T Nation

Skater's Quads

Hey CT

After watching the long track events so far I have a question.

How do the skaters keep their upper body so slim compared to their legs? Minimal upperbody excercises? Whenever you get a glimpse of them training it’s always olympic style, or it seems to me anyways.

Their dieticians and trainers must have fits trying to find the balance. My logic is they have to be slim up top to be in the optimum skating stance etc.

Your probably sick of these questions about leg size since the games started lol. Sorry but I’m curious.

Thanks

It’s no different than rowers backs a gymnasts upper body and small lower body (males anyway).

Yeah I’ve always noticed that as well, there built like pro cyclists. Runway model arms and mass packed legs. Don’t want to be critical but, If there anyting like pro cyclists they probably dope??? But also focus training primarily on the legs I’m sure.

[quote]drewh wrote:
It’s no different than rowers backs a gymnasts upper body and small lower body (males anyway).[/quote]

EXACTLY!

Hours and hours and hours of practice of their sport. In skating you are basically holding the ‘‘knees bent 90 degrees’’ position for a combined tension time of an hour a day in practice, not to mention the powerful leg drive with each stride.

It’s the total volume of tension that eventually leads to adaptation in the quads.

I currently train a female speed skater who has humongous quads but a dismal upper body. Previously she did next to no upper body work (recently their coach accepted some shoulder and back work). Even her lower body strength training was minimal (leg press and cleans twice a week). When you see the size of her quads you’d expect a lot more strength training volume.

NOTE: the above workload was NOT from me; it’s from before she started working with me.

I always smile when people ask how gymnast train to get their body… they think that doing a few chin-ups, dips and blast straps work once or twice a week will get them there.

Gymnast (and rowers, and speed skaters, etc.) have the body they have NOT because of the exercises they do, but mostly because of the amount of total loaded (even if it’s just bodyweight) work they do.

Do chin, dips, bar work and ring work 30 hours a week and you’ll build a huge back, arms and shoulders. Doing it 30-45 minutes a week will NOT give you the same results.

Those ice skaters were born more or less with the genes to have that morphology. They could have been born with long thighs with long muscle bellies, wider hips and the potential to develop a lot of muscle mass in the lower body. Similarly their upper body potential was maybe not as good proportionally.

Combine that with training that brings out that lower body potential while possibly de-emphasizing the upper body and you get the disproportionate bodies you see.

Appreciate the responce guys and from CT.

I imagine they do a shit ton of cycling in the offseason as well which corrct me if I’m wrong puts their legs in the same position in regards to time under tension.

Go Canada!

[quote]drewh wrote:
It’s no different than rowers backs a gymnasts upper body and small lower body (males anyway).[/quote]

During the Renaissance, galley slaves would sometimes escape at port. They were easily found because their unusual back width, even when concealed under clothes, gave them away. Of course, the ones that survived the malnutrition and overwork were genetic superiors; most died, and not all possessed extreme back width, regardless of the obvious overload. It is a mistake to think that doing the movements of a gymnast or sprinter or rower will automatically yield similar bodypart hypertrophy to the athletes who dominate those sports, even at lower levels (who have both the genetics and the workload).

But Thibs is also right about the volume; most guys who imitate thusly, do not perform anything near the relative activity volume of the athletes.

Roy

[quote]bond james bond wrote:
Appreciate the responce guys and from CT.

I imagine they do a shit ton of cycling in the offseason as well which corrct me if I’m wrong puts their legs in the same position in regards to time under tension.

Go Canada!

[/quote]

Clara Hughes did compete in both the winter (speed skating) and summer (street cycling) olympics.

On a sidenote, Canada is doing really poorly this year in speed skating. The young skater I’m training told me that the coach at the national center decided to experiment with a new training approach this year and the athletes were not confident. Talk about a dumb move: doing a training experiment on an olympic year!!!

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:
On a sidenote, Canada is doing really poorly this year in speed skating. The young skater I’m training told me that the coach at the national center decided to experiment with a new training approach this year and the athletes were not confident. Talk about a dumb move: doing a training experiment on an olympic year!!![/quote]

Was it a “contract” year for the coach?..what an ego…dumb shit.

[quote]bond james bond wrote:

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:
On a sidenote, Canada is doing really poorly this year in speed skating. The young skater I’m training told me that the coach at the national center decided to experiment with a new training approach this year and the athletes were not confident. Talk about a dumb move: doing a training experiment on an olympic year!!![/quote]

Was it a “contract” year for the coach?..what an ego…dumb shit.

[/quote]

I’m not sure, I’ll find out. But I know that there has been changes among the coaching staff recently.

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:

[quote]bond james bond wrote:

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:
On a sidenote, Canada is doing really poorly this year in speed skating. The young skater I’m training told me that the coach at the national center decided to experiment with a new training approach this year and the athletes were not confident. Talk about a dumb move: doing a training experiment on an olympic year!!![/quote]

Was it a “contract” year for the coach?..what an ego…dumb shit.

[/quote]

I’m not sure, I’ll find out. But I know that there has been changes among the coaching staff recently.[/quote]
THe TV broadcast last night said that this is the first year the Canadians haven’t been training with skaters from other countries. They have been sequestered with other Canadians only. I guess as a result, they haven’t had the word record type guys as training partners (Shani Davis, Apolo Ohno, etc.) and maybe the training sessions haven’t been as competitive or had the same pace.

Someone had posted this in the GAL forum:

http://www.time.com/...1960715,00.html

Interesting look at skater training. The stair work looks pretty damn intense.

[quote]HG Thrower wrote:

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:

[quote]bond james bond wrote:

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:
On a sidenote, Canada is doing really poorly this year in speed skating. The young skater I’m training told me that the coach at the national center decided to experiment with a new training approach this year and the athletes were not confident. Talk about a dumb move: doing a training experiment on an olympic year!!![/quote]

Was it a “contract” year for the coach?..what an ego…dumb shit.

[/quote]

I’m not sure, I’ll find out. But I know that there has been changes among the coaching staff recently.[/quote]
THe TV broadcast last night said that this is the first year the Canadians haven’t been training with skaters from other countries. They have been sequestered with other Canadians only. I guess as a result, they haven’t had the word record type guys as training partners (Shani Davis, Apolo Ohno, etc.) and maybe the training sessions haven’t been as competitive or had the same pace.[/quote]

Possible. And I’ve heard that the team spirit was actually down prior to the games. Seems like guys who were good friends and veyr tight were starting to be a lot more distant.

The pressure to perform on home soil is immense. You want to do your best to win gold but at the same time you might have to beat your friend as well. I understand they compete against each other all year but maybe being around each other in an olympic year was a downer in some weird way. Not skating with other countrys might have been a big mistake in retrospect.

I mean, at this level everybody is fast as hell…It’s the mental game that matters now imho, who knows.

It’s official…I have become obsessed with the gigantic legs of the womens long track skaters.

My wife can’t wait till those events are over lol. “every lap over and over, Jesus look at the size of those things, the training, the power, the speed, I get it, shudup already”

I’ve been a skinny kid since I hit puberty. I was 135 at 5’10 and around 140 when I started cycling. The most I weighed was around 148. I had bigger and more defined than a lot of athletes I knew that lifted pretty regularly, and everyone says that cardio destroys you :wink:

Sadly, I lost a ton of that mass after a knee overuse injury that I’ve been in the process of rehabbing.

As someone who was competitive on the amateur level, it totally blows me away how much work goes into training for these endurance sports, and even the shorter track stuff. And then there are sports commentators who say that cycling isn’t a sports because all they do is ride their bikes. For a month through 100+ mile stages and mountains day in and day out nonetheless. /rant

The track sprinters are carry MUCH more mass while the endurance cyclists have the definition but are much leaner, as you probably know.

This is a picture of sir chris hoy’s legs.

[quote]ridethecliche wrote:
I’ve been a skinny kid since I hit puberty. I was 135 at 5’10 and around 140 when I started cycling. The most I weighed was around 148. I had bigger and more defined than a lot of athletes I knew that lifted pretty regularly, and everyone says that cardio destroys you :wink:

Sadly, I lost a ton of that mass after a knee overuse injury that I’ve been in the process of rehabbing.

As someone who was competitive on the amateur level, it totally blows me away how much work goes into training for these endurance sports, and even the shorter track stuff. And then there are sports commentators who say that cycling isn’t a sports because all they do is ride their bikes. For a month through 100+ mile stages and mountains day in and day out nonetheless. /rant

The track sprinters are carry MUCH more mass while the endurance cyclists have the definition but are much leaner, as you probably know.

This is a picture of sir chris hoy’s legs.

Those are insane!

To be fair, track cyclists, especially those under the british coaches, lift a LOT. I think most of their lifting is unilateral though, to train the neural systems used while pedaling since you pedal with one leg at a time.

Hoy does a ton of lifting. Squats etc.

Squatting 225 KG

[quote]ridethecliche wrote:
To be fair, track cyclists, especially those under the british coaches, lift a LOT. I think most of their lifting is unilateral though, to train the neural systems used while pedaling since you pedal with one leg at a time.

Hoy does a ton of lifting. Squats etc.

Squatting 225 KG[/quote]

You just answered my next question lol.

[quote]drewh wrote:
It’s no different than rowers backs [/quote]

To be fair:
The vast majority of the power in a rowing stroke comes from the legs and low back. The upper back and arms really just finish the stroke, so if you look closely at higher level rowers they resemble a more balanced version of cyclists or speed skaters…just bigger.
/End pet peeve

It seems our guys came through fairly well the last few days though, no?