need improvement.

In addition to providing feedback on your form and technique, a skating coach can also offer valuable advice on equipment selection and maintenance. Properly fitted skates are essential for optimal performance and minimizing the risk of injury.

Coaches may also recommend exercises off the ice that can complement your skating routine, such as plyometric drills or balance training.

Can Strengthening Your Feet for Skating Also Improve Posture?

Strengthening your feet for skating can have positive benefits for posture. The dynamic movements and balance required in skating can help improve the stability and alignment of your feet and ankles, which can ultimately have a positive impact on the overall posture of your body.


In conclusion, strong feet are essential for any skater looking to improve their technique and prevent injuries. Incorporating exercises such as calf raises, toe curls, ankle circles, resistance band exercises, and balance board exercises can help you build foot strength and stability.

It’s important to warm up properly before skating and gradually increase the intensity of your foot strengthening exercises over time. Don’t forget to wear properly fitted skates, stretch before and after skating, work with a coach if possible, and listen to your body to ensure safe training practices.

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