We all know that the gym can get boring, right? Isn’t it more fun when you have something to work toward? When, on that hundredth leg lift, you think “I will use these muscles to knock a bitch down”?
I’m putting together a derby workout, so I thought I’d post what I have so far. It’s just a few exercises, but it should help you get through that sad skateless holiday break.
Grab a medicine ball (or both of your skates). I like an 8-pound ball, but whatever works for you. Hold it at chest height like a basketball. Squat down into your derby stance, with your feet wide. Maintaining that low position, leap side-to-side from one leg to the other. Another name for this move is the one-legged squat: you’re shifting your weight from one leg to the other, picking your foot up off the floor as you leap onto the other leg.
Number: Start with 2 sets of 12 repetitions (leap onto one leg, then the other: that’s one repetition), with as short a break as you can stand in between sets. Work your way up to 3 sets.
It should look something like this, though you don’t need to raise the other leg as far as this guy is:
Start off in a lunge position. MAKE SURE your knees don’t go past your toes; that’s bad for your knees. Jump straight up and switch legs in the air, so that you land in a lunge with the other foot forward. Take your time with these; form is far more important than speed.
Number: Again, start with 2 sets of 12 repetitions (lunge, jump, lunge is one repetition), with as short a break as you can stand in between sets. Work your way up to 3 sets.
Arm exercises and the Bosu ball
Arm exercises are good for derby girls. We have to push ourselves up from the floor a million times an hour, and this is a lot easier to do with some arm muscle to back us up. For my own part, I use 7- or 10-pound dumbbells for bicep curls, tricep lifts (I hold the dumbbells up over my head, with my arms straight, and bend my elbows so that the weights are directly behind my head) and shoulder lifts (arms at sides, extend straight out until they’re level with your shoulders).
Where does the Bosu ball come in? Stand on it when you’re doing your arm exercises. It’s excellent for balance and all those little muscles in your ankles and all the way up your body. Bosu balls are essential for skaters.
I stand on it with the round side down, but I’d recommend round side up if you’re just starting out.
Push-ups and the stability ball
Stability balls are an excellent tool. I will probably be writing an entire stability ball post sometime soon. For the moment, though: push-ups.
Adopt a regular push-up position, with one variation: your legs should be resting on a stability ball. Start out with the ball under your shins. Once you get stronger, do the push-ups with the ball under your feet.
Make sure to keep your back straight; don’t put your butt in the air. Focus your eyes on a spot a few inches in front of your hands; you should not be looking toward your belly (looking under your body tends to cause your spine to curve). When you go down for the push-up, go as far down as you can. A full range of motion is way more important than the number of repetitions.
Number: As many as you can! Start out with 2 sets of 6 repetitions. Work your way up to 2 sets of 12, adding a push-up or two each time you do this.
Core strength is extremely important for derby girls. The stronger your core is, the less likely you’ll be to fall when someone shoulder-checks you or when you lose your balance on your own.
The plank position is like the push-up position, only your elbows are on the floor rather than your hands. Again, make sure your body is completely straight and your gaze is forward, not down.
Hold for 1 minute. Work your way up to 2 minutes, adding 10 seconds each time you do this.
Get on the treadmill! Cardio is a huge deal for derby skaters. I set these intervals at 2 minutes because a jam is 2 minutes. Sometimes I can be logical. Not often, though.
Warm up for 5 minutes, working your way up from a fast walk to a slow jog. Then come the intervals!
For 2 minutes: crank up the speed! Set the treadmill to the highest speed you can maintain for 2 minutes.
For the next 2 minutes: A comfortable jog. You should still be working, but this is recovery time.
(for reference: I’m not a great runner, and my speeds are 7.2 for the run and 5.3 for the jog)
Alternate these from minute 5 to minute 25. For minutes 25 to 30, jog at a slightly higher speed than your recovery speed. (mine is somewhere between 5.5 and 6, depending on how tired I am)
When you hit minute 30, push the cooldown button. Cool down for AT LEAST 5 minutes.
That’s everything I have for the moment. Stay hydrated. Always stretch. Don’t hurt yourself, but do push yourself. And remember, Christmas cookies make great workout fuel!