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Fitness Skating and Training Forum Discussions about on-skate and off-skate training, hydration, sports nutrition, weight loss, injuries, sports medicine, and other topics related to training and physical fitness for skaters.

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Old March 18th, 2019, 01:00 PM   #1
Dazzler
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Default Muscles on arms

I started skating at the start of this year (I could always skate but in the last 20 years probably averaged a skate a year, if that) and have fairly quickly become kind of obsessed. I try to do a couple of 5-10k outdoor skates a week in inlines but it's hard as the weather stinks at the moment and I rink skate in quads 2 or 3 times a week.

I was seriously out of shape when I started. A healthy weight but no real muscle tone or definition and no stamina for cardio so I was excited to take up a hobby with such an array of health benefits. It didn't take too long to notice a real improvement in my stamina. Just little things like not being out of breath if I had to run a short distance, more obvious power in my legs, etc. But at the weekend I looked in the mirror when I was getting dressed and my arms haven't looked this good since I did serious martial arts training in my mid-20s. I've read all the articles that state skating even works the arms but I really was not expecting this sort of obvious improvement this quickly. It's genuinely amazing!

I have post-pregnancy injuries that prevent me from doing a lot of exercises like push-ups, sit-ups, cross-fit and many types of weight lifting, so I'm beyond delighted in the physical improvements skating is bringing for me. I wonder if it's the rink skating or inline skating is more responsible for the arm improvements. I think I engage my arms more inline skating, especially during sprints because I can't just glide about on the rougher ground but there is absolutely no way I've done enough outdoor skating yet to have made this kind of difference to my arms. So, even though I feel no noticeable arm engagement at the rink, they are obviously doing a lot of work that I'm not feeling. (And to top it off, I expected to have put on weight thanks to the muscle gain but I've actually lost a few pounds.) It seems way too good to be true that I'm just having excessive amounts of fun while experiencing this kind of gain.
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Old March 18th, 2019, 05:52 PM   #2
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Curious. Arms don't generally do much in skating. This is especially true with speed and trail skating where arms mostly rest on the sides with hands behind. Occasionally, you will see someone post here about using poles when skating as a means of giving their arms something to do. My arms are still twigs after 20 years of heavy skating.

Do you do something unusual with your arms when you skate?
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Old March 18th, 2019, 09:16 PM   #3
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When I skate with skates on my hands....

To be serious, many skaters, especially recreation skaters, until they are about to hit the floor, use very little upper body movement.

However, if employed on a regular basis, it will build muscle. Just look at some videos of any professional skating element to see arms in use.
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Old March 19th, 2019, 11:21 AM   #4
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Do you do something unusual with your arms when you skate?
I don't know. I make an effort to pump my arms when I inline skate. Kind of similar to the way Bill Stoppard describes. In the rink I often use my arms like crazy when dancing. I like figure skating stuff like arabesques and I'm working on managing a smooth transition from shoot the duck into an arabesque and I'm starting spinning which I guess utilise my arms. And for the first few weeks I was half holding my son up while he learned to skate but he hasn't needed my help in about 6 weeks, so I doubt it's that. I'm seeing a real improvement in my arm muscles though, particularly my biceps and I'd definitely like to keep it up.
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Old March 22nd, 2019, 01:45 AM   #5
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during very hard acceleration... when you are making your foot/leg speed increase greatly... your arm swing speed must keep pace with your legs to keep you counterbalanced. (based on short track ice). If your arms cannot swing fast enough your arms can over-rule your leg speed.

This is where 'arm muscles' (or perhaps more correct 'arm swing speed') make a difference.
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Old March 22nd, 2019, 04:31 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dazzler View Post
I wonder if it's the rink skating or inline skating is more responsible for the arm improvements.
I'm guessing that since your overall activity level has improved your stamina that you are just doing more routine stuff than before. This combined with burning fat may have revealed some definition that was "padded" before the weight loss (of fat). Muscle weighs more than fat so you can have a weight gain but still be burning up lots of body fat.

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It seems way too good to be true that I'm just having excessive amounts of fun while experiencing this kind of gain.
I have been skating 54 years now. By my calculations I have been on skates roughly 3 years total if you add up all the hours, rinks and outdoors. I have skated 3000+ miles in one year. Some here can nearly double that amount. Yeah...it's FUN! Don't tell anybody. Tell EVERYBODY!!

Cheers, and welcome!
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Old March 22nd, 2019, 05:18 AM   #7
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A weight lifter I met years back used to go to the gym multiple times a week. He got injured in his upper body and could only do legs, situps sets for a while.


In his downtime from most of the upper body training, he focused a lot more on legs. Doing so actually accelerated his upper body growth oddly enough. Your legs help to generate upper body strength and to some degree, some believe it helps with testosterone.


I skate hard when I get to at the rink, lot a of high intensity short bursts. I never bench press anything and dont push on anything with more than 50 lbs of force at my job. However I can easily bench 185 lbs(my body weight)4 times. And can rep 135 a little over 20 times.

I think it's more that hard reflex during a sprint or abrupt changes in direction which is enticing the muscle growth. That super hard actuation of your arm muscles for a very brief period combined with the legs usage helping your overall body physique.

There's a few other people that run the same machine as me and do the same work I do and some that are younger, and their arms are NO WHERE close to the appearance of mine.

Just googled it, apparently doing squats alot helps biceps significantly.
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Old March 27th, 2019, 04:01 AM   #8
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I haven't been skating too much lately. Just once a week. But I have been bike riding, a recumbent, a lot. At least an hour or two every day. What I noticed at skating is my arms feeling stronger, and I was using them a lot while skating. I too have not been doing any upper body work, as I have an injured left arm that precludes any pushing or pulling motions. But I have been hammering my thighs on the bike rides. It has also made my skate night a lot more fun having thighs with a little oomph to them.
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Old March 27th, 2019, 10:03 AM   #9
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But I have been hammering my thighs on the bike rides. It has also made my skate night a lot more fun having thighs with a little oomph to them.
I have been wondering about that. I bought an exercise bike last year and used it twice the first week and it's been used to hang towels on ever since. If I thought using it would build muscles that would improve my skating I think I'd use it more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mort
I think it's more that hard reflex during a sprint or abrupt changes in direction which is enticing the muscle growth. That super hard actuation of your arm muscles for a very brief period combined with the legs usage helping your overall body physique
That's what I've been thinking. I've tried paying attention when skating and I think I can feel the effort in my arms at those points. I don't particularly want my arms to get overly muscular and built, but the definition and increased muscle I'm seeing is a pleasant surprise. I was at the playground with my son at the weekend and for the first time in probably decades I grabbed onto the monkey bars and made it the whole way across. I was actually holding my phone between my legs as I was just trying to demonstrate to my son how to do it and was under no illusion that I'd actually make it across. Yet I did it almost entirely on upper body strength as I couldn't really engage my legs without losing my phone. It can only be down to skating as it's the only exercise I do.
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Old March 28th, 2019, 05:15 AM   #10
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It really does help. It also has a large impact on core strength, and the harder and faster you skate, stop, accelerate, juke etc the better it gets.

Core fitness, flexibility, leg strength, and as a added bonus arms firm up. My arms are very defined for not lifting weights, and a lot of that has to come from skating. Forearms being cracked out is from my job though lol
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Old March 28th, 2019, 07:03 AM   #11
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Quote:
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I have been wondering about that. I bought an exercise bike last year and used it twice the first week and it's been used to hang towels on ever since. If I thought using it would build muscles that would improve my skating I think I'd use it more.
Yeah. It should. I also have an exercise bike. Well, it is an Airdyne. The bike with the push pull handles and a fan for resistance. That thing is actually pretty hard when compared to a bike on one of those rear wheel trainers. I mean, I can easily do a cadence of 80 or more on a bike attached to the trainer. On the airdyne, 60 is pretty hard. I think I can do 90 for a short period. Like an all out effort. That is actually what I like that machine for. Doing HIIT workout.
High Intensity Interval Training. I'll warm up, then go as hard as I can for 30 seconds, rest a couple minutes, then do two more intervals. Once my arm finally heals up, I will do that some.

You should try and use the bike some. Maybe even do some high speed hard pedaling for some set period of time. It can really get your blood pumping, and get your legs feeling stronger for skating.
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