Now that you are ready to begin, it’s important to understand just how inline skating is going to affect your body. Knowing which muscles are going to be at work prepares you for the exercise and soreness that you are going to be experiencing in the area.
This artilcle will help you to understand the changes to your body that inline skating is going to directly influence. As your weight rolls away, these are the muscles that will become the most toned. You can expect to be using your hip flexors, quadriceps, abductors, adductors, and gastrocnemius primarily.
Inline skating is a unique exercise in terms of mechanical movement. Traditional sports will move the body in an up/down motion: inline skating will move the body in a side-to-side motion, also known as “lateral movement.” Inline skating uses a horizontal displacement of your center of gravity to get you moving.
When inline skating, you will be using the muscles of your lower body. You will be using the same muscles that you use to run and to cycle, but you will be moving them in a different way.
Running and cycling involve stretching, flexing, and extending your lower body muscles in a vertical way. When inline skating, you will do the same thing, but will also engage the hip adductors and abductors. This means that you will be moving your legs in and out horizontally. This changes the nature of your movement and works your muscles in a way that they are unaccustomed to.
Using your hip adductors and abductors contributes to moving laterally. Aerobic exercises do not typically offer this kind of lateral training. Especially in typical cardiovascular sports and activities, your hip adductors and abductors are left out of training. As you glide, you can expect to engage your thighs and your glutes.
You will also strengthen your lower back as you glide in your bent over semi-squat. You may see that this semi-squat is similar to the stance you hold on a bicycle, but consider that there are no handles to support your weight. All of the support is held by your legs, abdominals, and lower back. The repetitive movement of inline skating works to constantly strengthen all of the muscles that are in use.
While repetitive, you will not be damaging your bones and joints as you would with running or jogging. This means that while you can expect some soreness in your muscles (which can be alleviated through proper stretching, warm-up, and cool-down), you will not be experiencing constant joint pain as you would by engaging in high-impact cardiovascular activities. Studies show that inline skating provides much of the same benefits as running and cycling, but without the drawbacks of these activities. Inline skating will specifically train your body by working the following muscles:
The quadriceps, or “quads” is one of the easiest muscle groups to work. This group of muscles is located just at the top of the knee. It is the leanest, toughest muscle group in the body. As you glide in a constant semi-squat, these muscles are constantly engaged. As they work and grow, they stabilize the knee area. These muscles are likely to be the first that start to gain definition as you lose weight. Defined quadriceps lead to an overall muscular, slim look to the leg.
The hamstrings, or “hammies” can be a difficult muscle group to work, and are often overlooked or even forgotten. Hamstrings complement the quadriceps in working to stabilize your knee area. They are located just to the back of the thigh. The muscles start beneath your gluteus maximus (behind the hip bone) and stretch down to attach just above and behind your knee. Toning this area will lead to a slim, defined thigh and contribute to a defined buttocks area. Exercising and toning your hamstrings will give you that taut, lifted look coveted by most weight-loss seekers.
Your hip flexors, another forgotten pair of muscles, are located at the top and front of your hips, just beneath your abdominal muscles. Your hip flexors are an important group to exercise. They are engaged when you are bringing your thighs toward your abdominals (as in with running, cycling, skating, or reverse crunches).
When your hip flexors are ignored, they can grow too tight, causing your pelvis to tilt forward in an unnatural way. This pelvic tilt can cause lower back pain. By exercising your hip flexors (as with inline skating) you can both alleviate lower back pain and strengthen the abdominal muscles. As you tone this area, you can improve posture, abdominal definition, and overall stance.
Your adductors are the muscles located in the inner thigh. Have you ever coveted the famous Instagram “thigh gap”? Working this group of muscles is how you achieve one. Luckily for you, your adductors are constantly engaged with inline skating. The lateral movement of inline skating means that you are constantly moving your legs out and in, out and in.
Your adductors are responsible for the “in” portion of this movement. Because your adductors are almost only exclusively worked by lateral movement, they are often ignored when completing typical cardiovascular exercise. You can expect this muscle group to be sore after working so hard: but don’t worry, a good warm-up and cool-down can alleviate these symptoms! As you begin to lose weight, this area will come into higher definition, contributing to your stance and leg appearance.
The reverse of your adductors, these muscles are located to the outside of the thigh. As adductors are used to move your legs inward, these muscles are used when you move your legs outward. Less ignored than adductors, these muscles are frequently used in activities like running or cycling, but do not get the tailored exercise they need.
Inline skating puts more pressure on these muscles as you move laterally, giving them a better workout and contributing to extensive growth and definition. These muscles also contribute to the stabilization of the knees and hips, to the way that you carry yourself, and to leg appearance. Toning these muscles will contribute to a wonderful slim, fit look to the leg, giving you the appearance that you crave.
Your gastrocnemius is a muscle group in your calf area. Your stance while gliding and inline skating will keep these muscles constantly engaged. The movement of stopping (tilting your foot) will also give these muscles a little extra workout. Calf muscles are quick and easy to define, and you will certainly notice a difference in these muscles within a few workouts. Toned calves contribute to your stance and appearance. They will make your legs look stronger, more trim, and more attractive.
Who doesn’t want to tone their glutes? Because this area seems to absorb more fat than almost anywhere else on the body, toning up your glutes can be a challenge. Inline skating is the perfect exercise, because you are constantly holding yourself in a squatting position. How many times have you heard that squats will tone up your glutes? Well, inline skating streamlines this exercise and keeps your glutes working! Toning your glutes will lend to overall appearance, and will make you look great!
These lower-body muscle groups are the ones that will typically be in use constantly as you engage in inline skating. However, these will not be the only muscle groups that are working.
While these muscle groups take on the majority of the weight, you will also be engaging secondary muscle groups by maintaining a proper stance. As you move, you will engage muscle groups in your trunk, including your abdominals, your erector spinae (lower back), and your obliques (the muscles to the side of your abdomen).
Your abdominals, or “abs” are a complex group of muscles that are necessary for good posture and appearance. This group can be especially difficult to tone, as a layer of tummy fat frequently hides them from view. As you skate, this layer of fat will quickly melt away, revealing what is underneath.
Using your stance to constantly hold your trunk steady, while pumping your legs, will engage your abdominal muscles and tone them over time. Inline skating can help you form a flat stomach, and will eventually give you definition and tone in this area.
Lower Back (erector spinae)
Your erector spinae are a group of muscles located on your back, against your spine and directly above your hips and glutes. While this area typically does not need extra toning, strengthening this area will give you a much better posture. Posture is an oft-overlooked area of weight loss.
You may have lost a large amount of weight, but remaining in a bent-over, curved-spinal posture will offset this loss. Working your lower back by maintaining a proper stance while skating will give you the muscles needed to stand tall!
This muscle group, located to the side of your abdominals, is another oft-overlooked group of muscles. As your body moves from side to side, this group of muscles is engaged. Like all muscles in the trunk of your body, working this group of muscles enables you to enhance your posture and the way that you carry yourself. Toning this group will trim inches off of your waist! Keeping toned obliques will contribute to an overall slim appearance and a better posture.
Remember that inline skating is a full body exercise! While the muscle groups listed here are the groups that will be primarily engaged as you roll away your weight, you will be engaging the majority of your body as you skate. You can expect to see weight loss in all areas of your body, an increase in muscle tone, and overall satisfaction with your appearance!
Before you get started, remember that you want to eliminate soreness as much as possible. Our next guide will discuss the best ways to stretch, warm up, and cool down to eliminate muscle soreness and pain.