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Ape Skating

We’ve all been told to “skate a little lower”. Usually I think I’m low but then I see a photo or video of myself and can’t believe how I’m only bent at the waist and it looks like my legs are practically straight!

Of course, 90 degrees is the textbook knee bend angle if you truly want to skate like you’re on fire, but that’s difficult to maintain for a whole marathon.

When I ape skate, I make a game of slapping the ground with flat palms on my arm backswing. I’m teaching my body what it’s like to stay in a deep crouch, which is so important in order to produce high velocity skate travel. The more I ape skate, the more I can lower my overall knee bend angle.

Practice the extreme! You’ll need to squat so low that your ribcage literally digs in to your thigh meat. That takes a lot of pressure off your leg muscles, kind of like pushing with your forearms on the armrest of a chair.

  • Keep your focus up as best as possible. This will keep your weight back on your heels where it needs to be.
  • Try to stay consistently low. Don’t stand up and sit down in between palm slaps. It’s a waste of energy to bob up and down between strokes.

  • Carve with your heels each push and extend you leg fully straight. Your direction of push should be sideways, and not behind your body.

  • A lateral push will ensure that your skate wheels remain in contact with the ground for the maximum possible time. Keep the power to the pavement!

Ape skating will make you aerodynamic and give you a longer push, allowing your body to speak the language of speedskating with greater fluency than ever before!