Friday, August 1, 2008

Stretching towards Biellmann: the Maxiflex tool

When Ice Girl competed at Skate Milwaukee in July, I was really surprised at how many girls at limited beginner level were hauling their feet above their heads. They weren’t completing a Biellmann spin yet, but I was impressed.

Ice Girl is a gymnastics dropout. She wasn’t fabulous, but she wasn’t horrible, either. However, between gymnastics and figure skating, Ice Girl hadn’t done much stretching at all.

She’s been working on it, though, so I bought her this Maxiflex. We’ve hung it over our front door and Ice Girl uses it while watching Nickelodeon or Disney Channel and/or talking on the phone.

The principle is this: hang the end with the knob on the outside of the door and let the cords trail to the inside. The cord forks. One fork holds the skater’s foot in a harness, the other helps a skater yank her foot higher and higher.

The Maxiflex should come with a brochure when you buy it. In fact a bit of the brochure is part of the Maxiflex photo that I posted. Heavy on photos and light on text, you can get the general idea of what the stretching tool does in the brochure. Beware! In search of a bargain, the first Maxiflex I bought was off of eBay and it was cheap - $20. No brochure, though, so I had a tangle of cords and no clue what to do with them.

The Maxiflex will set you back $25-$35 bucks online, not including shipping. It’s lightweight, though, so shipping shouldn’t be too bad.

Ice Girl hasn’t achieved the Biellmann yet, but she’s doing it incrementally, which is good. I can see a kid forcing her leg way up too soon and not working up to the level of flexibility she needs. To make sure Ice Girl didn't hurt herself while super-stretching, I brought the Maxiflex to the rink one night. Ice Coach gave Ice Girl advice that I, Ice Mom, couldn’t give (well, couldn’t give and be believed.)

Rating: 3.5/4 stars. I think the Maxiflex itself is a good product, but the brochure is not fabulous. The tangle of cords can be intimidating at first, but the results from working with the product are good. If you don't have one and your figure skater wants that Biellmann, I'd pop the $30-ish for it.


Anonymous said...

We have a Maxi-Flex also and would recommend it. It took a bit to get the hang of it, but when my daughter uses it - what a difference. We also got a book called the Supple Body for strecthing and that has helped.

Skittl1321 said...

Thanks for the review- I've been thinking about getting one of these for awhile, and you reminded me to put it back on my "to buy" list.

Angie said...

Thanks for the review! Dd could probably use something like this too! She is working on her catch spiral and I am sure a maxi flex would help her also. :-)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the review my daughter can use all the help she can get to help her spirals and spins. I wanted to get a Maxi-Flex but wasn't sure if it would work. Thanks again!!
I also wanted to encourage you to consider off-ice strengthening and conditioning classes. My daughter has been skating for 11 years and she has done off-ice conditioning very spuratically because it wasn't consistant I think it contributed to her developing a sports hernia. My daughter had to have two surgeries this year and had to lose almost an entire year of training because of the hernias she developed from over use of her inner thigh muscles and ligaments without proper strengthening and conditioning. She is all recovered now but we were hoping to go to regionals this year but now she can't go because she is just now starting to land her double jumps again we will not have enough time to get prepared. I also recommend looking up sports hernias online because it is a very common injury for hockey players but not for figure skaters. It is an injury that is occuring more frequently in figure skating and something skaters should be aware of and try to prevent.

Ice Mom said...

Thanks, anony, for the helpful comment about off-ice training.

Ice Girl couldn't do the off-ice training with the kids at the club this summer because she had a summer science thing every morning.

However, I do have a couple of Pilates videos at home. I think those are really helpful. I should review those, too, hey?

We also have this fun belly dancing strength video. I just love it because it's kinda goofy and the twins, Neena and Veena, have these identical enormous smiles on their faces. Ice Girl and I challenge each other to smile like Neena and Veena.

Hmm! It looks like I need to write more reviews!

Anonymous said...

yeah well its called sand bagging.
They shouldn't be in limited beginner. Its like the girls who are working on or landing their axels and competing beginner instead of pre-pre with axel. It's a sad reality some coaches and parents care more about placing than fair play.