How Do You Skate Backwards?

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Skating is an excellent way to incorporate exercise into your lifestyle while having lots of fun!

Skating burns lots of calories, builds and tones muscles, improves cardiovascular health and boosts endorphins. It’s also a low-impact workout so it’s safer on your joints than running.

However, you’ll need to take some precautions so you don’t injure yourself in other ways (more on this later). 

It can be quite difficult to keep your balance when you first learn to skate, but after lots of practise, you’ll be a pro at rolling around on wheels!

You’ll probably then want to move on to learning new tricks and moves on your skates; including how to skate backwards.

In this step-by-step guide, we’ll walk (or skate) you through how to master the art of backward-skating. But first, check out the safety advice below.

Safety precautions

Make sure to wear protective gear. Without a helmet, kneepads and elbow pads, a fall from your skates can be quite nasty.

It’s quite common to fall more often when you are only just learning to skate, so make sure to bulk up your protective gear when you’re first getting started or learning any new tricks.

Accidents can happen to the most seasoned professionals, though, so don’t grow complacent as you become more advanced at skating.

Head injuries are the most dangerous risk when skating, especially when you’re on hard surfaces, so make sure you purchase a solid helmet and check that it is both comfortable and fits snugly on your head. 

Lace up your skates securely. Start with the bottom of the skate and work your way up to the top. The laces should go underneath the first holes and they should cross over each other as you move the laces up the skate.

Pull the laces tightly after you run them through each hole, making sure that they fit securely. Loose skates are a recipe for disaster, as you can easily lose your balance and fall or injure your feet if they twist. 

Skating basics

Before you learn how to skate backwards, you need to learn to skate forward efficiently. You should be well versed at skating forwards before you try to skate backwards.

This means you must be able to hold your balance really well and skate forwards accurately. You should have confidence in your ability before you even attempt to skate backwards.

Find a good balance and learn how to increase your speed in a forward glide without losing any control first. 

Follow the steps below to skate forwards:

Step 1: Push off with one foot and glide until you lose power. 

Step 2: Push off with the other foot once you have lost momentum from the first foot.

Step 3: Continue a forward glide and use a posture that is comfortable for you while doing so. 

Step 4: Use the front brake to stop skating. The front brake is the round, plastic knob at the end of the toe. Put one skate in front of the other and lift it slightly. Push that toe down quickly with decent force against the ground to prevent loss of balance.

Once you’ve perfected your forward-skate, you can move on to practising a backward skate. Remember to take any new tricks you learn slowly and go at your own pace to stop any accidents. 

Backward Skating

Follow the steps below to learn how to skate backwards:

Step 1: Make a V shape with your feet. Your toes should be touching, and your heels should be spread apart. The edges of your feet should be at a 90 degree angle with your toes. You can bend your knees to support this position if it helps.

Step 2: Push your heels apart and then bring them back together. The width of the gap will determine your speed and the length of your backwards glide.

The wider the gap, the faster and longer the backwards glide. The narrower the gap, the slower you will move and the shorter the distance you will travel. 

Step 3: Once your heels touch together, create the V shape again with your toes and repeat the sequence. You can add a little pressure to your right toes while lifting your left foot to glide backwards on one skate.

Copy this movement with the other foot when you start to run out of power.

Step 4: Look over your shoulder behind you to see where you’re going. Take it slowly and carefully as you will not be used to orienting yourself from this position. Refrain from leaning back while you look where you’re going, as this increases the fall risk.

Step 5: Increase the length of your strokes to increase your speed. The wider you push your feet apart, the more power you will have. The faster that you can repeat the stroke sequence, the quicker your movements will be. 

Final thoughts

Remember to practice as much as possible before you skate on a real rink, as it can be dangerous to yourself and others if you are very inexperienced at skating backwards. Keep your pace slow and steady to start with, and increase your speed with your confidence levels.

Don’t worry about falling over, this is very common while practising and as long as you have your helmet and pads on you will be well protected. 

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