While teaching fitness classes at Florida International University, students would consistently ask Ratasha Iribarren how she got in shape. Her answer: figure skating. Iribarren was a competitive skater for eight years and a professional skater for the Florida Panthers Ice Skating Team for four.
“The way I got into shape was through figure skating, which can be discouraging to the average person because that is not something people can put a lot of time and effort into,” said Iribarren. “But what people don’t realize is a lot of our training is done off of the ice through plyometrics, dance and conditioning.”
Iribarren and her follow figure skater, Irina Sigler, developed Figure Skulpt in order to create an exercise experience that blends everything about figure skating into one workout. The workout, compresses their typical training program into a 45 to 50 minute class. “It may sound like a lot, but as skaters, it isn’t uncommon to incorporate dance, ballet, plyometrics, weight training and more into just one day,” said Sigler, one of the co-founders of Figure Skulpt. “We understand that most people have lives and can’t possibly spend so much time training, so we took what we found to be the most effective parts of each and created this format.”
Each class starts with a warm-up of dynamic movements to work on flexibility, balance and warm-up the body. “Figure Skulpt is workout built using exercises we learned from training as competitive figure skaters,” said Sigler. “We have different sections such as jumps, footwork and spins/spirals. In the jump sections, we really focus on building explosiveness, quickness and leg strength. In the footwork section, we ramp up the intensity and build coordination all while executing fun choreography to popular songs. Finally, the spins/spiral section slows down and builds proper form, control and strength. We go through these sections, each lasting approximately 3 to 4 minutes, and culminate with a ‘program’ that combines all the previous sections into one. We repeat this cycle twice. We also include a core section to really help everyone achieve a full body workout.”
Iribarren started teaching Figure Skulpt at FIU in December 2015. It started as a demo class in order to get student feedback about the concept. But the class was a hit and she has been teaching it every week for the past year. She explained since the workout includes so many different formats — balance, flexibility, strength, cardio — it appeals to a wide demographic. In each class, she will have students in their 20’s as well as faculty and staff in their 50’s
“This program so it is based off of figure skating training, which is unique in itself. We did a lot of research and we didn’t find anything that was based off of this sport, especially not for the everyday person,” Iribarren added. “What makes skating unique is that it is both athletic and artistic. So we really strive to get that across in this program. You are working on things like power, agility, balance, coordination and flexibility, all of these athletic things. But the trick is the make it look effortless and that is what we really try to get across in this program. We want people to both look and feel like a figure skater.”
While the program is new, Iribarren and Sigler have plans to grow the program in the future. “Right now we are so new still, so we are just looking to get it out there to different gyms and rec centers,” said Iribarren. “One way we can do that is through people of course. By people getting certified, they get to spread the class to different areas and that is the route we are looking to go through right now. We are also willing to offer master classes. So if another rec center is interested in hosting a class, but they have never seen it before we can go in and do a master class for them and see if they want to host a certification.”
For more information about the class or how to get certified, visit figureskulpt.com.