Fitness Series (1): Improving your off-skates fitness (and your test scores!)

We’ve been doing some perspective posts in recent months, and in light of our focus on starting back to the season and learning what we can from Fresh Meat, I thought some fitness posts might be timely.  Fitness is at once a scary and an exhilarating subject for many derby skaters: What can be better than feeling strong and empowered? But  many of us come from sedentary backgrounds, have never wedged daily sport or fitness into our lives, or are returning from pregnancy or injury.  When faced with that, the idea of incorporating fitness into your daily regime is daunting.  Let me tell you,though: it’s daunting but ESSENTIAL to your gameplay, your ability to take hits and falls, and your ability to progress as individuals and as a team.

One of the first places to start when thinking about incorporating off-skate fitness into your day is to think about what you HAVE to be able to do to make your team.  At the Liverpool Roller Birds, we have a portion of our tryouts that is dedicated to fitness.  I think this is pretty standard for a derby team.  It’s a set measure that quantifies how much you can do in a specific amount of time.  We measure press-ups (push-ups), burpees, and have a rather acrobatic three minute plank test as well.  The press-ups and burpees are a measure of how many can be done in 1 minute, and the plank is a measure of whether you can hold the plank (essentially).

If this is what you have to perform, absolutely have to perform, in order to make your team, then you should do it EVERY day.  The daily practice of your fitness test will increase your test scores and your try-out will be amazing. And when you think about the above, it is, when broken down into parts, only 5 minutes per day.  FIVE MINUTES! Fit it in.  Do it as soon as you roll out of bed in the morning.  Do it while your bathtub is filling up.  Do it while your egg timer is going.  This is something that, with daily practice, can improve substantially, and it is only a measure of you doing better than yourself.  We all have busy lives.  We all struggle and wonder how to fit in gym time around work and family time, and how to fit in derby practice as well. You don’t have to.  This is your most basic fitness requirement, and it will take five minutes of practice per day.  Whatever test YOUR team uses, you can practice that test, daily.

I have a timer application.  It looks like this:


I set it for one minute, do my press-ups.  Take 30 seconds to rest.  I set it for one minute, do my burpees.  Take one minute to rest.  Then I set it for the full interval set for the plank test.

This type of app can be completely customised.  I have it set to beep at me for every position change in the plank routine.  Doing it every day for two weeks made me able to completely do the plank routine (before I left for injury, and now that I’m cleared to try again I will build back up to that quickly, I think).

You can also use this app to time your burpees or your press-ups, you can use it to count your laps – the possibilities are endless.  But the point is, the app is easy.

You can do anything for one minute.  Do it.  Every day.

Baby steps, people.  Baby steps.  It will all help.  If you can do one press-up, next week you can do two or three. Maybe your team does squats, and you can only do 4.  Do this daily, you’ll soon be doing 10. Keep going. It helps.  Every little bit of it.

Next in the fitness series: Derby specific dynamic and isometric exercises that will help your derby stance (and tone that derby bum!).

Skate hard, hit harder – Cali Floor’Ya

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