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What is Dry Land Skating in Inline Skating?

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dry land figure skating

Ice skater, Delcy Palk, does dry land figure skating on an air field while stationed in Iraq.

Photo © Delcy Palk

Definition: Dry land skating is an alternate name for inline skating or rollerblading. Inline skating originally developed in Scandinavia or Northern Europe as a dry land substitute for ice skating when warm weather or other availability issues prevented traditional ice skating activities.

The term "dry land skating" is used today by many ice figure, speed and hockey skaters who use comparable inline skate equipment from the same discipline to cross train when ice is not available. Inline dry land skating is also used as a cross-training activity to help snow skiers.

Dry land skating is different from dry land training which does not use actual skates in any way.

Also Known As: inline skating, rollerblading, blading

Dry Land Figure Skating  

The birth of inline skating has been traced to Scandinavia or Northern Europe as a transportation method in the 17th century, which became a stand-in for ice skates during stage performances and on other dry land surfaces. Ice skating instructors were hired by roller rinks in the 1880s to teach skating basics to beginners and figure skating maneuvers to advanced skaters on the new Plimpton quad skates. Now, inline skating has made a comeback with improved technology as an off-ice or dry land figure skating alternative for ice figure skaters.

Dry Land Speed Skating

In, ice speed skating some young skaters combine a fitness program with another aerobic sport off-season. Dry land inline speed skating and other specific dry land training activities that mimic ice skating like slide board exercises are preferred. Inline speed skating uses the same muscle groups that are needed for ice speed skating. But, since there is a difference in the techniques, a skater and the trainer or coach should decide which to use to most benefit the skater.

Dry Land Hockey Skating      

Inline hockey is known as a recreational or competitive sport, but it can also become a dry land cross-training option for ice hockey players during the off-season. In fact, dry land hockey skating was the inspiration for Scott and Brennan Olson's Rollerblade revolution

Today, dry land hockey skatig can help a skater's overall hockey performance. Ice hockey focuses on speed and power, but inline hockey focuses on puck possession. Playing a combination of dry land inline and ice hockey helps a skater by:

  • Combining speed, power and possession skills learned from both gives a player the advantages of two worlds.
  • Important hockey fundamentals like backward skating skills can be maintained off-season.
  • Improving overall stamina and fitness is another benefit. Each player can practice skating and build aerobic and leg strength.  

Many NHL players have played dry land inline hockey for the cross training benefits. But, when the ice hockey season draws near, serious pro or amateur ice hockey players discontinue dry land cross training to focus on the slightly different ice skating techniques.

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