Figure Skating Sisters Sharpen Their Skills with Apex Center Personal Trainer


Originally posted April 5, 2011

Morgan Bell, 19, and her sister Mariah Bell, 14, are national figure skating competitors who train off the ice with Apex PRD personal trainer Jay Renick. They recently competed in the U.S. National Figure Skating Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina. Morgan finished ninth in the ladies short program, and Mariah Bell led the field in the novice short program and was third overall.

Like many successful competitive athletes, Morgan and Mariah recognize the importance of training for strength, endurance and cardiovascular conditioning. The sisters started training with Jay at the Apex Center after being referred to him by their skating coach. “Jay is intense,” Mariah said. “He pushes us past our limits and a lot further.”

Their weekly personal training regimen includes many special elements to help build strength and enhance their performance on the ice. Their routine emphasizes arms, legs, core and endurance – and they work on fine-tuning their balance. As accomplished figure skaters, they already have a better sense of balance than most of us can imagine – but it can always get better.

Another necessary skill for skaters is jumping. They need “air time” to execute moves, and landing on the ice with all the body’s weight on a thin blade that’s less than a quarter-inch wide.

Skaters need strong muscles with the power to quickly rebound and explode into the next move. That’s where plyometric training comes in. The photo here shows Jay, Morgan and Mariah with equipment for plyometric training – starting from a standing position on the floor and jumping onto progressively higher platforms. On the way down, they work to “stick” the landing with focus, grace and clarity.

Morgan and Mariah both say that training helps build confidence as well as strength. That’s important in competitions, when every move is observed by judges and, at the US Nationals for example, around 10,000 spectators. Their support and applause helps calm the nerves – and so do the many hours of hard work they put in beforehand. “You learn to trust your training,” Morgan said.

The sisters have been skating since early childhood. Morgan began at age six, and Mariah, who watched her big sister skate from the time she was a baby, started at age three. They each put in several hours a day of on-ice practice. Their next competition is the May Springtime Invitational in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Jay Renick enjoys working with the Bells, other competitive figure skaters, and young athletes to help them improve their skills and to build good fitness habits for a lifetime. “Their work ethic, focus and drive are outstanding,” he says. “Plus, there’s that sisterly competition and support.”

Youth sports training is an area of special experience and interest for Jay, who has been at the Apex Center for about four years. For more information about training with Jay, or other Apex Center personal trainers, call the Apex Center Fitness desk at 303.463.4241.