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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Roller Derby Workout

Girl power was in full effect over the weekend. There's something empowering about seeing women dressed like girly-girls while skating around and knocking each other down.

I went to my first roller derby bout on Saturday and wasn't quite sure what to expect. My only knowledge of the sport came from snippets I saw here and there through various media -- like YouTube and the previews for that one Drew Barrymore movie.

We got to the venue early and could tell it was going to be good. The parking lot was full of cars, and we had to create a spot alongside a row divider. We stood in line, paid our admission and finally got a look of things inside -- it was packed. There were people everywhere. Folks were shoulder-to-shoulder and it was impossible to walk with out having to shuffle sideways every few feet. But, luckily, we were able to snag a couple seats without too much trouble.

Before the start of the bout, I sat in my seat and took in the scene. I noticed that the team uniforms weren't uniform. The team colors and team shirts were the only things that seemed the same. The derby athletes added their own individual style to their game outfits. They dressed in short skirts, short shorts, stockings (a lot of fishnets), girly skirts with lots of ruffles, funky socks, I even saw one gal wear a lacy panty over a pair of skin-tight shorts.

During the hour that the bout lasted, I watched jam after jam as the players skated the circle. Some were better than others. Some were easily knocked down. Others were able to hold steady and resist the elbows and shoulder bumps. Surprisingly, some players got tangled in their own feet and brought themselves down to the floor. Yikes.

The hour that the bout lasted, went by really quickly. And though it didn't last a long time, it struck me how physically demanding it is to skate for a full hour. And, of course, that got me thinking about what kind of workout would best suit a roller derby athlete. So I came up with this total body workout that emphasizes legs, balance, core strength and endurance.

To do the workout below, you'll need access to a Bosu, medicine ball and dumbbells.

Do a light warm-up before starting (i.e. 5 minute brisk walk on treadmill or jump rope for 3-5 minutes). Choose a light weight for the exercises below -- the goal is to increase muscle endurance, not muscle size. Do 2 sets of each exercise of 20-25 reps. Click the links for a demo of the exercises.

Squats on Bosu (legs)
Adding the Bosu helps improve balance and also helps build core strength.
Single leg bridge on Bosu (legs)
These target the hamstrings. The addition of the Bosu makes the exercise more difficult while helping build core strength.
Squat jumps (legs)
This is a plyometric move that help with leg explosiveness.
Deadlifts on flat surface of Bosu (legs)
These target the hamstrings and glutes. Adding the Bosu will improve balance and core strength.
Skaters lunges (legs)
This move simulates the skating movement which specifically targets the leg muscles used while skating.
Woodchops (abs)
These are great for the rectus abdominis and oblique muscles.
Cross-body crunches (abs)
These target the obliques.
Kettlebell* windmill (abs)
These target the obliques.
Medicine ball overhead circles (shoulders)
These target the anterior and medial heads of the shoulders. The abdominals also get worked.
Push-ups (chest)
Targets the chest muscles and secondarily targets the triceps and shoulders.
One-arm dumbbell row (back)
These primarily target the latissimus dorsi muscles and secondarily hits the biceps.

*This exercise can also be done with a dumbbell.

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