Roller derby is an intense, fast-paced sport that can test the abilities of even the most seasoned athletes. Because of the nature of roller derby, it's important to focus on a blend of various exercises that will improve your skating abilities and give you more power, endurance and agility to perform optimally. Concentrate on high-endurance aerobic exercise, core strengthening and power exercises to make your body stronger and more agile, and flexibility to prevent injury and make your body move more fluidly.
Regardless of whether you’re a blocker or a jammer, endurance is key to playing the best bout possible. To make sure your energy isn’t zapped before the first half of the game is over, push the limits of your endurance every time you practice. Practice sprinting on your skates for two-minute intervals with 30-second breaks between each sprint, repeating the cycle eight times. This will increase your endurance and help you get used to skating in a two-minute jam. Or, to build your endurance and also help increase your ability to get up after a fall, try a 10-minute falling drill where you skate until a whistle is blown. Fall when you hear the whistle, remaining on the floor until the whistle is blown again, then get up as quickly as possible and sprint until you hear the next whistle. Repeat the cycle within a 10-minute time period.
Core and Strength Training
Balance is important in getting comfortable on your skates, and strength training will help make your muscles and bones stronger, which is critical in a full-contact sport. Spend two to three days each week doing core and strength training exercises, giving your body a day or two to recover. A circuit training program is ideal, so spend one minute doing each of the following: pushups, crunches, squats, lunges and planks. Repeat three times. To push yourself harder, add weights to squats, lunges and crunches.
Plyometric exercises will help increase your explosive strength, whether you’re a blocker looking to make a solid hit, or a jammer wanting to increase the speed of your starts. Plyometrics can be included in your core and strength training. Do three sets of 12 of each of the following: squat jumps, burpees, box jumps, high knees and star jumps.
Flexibility is also an important component of roller derby that helps prevent injury and aids in your body’s ability to bounce back from falls and hits. After each exercise session, spend at least 10 minutes stretching your shoulders, quads, back, chest, hamstrings and calves. Yoga stretching is also an effective way to help increase your range of motion. Spend a few minutes doing the downward facing dog, the cobra, forward bends and the frog pose to help stretch your back, legs and torso and improve your overall range of motion.