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Thread: Caroline Zhang's 2009-10 season

  1. #1501
    Tanguera feraina's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting the link to her blog, that was really interesting to read!

    Wow, i'm glad she has toffee to walk -- otherwise her day sounds like nothing but skating and homework, and sitting in traffic. Yikes!

  2. #1502
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    Quote Originally Posted by czfan View Post
    Caroline wrote this blog entry on December 9th:

    http://teamusa.att.net/team-usa/athl...takeHintPage=1
    That was a very interesting read. It is good to hear her triple - triples are clean in practice, and that she is working out in the gym to get stronger.

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    I didn't know she was homeschooled, but I guess nowadays most skaters are. I thought upper body strength wasn't really necessary for skating though? (I have read that Joannie wants to get rid of hers)

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    Quote Originally Posted by silverlake22 View Post
    I didn't know she was homeschooled, but I guess nowadays most skaters are. I thought upper body strength wasn't really necessary for skating though? (I have read that Joannie wants to get rid of hers)
    1. Not all elite skaters in the USA are homeschooled, though the ones that go to regular school usually have to get special arrangements made due to their practice, competition, and travel schedules. Elite young Chinese skaters, like other athletes, go to classes in special sports schools structured around their training schedules--the training takes priority and generally their education is not considered up to the level of their peers in regular school. Not sure what other countries' skaters do.

    2. Upper body strength not necessary? Are you kidding me?! Skating requires more upper body strength than you might think, especially to get yourself in the air for jumps. I've heard more than one coach say that the key difference between being able to do the double axel vs. the triple axel is upper body strength---required to get you that extra vertical lift needed to get all the rotations in. One of the key reasons why you see few women do the triple axel compared to the men...women have naturally less upper body strength, and few are willing or able to develop what it takes. Same goes for doing quads.

    Not sure what you mean about Joannie "wanting to get rid of hers."

  5. #1505
    Tanguera feraina's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by silverlake22 View Post
    I didn't know she was homeschooled, but I guess nowadays most skaters are. I thought upper body strength wasn't really necessary for skating though? (I have read that Joannie wants to get rid of hers)
    Technically Caroline is not home-schooled. She does her high school coursework through an online academy. Her local high school is not accommodating toward her skating training schedule. I have a feeling that she takes her education rather seriously.

    I'm happy to hear that she's working out in the gym everyday, and that she's working on her speed and edges. The disappointing results of SC have apparently motivated her to train harder, and hopefully smarter. I really hope that we will see some improvements in these speed and edges by National's. They should help with the jumps, too, if she has more speed going into them and flow out of them, and strength to jump high and rotate fast -- then she wouldn't need to rely on her wonky techniqye to muscle through them as much.

  6. #1506
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    Quote Originally Posted by feraina View Post
    Technically Caroline is not home-schooled. She does her high school coursework through an online academy. Her local high school is not accommodating toward her skating training schedule. I have a feeling that she takes her education rather seriously.

    I'm happy to hear that she's working out in the gym everyday, and that she's working on her speed and edges. The disappointing results of SC have apparently motivated her to train harder, and hopefully smarter. I really hope that we will see some improvements in these speed and edges by National's. They should help with the jumps, too, if she has more speed going into them and flow out of them, and strength to jump high and rotate fast -- then she wouldn't need to rely on her wonky techniqye to muscle through them as much.
    I am keeping my fingers crossed - but I still have this feeling that Caroline needs a coaching change. Maybe after this season.

    She is still the youngest of the contending US Ladies and has some great qualities to her skating.
    Go Caroline and good luck at Nationals!

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigsisjiejie View Post
    2. Upper body strength not necessary? Are you kidding me?! Skating requires more upper body strength than you might think, especially to get yourself in the air for jumps. I've heard more than one coach say that the key difference between being able to do the double axel vs. the triple axel is upper body strength---required to get you that extra vertical lift needed to get all the rotations in. One of the key reasons why you see few women do the triple axel compared to the men...women have naturally less upper body strength, and few are willing or able to develop what it takes. Same goes for doing quads.

    Not sure what you mean about Joannie "wanting to get rid of hers."

    That's really interesting, I had no idea. On tv it just looks like most of the female skaters carry most of their muscle in their legs, not shoulders and arms. (I'm a gymnast so my definition of people with good upper body strength is probably biased). In the 2008 GP season a commentator said that she thought Kimmie was too muscular and that having so much strength was messing up her timing and jumps so after hearing that I assumed it was better to be less muscular above the waist.

    In terms of Joannie, I have just read articles and blogs over the past few years where she has said she does not like her "ripped" upper physique and was trying to undo some of her bulk.

    Skaters like Rachael, Alissa, Caroline, Sasha, Emily Hughes don't have broad shoulders or big arm muscles and they all seem to do the jumps just fine (or did at one time). Maybe these girls are just stronger than they appear.

  8. #1508
    Beliver in Sasha's Perfect Program Tinymavy15's Avatar
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    the key for figure skating (like in dance) is to be strong all over the body, but not bulk up. Stretching after weight training can help with this. Gymnasts and ballet dancers have great upper body strength, but they constantly stretch and watch their diet as not to "look ripped." Girls who I know that do gymnastics (not even that competitively, just to supplement skating) can do as many as 50 push ups without batting an eye.

    Upper body strength as well as core strength is vital in elite level skating, especially for somebody like Caroline who does not skate with a lot of speed and can't rely on momentum to get her up into those jumps.

  9. #1509
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tinymavy15 View Post
    the key for figure skating (like in dance) is to be strong all over the body, but not bulk up. Stretching after weight training can help with this. Gymnasts and ballet dancers have great upper body strength, but they constantly stretch and watch their diet as not to "look ripped." Girls who I know that do gymnastics (not even that competitively, just to supplement skating) can do as many as 50 push ups without batting an eye.

    Upper body strength as well as core strength is vital in elite level skating, especially for somebody like Caroline who does not skate with a lot of speed and can't rely on momentum to get her up into those jumps.
    Some gymnasts don't look ripped (Nastia) other do (Shawn, Chelsie Memmel, Alicia Sacramone). Gymnasts can also afford to have more muscle weight, many weigh 120 or 130 pounds, and you'd be hard pressed to find an elite figure skater weighing 130 pounds. Yuna, Miki, and Mao all weight about 105 pounds and are taller than a lot of gymnasts.

  10. #1510
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    Quote Originally Posted by silverlake22 View Post
    <snip>.

    In terms of Joannie, I have just read articles and blogs over the past few years where she has said she does not like her "ripped" upper physique and was trying to undo some of her bulk.

    Skaters like Rachael, Alissa, Caroline, Sasha, Emily Hughes don't have broad shoulders or big arm muscles and they all seem to do the jumps just fine (or did at one time). Maybe these girls are just stronger than they appear.

    If true, that's too bad. I thought Joannie looked in fabulous physical shape. She's hardly "bulky" like a body builder for crying out loud, she's just nicely and subtly muscled. I don't think her upper body is something that needs fixing.

    With skating, you don't need the raw arm strength (evidenced by bulkiness) to support your weight like you do in gymnastics, or to propel you like a swimmer---but you do need proportionally more arm/upper body strength than say, an elite runner or cyclist would. And the point made by poster above about the core strength is also critical to seamlessly making the whole physics of skating work. Rachael, Alissa, and Emily in her prime certainly had/have enough upper body strength to do what needs to be done. Sasha--I always thought her skating reflected a weakness in above-the-waist strength, and same for Caroline.
    Last edited by bigsisjiejie; 12-28-2009 at 08:39 PM.

  11. #1511
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigsisjiejie View Post
    If true, that's too bad. I thought Joannie looked in fabulous physical shape. She's hardly "bulky" like a body builder for crying out loud, she's just nicely and subtly muscled. I don't think her upper body is something that needs fixing.

    With skating, you don't need the raw arm strength (evidenced by bulkiness) to support your weight like you do in gymnastics, or to propel you like a swimmer---but you do need proportionally more arm/upper body strength than say, an elite runner or cyclist would. And the point made by poster above about the core strength is also critical to seamlessly making the whole physics of skating work. Rachael, Alissa, and Emily in her prime certainly had/have enough upper body strength to do what needs to be done. Sasha--I always thought her skating reflected a weakness in above-the-waist strength, and same for Caroline.

    All very good points, and I agree about Joannie. Her muscles are hot! They aren't even that big just very defined. I like how she is a very athletic skater. Her teammates Amelie and Cynthia are also very muscular but I think it's a good thing. Does anyone know who will be joining Joannie at the Olympics? I feel like it will be Cynthia, but I prefer Amelie. She is a better jumper and won't fall down 4 times in a freeskate.

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    Speaking as someone who has always had shrimpy arm muscles, I admire Joannie's strength very much and hope she doesn't try to become more fragile-looking. I think she looks very feminine, though obviously not in the wispy way that someone like YuNa looks. It's just a different body type. YuNa is almost like a cheetah, or a greyhound, whereas Joannie is like a leopard. Joannie reminds me a lot of Denise Biellmann, who not only jumped well as an eligible skater but famously retained her triples well into her thirties as a professional performer and competitor. She was well known for working out faithfully off-ice. When she toured, she would find the hotel gym and spend quite a bit of time there, every day. Had the best flat stomach muscles around, but never looked too thin.

    Sasha, on the other hand, is naturally rather wispy-looking. If she currently lacks upper body strength and acquires it by some workout program or other, she'll still probably look pretty willowy.

    Another different body type (and splendid jumper) is Yuka Sato, who tends to look soft and rounded, almost boneless, but is plainly both strong and fit.

    Because of how torque works for jumps (Mathman will have to explain it for accuracy!), skaters of both genders surely need lots more upper body strength and core strength than, say, ballerinas. Depending on their body type, they'll either bulk up a bit or not. But they must definitely strengthen.

  13. #1513
    Beliver in Sasha's Perfect Program Tinymavy15's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by silverlake22 View Post
    All very good points, and I agree about Joannie. Her muscles are hot!
    I so agree! She is one of the hottest skating girls out there...and I am sure she kills a bikini top of a evening gown.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigsisjiejie View Post
    I've heard more than one coach say that the key difference between being able to do the double axel vs. the triple axel is upper body strength---required to get you that extra vertical lift needed to get all the rotations in. One of the key reasons why you see few women do the triple axel compared to the men...women have naturally less upper body strength, and few are willing or able to develop what it takes. Same goes for doing quads.
    Actually the biggest difference between men and women simply comes down to physics -- women have a higher body fat percentage (even women like Yu Na who are incredibly skinny) than men, and they tend to store their fat in places like boobs and hips. Both of these lower the speed they can rotate. Body fat percentage doesn't directly, but it's "wasted" weight, and higher weight=slower rotation. Men are heavier, but have a higher ratio of muscle to body weight that more than compensates. If it was simply a matter of arm muscle, Joannie Rochette would have a better chance doing a triple axel than Mao Asada.

  15. #1515
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tinymavy15 View Post
    I so agree! She is one of the hottest skating girls out there...and I am sure she kills a bikini top of a evening gown.
    umm...

    (sorry!)

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