Exercise: Practice and Beyond

It is hard to believe that tomorrow evening is The Outfit’s home opener! Eager fans will pack into the Windy City Fieldhouse to watch the exciting double header. First, the Outfit’s Shade Brigade is going up against Iowa City’s Old Capital City Rollers. The headlining game will be the Outfit’s Syndicate vs. the Houston All-Stars. Spectators will be amazed at the athletic abilities of the skaters, as I was as an audience member in years past. In my rookie year I’ve come to discover that derby skaters are true athletes. In order to become a great derby athlete, one needs to work hard off of the track, too. Practice attendance is obviously the most important part of honing the skills necessary to become an effective player. But many teammates go about and beyond that, and as of late a lot of us have been discussing our personal fitness regimens. A portion of us have decided to join Fitocracy, a social networking site where you can track your workouts and earn points based on them. It is a great way to motivate myself to exercise, plus I can see what kind of workouts my friends are doing to keep in shape. Members of the coaching committee have also started optional jogging sessions for members a half hour before the start of practice twice a week. In addition, The Outfit is lucky enough to have work out sessions an hour a week with personal trainer Heidi fromChicago’s Orange Shoe Fitness.

While not everyone is a fan of jogging or can have sessions with a trainer, there is so much training that can be done at home, too. I know that I do not have the time or money to join a gym, but that does not mean that I can’t get a great workout at home. Not too long ago, I ordered the Roller Derby Workout DVD. Released by the Heart Attacks of the Angel City Derby Girls, the workout is divided into 5 sections: flexibility, abs, legs, buns and balance. These are vital workouts for skaters, but I’ve also done this workout with non-derby friends who loved how toned it made them feel afterward. You can order a copy of the DVD at http://www.rollerderbyworkout.com/index.html.

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Following the release of the DVD, a Roller Derby Workout posted a series of off-skates workouts on Facebook as part of an annual workout challenge. They are a great way to exercise outside of practice, require no extra equipment and can be done in your own living room. Here is one of my off-skates workouts (NOTE all the how-to videos are pretty tacky, but they are important to watch in order to make sure you are using the correct form, which helps prevent injury):

 Part One

20 Mountain Climbers http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IO5KVEoEbo420

20 Supermans http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6i1pMWF-bvw&feature=related

10 Pushups http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eh00_rniF8E

45 second plank


Repeat 5 times

Part Two 10 Burpees


10 Star Jumps


10 Pushups http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eh00_rniF8E

Repeat 3 times

*IMPORTANT* For those of you who do not workout regularly, don’t strain yourself through these exercises. It takes practice in order to work up to this level. Using the correct form is most important, so if you can only do 2 correct push-ups at a time that’s fine. Do what you can, drink a lot of water and rest when you feel like you need to.

It takes a lot of time and work to become a roller derby athlete. Working out in addition to attending practices is a big contributing factor. Not only does it increase overall endurance and agility, it also decreases the likelihood of injury. Plus, the endorphin release during exercise makes one feel good all around. Personally, I feel that I have a long way to go before I become a roller derby athlete…but exercising outside of practice will help make it a little easier to get there.