Being someone who's been doing the double push for years and looking on the internet at the "how to do the double push" information, I was completely lost. Now if someone who can do the double push doesn't understand the "how to do the double push" information, how is someone that can't do the double push supposed to understand. In this article I made the steps very basic to get you on your way to doing the double push.
First you have to learn your outside edges. If you take nothing away from this other than learning your outside edges you have taken a major step towards becoming a better speed skater. Below is how you should not be skating. As you can see I'm skating on the insides of the wheels and my ankles are falling in or I am skating in a pronated position. The boots will cut into the outside of your ankle and ankle bones when skating in this position. (for those of you using a dialup connection allow these pages to load fully so you can see the animated gif's, it can take 3 to 5 minutes per page, if you have a popup blocker enabled these images won't animate)
Now below you can see I'm skating on the outsides of my wheels and my ankles are falling out. My ankles are now in a supinated or anti-pronated position (proper position).
When I started skating I pronated terribly, all I did was chase the fastest skaters and tried to keep up at all costs even if this meant pronating for miles. This is the incorrect way to start speed skating. You should only be skating as fast as your form allows. Once I figured out that I was pronating and pronating was bad, for one straight month I skated at 5 mph working my outside edges as deep to the outside as I could stand, almost walking around our trail.
Even though the speed skaters came zipping by I knew what I had to do and that was to make the outside edge second nature to me. When you work a deep outside edge you should feel pressure from the boot on your inside ankle bone. I pushed the outside edge just short of blistering my inside ankle bone. Now there are some boots on the market that if you crick your ankle to the outside at all they cause excruciating pain on your inside ankle bone. Some boots will allow you to attain an extreme outside edge and some won't (call for that info).
I've skated behind a lot of people that I had just sold skates to and the one thing I noticed was when trying to get them to skate on an outside edge they say, am I doing it now, and I'll say no, you need to crick your ankle further like this, and then they'll say, am I doing it now and I'll say no you need to crick your ankle further like this. We would go back and forth like that another 50 times before they even came close to an outside edge. So what I've learned is people think their skate is in one position when in reality it's in a completely different position. Where that helps you is unless you know you're on your outside edge at a 45 degree angle chances are your not as far on the outside edge as you think.
Once you've worked your outside edge for weeks at very slow speeds start picking up your speeds slowly, stopping or slowing down the minute you start to pronate. I suggest intervalling your speed up. Skating at 5 mph working extreme outside edges slowly bring your speed up to 10 mph 15 mph then skate to the highest speed your comfortable at for 15, 30 or 60 seconds then shut it down. If you start to pronate at any time slow yourself back down to the 5 mph and work your outside edges for another 1 to 5 minutes then run your speed back up to the max for the 15 to 60 seconds.
When your comfortable with the higher speeds you will be trying to hit the max possible speed on each effort. If the fastest you could go before was 20 mph then your shooting for 21 mph, if your fastest was 28 mph then your shooting for 29 mph (make sure when your doing this type of training that your in a safe place that accommodates these top speeds). This type of skating will give you larger more powerful muscles where distance skating will give you smaller more efficient muscles.
Even when your just standing around talking to someone (picture below) you should be working your outside edges instead of standing in a pronated position.
Now that you've learned the outside edge you can start moving your skate across the center line to get used to the inside steer of the double push. Here I'm taking my right skate and steering it slightly across the center line in front of my left skate.
Once you're able to get the right skate slightly across then the next step is to get it extremely across (practice as far as you can get it to go).
When your right skate is across the center line it should be on an outside edge as well as the trailing left skate should be on an outside edge.
Now that you've got your right skate across the front now start with your left skate slightly across the front.
Then when you can get your left skate slightly across the front then get used to crossing your legs deeper. Then practice as deep as you can.
Now that you have gotten your left and right skate to cross the center line now you can alternate between the left and right skate. Then go as deep as you can while alternating.
Now that you've got your right skate across the center line with both skates on the ground now steer the right skate across the center line while the left skate behind you is resting on the front wheel.
Make sure that when the right skate is across the center line it is on an outside edge.
Now that you got your right skate across the center line with your left skate trailing, now you need to get your left skate across the center line with your right skate trailing. Once you have this somewhat down then try to extend it as far inside and outside as you can.
Now for the kick back. Gently flirt with kicking one skate behind the other. It is very important for the skate on the ground to be on an outside edge while doing the kick back. If your not on an outside edge on the plant skate it will make it impossible for you to do the double push.
Once you have flirted with the kick back then extend your skate further across the back. Eventually extend it across the back as far as possible.
Be careful with the kick back as if you're going to fall this is where it's going to happen. I think when I first started the kick back I fell about 4 times. What happens is you catch the front wheel of one skate to the back wheel of the other and then you have no skate in front of you to put down and you fall. The first time this happens and chances are it will, it will definitely run your heart rate up.
Here I'm adding arms to the kick back. On this one if your back skate goes to the right your arms go to the right and if your back skate goes to the left then your arms go to the left. So your arms should follow your back skate. In the next step (next page) I won't have you using your arms. I have you using your arms in this step because initially it's hard to get your weight transfer without your arms but as you become more proficient you won't need your arms to get a weight transfer.
The last step is to actually do the double push. The only difference from doing the kick back with the arms and doing the double push is when the plant skate is being set down it has to be turned to the inside initially to get the inside push then it is turned back to the outside for the outside push.
In essence a double push is a controlled fall. By kicking your back foot across the back along with steering your plant skate inside you start your body falling in the opposite direction of the inside steer. Then at the last second (this is the timing you will learn after doing this thousands of times) you turn your plant skate back out and that will pick your body back up. The hardest part is to let yourself start falling outside while your plant skate steers inside. Eventually you can push the limits further and further, fall more to the outside before you turn the plant skate back to the outside to pick you back up.
If you don't steer the plant skate inside long enough you will never get the double push, if you steer the plant skate inside for too long before you turn it back to the outside you will hit the ground. Somewhere in-between those two extremes is the proper double push. I use the words steer inside multiple times on this page because when your learning the double push you will initially be steering the plant skate inside. Eventually you will turn the inside steer into an inside push hence the words double push.