Apr 132010

Hello to derby fans from Summer Squasher. I’m a skater who joined the sport of derby five months ago, and I have a passion for health and fitness. For me, derby is one of many enablers for a healthy body. In addition to skating, I love running, bicycling, hiking, and any physical challenge that gets my blood pumping. Several weeks ago, my fitness outlets became significantly limited after I suffered a broken ankle while skating and doing jumps in our local Mardi Gras parade. For someone that is very active and typically targets a minimum of one hour of cardiovascular activity each day, this injury was quite a blow. Since then, I have been forced to accept that my derby enjoyment will be on hold. I’ve heard story-after-story about how people decide to become lazy, watch excess television, and get fat while their ankle injuries heal. I refuse to be one of those persons. Here are a few highlights of my fitness pursuit endeavors during the injury.

The first step in developing my new fitness program was to spend time reflecting – recognizing my new limitations and realizing the keys to my previous success in the sport of derby. A broken ankle usually means at least six weeks of no-weight bearing on the ankle. This means exercise options are very limited. Reflecting on my success, I realized that one of the primary reasons I’ve been advancing well in the sport of derby is because I am very fit. My hour plus daily cardio routines, marathon distance running, and major bicycling excursions have allowed me to have endurance to compete intensely and skate rigorously at high heart rates. Unlike some peers in the derby world, I typically do not suffer declining performance or severe fatigue with our practices and games. Still, with even more reflection, I know I can be better. I want to come back to the sport, advancing even more than before – developing strength with blocking, better agility, and additional defensive moves. The best exercise options for me, while injured, are deep water running, to continue cardiovascular fitness; upper body weight lifting and abdominal development, to build muscle strength and agility for blocking; and crutch walking, to build my shoulder strength. I incorporated one of these exercises daily during the six weeks since my accident. Today, I’ll share my upper body routine with you. It typically takes one hour to complete this workout.

During my weight routine, I combine two or more lifting exercises in alternating patterns to allow one group of muscles recovery while I challenge another muscle group. This enables necessary rest and recovery between sets, an increased heart rate during the exercise period (i.e. more calorie burning), and workout efficiency. For example, I start with a set on the butterfly press and alternate it with a set on the shoulder press machine.  This allows me to work the pectorals (chest) and deltoids (shoulders) during the same time block. I do five sets in a “burn-out” fashion at a fairly quick pace. This means I typically start with the heaviest weight that I can lift; do two sets at that weight but with lower repetitions and then gradually reduce weight and increase reps in sets three, four, and five. Here’s a list of my typical repetitions.

Set #1 and Set #2. Choose heaviest weight that I can lift. Do 4-6 lifting repetitions.
Set #3 and Set #4. Step down the weight to a challenging but more comfortable level. Do 8-10 lifting repetitions.
Set #5.. Lift weight at a moderate weight. Do 12-16 lifting repetitions.

Using this strategy has led me to be able to increase the weights in my sets over time. Other exercises that I include in the one hour period are

bicep curls,
triceps extension,
lat rows,
chest press,
lateral arm raises
reverse fly
front and back lat pull down
abdominal crunches with a medicine ball including side-to-side actions

I’ve really benefited from this work out. I visited my derby sisters two nights ago and showed off my new “guns” to several teammates. I’m convinced that building these upper body muscles will give me an increased advantage with giving blocks and receiving them. Pump up your muscles and gain your derby advantage.

photo credit to sportsinjuryclinic.net


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