Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Work it on out!

Some roller girls make skating look so easy, but rest assured derby is a lot of hard work. Our practices are what most would call an extreme work out. Two hours, 2-3 times a week, boot camp on skates comes to life for us. Stretching, sit-ups and crunches start off the night and then the rigorous exercises unfold. High endurance, high impact and hard hitting skills are built up every time we hit the rink. Even if you're in top shape and know how to roller skate, practicing roller derby can be a challenge at first. And so we were happy to answer the many questions the Fresh Bloods had about how to better themselves and their game on and off the rink.

Fresh Blood Aly asks: How long did it take to get good and not be sore?

D-Ball answers: Who says I'm not sore after practice anymore? Especially if they really kick our ass. ha ha I had shin splints and Sciatica that took almost a year to heal. I used to tape up my shins and use Icy Hot on my back, but I don't have to do that anymore. Everyone's body takes a different amount of time to get past the soreness. If you're already athletic, it might take you less time than someone who's not. Either way, there will always be some practices that will make you sore. I would say it takes about one year for a skater to be good.

D-Ball used to rub this on while skating

Fresh Blood Kat asks: What are the best off-skates exercises that will help improve squats while skating?

Captain Morgan answers: I think the best off-skates exercises would be to do wall squats.

You squat up against a wall and hold it for a minute or two and then repeat. 3 sets of any exercise are normally what is recommended. Also, I think 3 sets of 30 leg lunges, alternating legs, really helps build the hamstring and quad muscles. One more exercise you could do, and this helps with falls and also builds those quad muscles, is off-skates falls. Just get your knee pads on, and alternate falling on each knee and getting up as quick as possible. Keep doing this and you will have thighs of steel just like Jackie Daniels of Grand Raggidy Roller Girls!

Jackie Daniels

Fresh Blood Kat also asks: How do you strengthen for reverse crossovers?

MadDonna answers: Keep doing them. Just like when you learned to do a "regular" crossover (right over left), the more you practice the easier it will be. -MD

Fresh Blood asks: What are the best exercises to do off the rink to improve your "game"?

Ruby Redrum answers: Doing yoga is really good to keep your body & muscles flexible. Yoga has been extremely beneficial to me since my injuries. And I would say Sk8 as much as possible. The more comfortable you are on your sk8s the better, and it will make everything you do easier! Even the simplest drill can be challenging when you are not comfortable on your sk8s. Go to adult sk8 just to dodge people, that will be extremely helpful in a bout. Sk8 on trails or your street, this is great practice. When you fall you will NOT want to use your hands on cement or potentially broken glass. Get the basics down perfect, the better your cross overs the better everything will become & the better you will sk8 and look while sk8ing. Learning to stop properly and controlling speed are extremely important in a bout. Look behind you while sk8ing, look behind you while sk8ing in a pack. Even if you cant get on your sk8s and just go running, look behind you regularly. This is a common problem for new girls, they are doing great in a scrimmage or bout and keeping up with the pack, everything is going good, and the jammer comes up and goes right past them, b/c they never looked behind to see her..... what is the point of being in the pack, if you don't know where the action is? Also, eat properly take vitamins and drink plenty of water regularly, to help keep your body in good shape. If you are in good shape you will feel better and your body will perform better at practice. These basic things can go a long way. If you can't get out to run or sk8, just do sit-ups and push ups & jumping jacks or get a jump rope at home, get a yoga dvd for at home, run up & down your steps at home. Even 15 mins of working out a day makes a difference, just ask c roll.

Fresh Blood Maryann asks: For Etta Jams: Did you always skate so low? If not, how do you do it? Were there specific exercises like squats? I wanna get low like Etta!

Etta Jams (hey that's me!) answers: Hey Maryann, thanks for your question. No I did not always skate that low. I remember at one of my first practices, Jen Party, one of our coaches at the time, telling me that I did crossovers well, but I needed to get lower. I could not comprehend how I could possibly get any lower than where I was already at. Remembering back though, I was standing straight up! I tried to work on everything that I was told and so I worked on getting lower. What helped me a lot was the endurance drill we do where we squat and hold it. Eventually, when I started warming up at practice I was always sure to stay in a squatted position. I constantly skated with my knees bent and my butt down, out and back (in a squat position). Then I realized to get lower than I was already getting, I needed to get my feet out of my way, so I moved them over to be shoulder width apart and sat my butt back and down as far as I could. Now I can pretty much touch the floor with it. Granted you are probably not going to bout in a stance this low, but its good to do at practice just to build up your thighs. When you're off skates, do squats and also do squats with feet more than shoulder width apart. Climbing stairs also helps build your quad and thigh muscles. Hope this helps!

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