Sometimes when we sprain our wrists or put too much strain on the shoulders, we think, “But I only really need my legs to skate!” While, yes, your legs are what propel you when you skate, all areas of the body have to work together as one instrument to make sure you move efficiently. Catching yourself from a fall, getting yourself back up, and trying to keep balance are just some ways in which the upper body specifically plays a role in skating.
Park, ramp, and bowl skating in particular are very total-body workouts, and thus, upper-body oriented in that you need that upper body strength to catch yourself and pull yourself up. After all, if you slide your way down a vert, carve down into a deep bowl, or stumble out of a flip, you’re going to need to climb back up. Triceps and shoulders are perhaps the most important to strengthen for skatepark activity. Triceps exercises, such as dips and triceps pushups, will help you lift your bodyweight and straighten out the arms in order to hoist yourself up onto the deck of a deep bowl or ramp. Shoulders work in harmony with the triceps in these movements, but also play a part in any tricks that involve hand plants, flips, or inversions.
Standard bodyweight push exercises are what will help here: regular pushups, planks, and crawls (bear crawls, lizard, etc.) to name just a few. More advanced shoulder-related movements, like pull-ups and handstand pushups, will take the shoulder strength a step further if you are comfortable with it. These various movements help control your body when performing tricks like cartwheels, inverts, wall hand plants, deck hand plants, rodeos, and any kind of flips in bowls or on a ramp.
So consider adding these exercises into your routine to improve your park skating performance. Or, if you’re newer to the craft, take it in small bites at a time, doing a little bit of each exercise throughout the week.
New to upper body exercises? Check out our upcoming Challenge, starting on May 3rd! The Sunny Side Upper Body Challenge targets your, you guessed it, upper body to pump up your core strength, shoulder stability, and general tank top vibes. Join us for the Sunny Side Upper Body Challenge, starting on 5/3!