Both beginner skaters and more advanced skaters who have shed their recreational skates and moved to lower cut speed skates, have the tendency to glide on their inside edge. This can happen more on one skate than the other but it is a VERY common problem which detracts from your speed and efficiency.
The easiest way to find out if you have this tendency is to film yourself skating (ideally from the front). Once you know if this is an issue for you, go about fixing it with the 3 following focus points. When repeatedly practiced in order these steps will help you will find your centre edge. If you are not pronating on an inside edge but your glide is on a centre edge, these exercises will assist you in being able to glide on outside edges (which is a must for every speed skater).
1. Stride with your skates close together
Standing with your skates a foot apart will put you on your inside edges. Bring your knees together so they touch in the middle whenever you change leg. You do not want your skates to touch, but bring them together as close as possible. You will gain inches in your stride by starting with your skates close together and it will facilitate you properly transferring your weight from one skate to the other.
2. Fully bend support knee for glide
Cover the toes of your support leg (the one you are gliding on) with the front of your knee cap and have your weight on the ball of that foot as the other leg pushes out for your stroke and then regroups. Step 3 will only be possible if you have bent the support knee enough. This is THE fundamental reason why most inside edge pronation happens. Without the knee being fully bent, that leg cannot support all your weight, so pronation is the result.
More knee bend = Better ability to balance on 1 leg.
3. Control the direction of the support knee in order to choose your gliding edge.
Once the support knee is bent correctly you can consciously move that knee towards the little toes about 1-3 cm (or until the edge has shifted from inside edge to centre edge). Do this statically to feel the subtle movement of the knee changing and influencing the edge beneath it.
Try practicing these support knee exercises in isolation in the Lunge Position and in the Toe Roll position. They will further enhance your ability to glide on your centre edge. You will then naturally progress to gliding on your outside edge.
Lunge Position exercise – Centre edge
The Lunge Position is the widest part of your stroke and your weight distribution should be 80% on the support skate and 20% on the pushing leg. You can pause in this position in order to train aspects of your stride. Focus on creating a centre edge on the support leg by bending the support knee and steering it towards your little toes. Look down to check if your support skate is on the centre edge. Hold this position for several meters in a straight line, then change sides and practice the other leg.
These two photos below show the difference in width between a Beginner skater’s Lunge position and more advanced skaters slightly wider Lunge:
Focus on the front knee being fully bent and make sure the knee cap is covering the toes of that foot. Your aim is to hit a clean centre edge and balance there for several metres in a straight line.
All stability and speed relies on your comfort and ability to balance on the centre edge, so do train this properly and give yourself some time to get it right. It can take months for new speed skaters to eradicate the inside edge from their skating, but usually because they are trying to create the edge (step 3) without the knee bend (step 2).Whatever your skating level it may take weeks of training to master this essential skill.
Do a ‘Before’ and ‘After’ video to see what difference conscious training can make.
Skate normally and film your edges, then try these training exercises for a few weeks, film the results and let me know how you get on.