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January 12, 2010

Get an Olympic Workout

woman figure skating

Photo Credit: Technotr/iStock

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THE EXPERT: Rachael Flatt, 17
It takes a lot of strength and endurance to make spinning across the ice look effortless, and Flatt, who is known for her high-energy skating, has always loved the sport's athletic side — particularly jumps. When she's off the ice, she combines ballet and intense gym workouts. "I have to be strong but fluid."

WOW FACTOR: Flatt is a two-time U.S. silver medalist and 2008 World Junior Champion.

WANNA TRY IT? The first thing you learn in figure skating is how to march in place, which doesn't come naturally to most people. "Bring elbow and knee pads," suggests Flatt.

PRO MOVES: To build endurance, Flatt hits the stationary bike and puts the tension "so high you have to stand to push the pedals." She then decreases the tension and spins on the bike for 20 seconds, then stops for 10, repeating the cycle for four minutes — the length of a skater's long program. "It's essentially like doing another run-through, and it makes me stronger in every respect."

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