Following up on my last post about weight loss and derby, I want to emphatically state that roller derby is an intense work out that requires a significant degree of athleticism and fitness. This is true not only of the top tier teams, but of my own recreational league as well. Although a large part of this athleticism is about skating skills, it is extremely important not to to overlook off skate training.
Thankfully, my league puts a significant emphasis on off skate training, and about 1/3 of each practice is dedicated to it. The things we do in training varies so we work a number of different muscle groups, and are often influenced by on skate skills our coaches think we need to work on (ex, footwork, getting lower, whips).
Our practices always start the same way: run 3 laps around our gym/arena, do lunges from end of the venue to the other, and squat hops on the way back. These are done individually, and it is on each girl to complete them on their own. We MUST do this warm up before participating, so people start them when they arrive and then we meet in the middle of the track to do some basic stretching. After this we move into our off skate training. This may include suicide drills, circuit drills, partner drills like booty blocking without skates, squats, burpees, hopping, balancing, pushups, sit ups, crunches, plank, bicep curls, and the most terrible invention: ab rollers (get on all fours, put your hands on one of your skates, and roll it out as far as you can and back in, focusing on using your abs to do it!). In a standard two hour freshie practice, this whole process can take anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes.
These off skate work outs are vital not only for warming up and practicing skills, but also for injury prevention. They are also something that can be continued at home. For the first 7 months of my derby career, I didn’t do ANYTHING outside of practice. When it hit home that I wasn’t going to testing with the girls I started with, I committed to starting more cross training and off skate training at home. I began by signing up for a Jazz dance class that I attend once a week for an hour, and in the month that I have been doing it, I am actually seeing an improvement in my footwork and flexibility.
But I have decided to commit myself to more. So, I am sharing with you my new home workout. I will be doing it three times a week in my living room to help strengthen my muscles and condition my body for on skate activities. Please note that this work out is based on my current fitness level and takes into an account a groin injury and shin splints.
1) 5 minute warm up (running on the spot, dancing in my livingroom, Wii Fit Step or Just Dance)
2) 15 lunges for each leg, twist torso both left and right on each lunge for abs
3) 15 squats
4) 5 burpees
5) 30 second single leg squat balance (Assume a mid skate position, with one leg back in the air) for each leg
6) 20 second plank
7) 25 crunches
8) 15 ab rollers
9) 15 push ups
10) 3 sets of bicep curls (1 set = hold one skate in each hand for this, go from arms to your sides to arms at a 90 degree angle 7 times, then from a 90 degree angle to your shoulders 7 times, then do the whole motion seven times)
11) Preferred stretches (make sure to stretch hips, legs, back, arms, shoulders)
So there you have it. This is my starting place for at home training. It doesn’t require a lot of space or gear (just use your skates for weights). I am starting with doing this 3 times a week, and I will not be doing it on days I have practice.
Feel free to share your own home or off skate work out in the comments!