How to Do the Plow Stop on Inline Skates

There are two crucial things to learn when it comes to inline skating, especially if you’re new to it. You need to learn how to get up after falling over. You also want to practice how to stop safely using the Plow Stop or other techniques. And that’s what this brief post is about.

Also read: Rollerblading for beginners

Having protective gear such as a certified skate helmet and protective pads (knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards) on your body sure boosts your safety, but if you can’t stop, safety will remain mission impossible.

How to Stop on Inline Skates Using the Plow Stop

Below is a step by step guide on how to come to a stop on rollerblades using the super popular stopping technique: the Plow Stop [correct pronunciation: the plau stop].

How to Plow Stop Video by

Would you prefer watching one of our people doing it over reading the rest of this plow stop tutorial? Watch Peter, a member of our content creation team, doing it in the plow stop video below.

Peter of skatingmagic demonstrating the plow stop for beginners

Step #1: Glide Forward and Build Up Some Speed

Start gliding forward as you normally would. Build up some speed, but you don’t want to go too fast. Why? Because in my experience, the plow stop isn’t super effective when it comes to doing emergency stops.

Also read: How to get up on rollerblades

Peter our writer skating ready to do plow stop

The way I see it, the plow stop isn’t ideal for controlling high speeds on any kind of surface or for stopping when inline skating down a hill. In these situations, plow stopping may not bring you to a nice smooth stop.

I use this stopping technique all the time and so do many other skaters, but I’ve found that it works best when you’re moving at moderate speed on relatively flat ground. Some may disagree with me on that and that’s OK. But why don’t you try it and see how it goes for you?

Step #2: Make an Imaginary Ellipse

Peter, our editor, demonstrating the plow stop. Simply trace out an ellipse with your wheels and you're good.

Point your toes outward and keep rolling in an arc until you’re halfway through an imaginary ellipse. Then, point your toes inward and keep going until they almost touch. In most cases, I come to a safe smooth stop, but if I was rolling at speed, I don’t always stop.

Step #3: Practice Makes Perfect

Practice the plow stop until you perfect it. I can’t say it’s the easiest stop for a beginner, but it’s not too hard. In fact, it came easier to me compared to all the other stops we skaters use for speed control.

Tips for Stopping Using the Plow Stop

  • Don’t rely on the plow stop to come to a stop if you’re skating too fast or if you’re going downhill.

The best that this stopping technique can do for you is to help you slow down and no more. I make this claim based on personal experience. I’ve tried countless times to stop on any one of my 3 4x 80mm skates, and none of them comes to a stop via the plow stop if I’m skating at speed or succumbing to gravity.

  • When plow-stopping, the mechanics behind the stop look like this: glide forward, toes turned outward until halfway through an imaginary ellipse, toes turned inward, and stop!
  • The plow stop works best when riding at moderate speed on a more or less flat surface. If you’re pushing like your fave child’s life depends on it or flying down the steepest hill, trying to stop with the plow stop will be a BIG disappointment.
  • Even though the plow stop looks like a really advanced technique, it’s really one of the easiest ways to control speeds on rollerblades. The claim stands whether you’re new to rollerblading or have been rollerblading since the beginning of time.
  • If the plow stop is the only stopping technique you know, never ever skate at high speeds or ride down steep hills. Because it’s not the most reliable method to stop abruptly on inline skates.
  • It’s best to learn and master different ways to stop on inline skates rather than rely 100 percent on the plow stop or any other stopping technique.
  • If you want to get good at stopping using this method, keep practicing until you nail it down.

How to Do the Plow Stop on Rollerblades

The plow stop is the easiest stopping technique in inline skating, but it isn’t necessarily the most effective especially when you’re traveling at speed or rolling downhill. To do the plow stop, imagine yourself tracing an ellipse with the wheels of your skates.

Start with your toes pointing outward and glide halfway through the middle of the ellipse at which point move your toes so they start pointing inward as you roll forward to a nice smooth stop.