You don't need to put on a yoga outfit to stretch. Stretching for just 10 minutes before and after you skate will stretch your skate prime. It has for me.
– Paul Rodriguez
Jelly legs is a chronic issue in the skate world tragically affecting 1000s each year. What most skaters don't know is this can be greatly avoided with a good warm-up.
Even ping pong players warm-up so the fact that a lot of skaters warm-up with a coffee and a cigarette before they put their bodies through something occasionally as intense as a UFC fight is pretty crazy. P-Rod says the biggest deterrent to skaters stretching and warming up is the worry that it will damage their image and to be fair, he's probably right - I always feel like people are judging me when I'm doing star jumps on top of the ledge, but I think along with that it's put off because of how hyped you can get when you go skate. I've been skating for about 15 years and I still get just as hyped to go for a session as I did when I started. I get to the spot and I just want to start skating, doing anything other than that just seems like a hassle.
On the other hand, a proper warm-up can increase your power, strength, flexibility, joint range of motion, improve your coordination, reaction time, leave you feeling more energised in general and even greatly reduces the chance of injury. That's a pretty solid list of benefits! All of which will obviously improve your skating.
The skaters that do warm-up often only do static stretches (stretching using your body weight or something else to hold you in place) and then start skating, but this can actually be worse than doing nothing at all. Static stretching is good after you've skated but doing it before any kind of exercise has been proven to lower the power, performance and response time of your muscles which is obviously the last thing you want before you start skating. Also, before you warm-up, your muscles are colder and most likely a little stiff. Not only can you not get a good stretch on a cold muscle but you can even end up injuring yourself as muscles are much easier to overstretch when they're cold.