25 August, 2010

Halfway There is Halfway Gone

I have begun writing this post like nine times and I have no idea where it is going so to hell with it. Today we are going to be looking at another aspect of the game of roller derby rather than focusing only on skating fast and staying on your feet. Today we are going to look at the part that hurts more than average, giving a hit and receiving a hit. Derby is a contact sport and this is not something we can just avoid. Most of you have probably realized at this point that the harder you go for a hit, the less you actually feel it(most of the time). There is a biological reason for this and it is called adrenaline. Everyone has heard of it but how does it work? When your body feels the need to be at a heightened level of awareness, typically in a time of either excitement or perceived danger, the hormone adrenaline is released into the body and acts as a re-director of blood away from some organs,including portions of the brain, and toward muscles. This is commonly referred to as the beginning of the "fight or flight response". What this means to you is that when you deliver or receive a hit, the elevated blood flow allows your muscles to divert pain for a while. This can often explain why you can be devastatingly sore two days after a bout and not recall any particular reason why. It can also explain why the hit we don't see coming is often the absolute worst. So that is basically how it works, but why is this important? Because the side affects of all of this hitting and adrenaline rushing can be very demoralizing to your body if it is not properly prepared. Roller derby is a sport with it's roots centered around skating, typically at speed. Recently we have seen a lot of crossover into roller derby from both artistic and speed skating and I believe that is awesome. The issue is that none of these sports have much focus on upper body strength and the typical female is much more lower body dominant in strength. Today we are going to focus almost exclusively on upper body work and the form that goes with. Forgive the length of this post but a lot has to be taken into consideration. First of all, doing these exercises will allow you to tone up, not to bulk up(you won't end up looking like a body builder). Secondly, all exercises should be completed with your abs squeezed tight. This is not the same as sucking in your stomach while trying to put on your favorite pair of jeans. The concept is to squeeze your belly button toward your spine. (wicked cool party trick if you can get them to touch, I'm just saying)Third, your neck should be straight and you chin slightly tucked at all time. with that on the table , let's go to work!

5 min. warm up
3x 15 tricep dips
3x 15 shrugs(this will feel pointless unless you focus on squeezing your shoulder blades up and together)
3x 15 overhead presses
3x 15 wide push ups
3x 15 front raises ( raise your arms to the front, keeping them straight and together)
3x 15 lateral raises (raise your arms to the side like a bird flying)
3x 15 inverted rows
3x 100 meters skipping for distance
3x 50 meters skipping for height
100 crunches of your choosing( the form above applies to all exercise, including these)
5 min. cooldown

none of these exercises require a gym or any weights to complete, however if they are too simple add resistance. This can be as simple as bags of flour, phone books, gallons of water, or if you prefer, shopping bags. Just try to make it as even on each side as possible and enjoy!



  1. Wow! Imagine that. Ask and ye shall receive :)

    Thank you so much. I'm printing this one out and sticking it to the wall in front of my computer.

    BTW, I do a monthly massage and have for years. It's necessity...not an endulgence. I always hold all my tension in my neck and shoulders and I have arthritis in my TMJ. Add those together and I used to get nasty headaches that lasted for days. With the regular massage my muscles are reminded how to relax and are better able to do that. I don't know why I never thought of actually strengthening those muscles too. But light finally dawned..and here I go. Thanks again J! You're awesome.