Rollerblading is an extreme sport that involves its share of challenges. It takes time to master all the tricks and pick up speed. Only after months of practice and conviction does a rollerblader gets the carefree stride of a professional.
It involves efforts to perfect the stance and maintain balance even rolling on a horizontal plane let alone moving downhill or uphill. Once you perfect your skills rolling on a straight pavement, you can get to the next level of fun by rollerblading downhill or uphill.
Some rollerbladers, mostly amateurs, often question if it is even possible to rollerblade uphill. Indeed, it is but again it is never easy. Skating uphill is an extremely tricky proposition. It is difficult to move uphill as well as moving back down the hill.
Whenever you are rollerblading uphill you need to point your toes forming a V-shape and take short quick strides to maintain your momentum as you move forward. Again, when you move back downhill, you cannot fly down recklessly unless you want to harm yourself or others around you. You need to control your speed going downhill as well as moving uphill to maintain the stride.
Tips to Rollerblade Uphill
Two aspects that play an important role in rollerblading uphill are your technical skills and your fitness level. No matter if you are a rookie in rollerblading or a professional of the field, you will be moving more slowly than your stride on the flat pavement or outdoor rink. The following tips can help you move uphill more effectively [source].
- Drop a Gear – The phrase primarily represents your stance and position of your feet while moving uphill. You need to turn your toes towards the outside so as to create a herringbone pattern with your rollerblades. This positioning of feet will make it easier for you to move uphill.
- Bend Your Knees – Bending your knees a little more than usual can help you in maintaining balance and will empower you to move uphill more efficiently.
- Take Short Stride With High Cadence – Short strides with your toes turned out can make it easy to move uphill. You need to take many small but powerful pushes to create more powerful pulses every second that can help you get to the top of the hill.
- Swing Your Arms – A swinging motion of your arms can help you generate better output. However, you need to have the utmost stamina to continue your stride moving uphill with your arms swinging for long. Again, you need to move your arms in a specific fashion as if you are plucking apples from a tree in front and throwing them horizontally behind you as you move forward.
- Watch Your Technique – Moving uphill will require more refined rollerblading techniques than you apply while rolling on the flat pavements. Make sure to use your hips for every stride and always make back your feet to your centreline. Glide less to save a forward push.
- Mind Your Fitness – Rollerblading uphill does not only require you to practice better skating techniques but also needs you to get fit. You can improve your fitness and power by doing repeated uphill sprints. Skating uphill is never the same as rollerblading on the flat. You may prefer training to skate fast on horizontal surfaces but in order to excel at hills, you should train on them.
Rollerblading uphill requires you to maintain balance, stance, and speed. To start rollerblading uphill you need to maintain your speed as you reach the bottom of the hill. Take big powerful gorilla steps to gain your strides. Once you hit the slope, you should drop a gear and pace up your cadence depending on the slope of the hill.
Try to maintain your pace for the entire hill until you reach the top. Once you transition on the hilltop, you may need to switch back to bigger powerful strides when you accelerate over the hilltop.
Many skaters wonder about how to maintain their stance rolling up extremely steep hills. At such a steep slope, you can make yourself tack back and forth as you move up the hill making the distance towards the top of the hill much longer. However, it effectively reduces the apparent slope. You should try this trick with crossovers.
The next big question is how to roll back down to the bottom of the hill from the top. You must keep your skates in control so that you can stop at will while going down again.
Do not be reluctant and negligent while moving downhills. If you have any doubts, prefer not to skate and simply walk down your way.
Many beginner skaters try to move up and down the hills, however, they do not realize that rollerblading uphill and downhill require special skills to skate up and down safely on the slopes.
It is never easy to move downhill or uphill without proper training. More importantly, it is about maintaining speed, perfecting stance, and mastering the stopping techniques.
Training for Rollerblading Uphill
Rollerblading uphill requires you to prepare well before you ever make such an attempt. You should train well with a proper mix of great routine workouts [source]. The best training for uphill skating can be done by working out off the beaten path. Not only will this workout get you into your top shape but also help reduce calories and fat during the workout as well as for hours after.
Athletes like runners are familiar with the phrase that says hill repeats. This is amongst the best workouts for the runners. It is a little hard but can make you faster, leaner, and definitely fitter for any sport that involves physical exertion. You can train yourself anywhere you feel comfortable such as a paved hill, big parks in the neighborhood, country roads, or the neighborhood streets.
It is best to start with a medium-sized hill. You can skate up such a medium hill in about 20 to 65 seconds. This distance of up to 5 km uphill is good for the half marathon runners as it combines the advantages of short intervals with pressurizing local muscular endurance and stressing the tolerance of lactic acid.
Such an exercise can be an energy source for both the aerobic and anaerobic workout. After this exercise, you will experience a build-up of lactate in blood as you move further up the hill.
The key to moving uphill is to ensure that it is either steep enough or long enough so that your energies are totally spent by the time you reach the top and you need time to recover your strength.
For an average skater, you should start with a hill that takes about 60 to 90 seconds to reach the top. For better training, you can rollerblade a shorter hill on some days and add more repeats. On the other says, you can rollerblade a longer hill for about 2-3mins with fewer repeats.
Your pace will clearly slow down as you move up the hill but you should try to reach the top as fast as you can. You may feel a burning sensation in your thighs, bums, and lungs at the beginning but once you reach the top you will be amazed by your strength and stamina. With regular training, you can improve substantially.
Remember, once you reach the top of the hill engage your brakes and you can comfortably skate down as well. Do not forget to wear your safety gear. If you have any doubts in your mind, here is a sample workout plan to rollerblade uphill:
- Do warm-up skating for 5 to 8 minute
- Rollerblade uphill for 1.5 to 2 mins as hard as you possibly can
- Skate back downhill. Catch your breath for a while before you get ready to roll up the hill again
- Repeat 4 to 6 hill climbs
- After every climb up and roll down session take a break for 5 minutes to prepare yourself and cool down your skates
It is always a good idea to try hills of different lengths. You can alternatively climb short hills some weeks, medium and long hills during some other. Each of these uphill strides will provide different benefits as a skater. Some of the key benefits of skating uphill include:
- Helps in developing power and muscular elasticity
- Improves stride frequency as well as distance covered
- Helps in developing coordination by encouraging the proper cooperation of arms during the driving phase as well as the feet during the support phase
- Helps in developing control and stabilizing as well as improving speed
- Helps in maximizing speed and developing strength
- Promotes strength endurance
- Improves lactate tolerance
For the fitness freaks, skating uphill can do wonders by inducing drastic weight loss and providing amazing toning effects.