Starting Roller Derby Strength Training – 3 Key Areas

Strength Training For Roller Derby Key AreasContinuing with getting started in strength training for Derby, I’m going to talk a little bit about how I work with a new Derby athlete.

Assuming that all of our assessments check out clean and there’s no major issue (old or recent injuries, major muscle imbalances, etc) to overcome, as those would instantly take priority, there are a few key areas of the body that I need to make sure are up to snuff.  When these areas are targeted and strengthened, you’ll immediately become a better Derby athlete and be well on the way to injury-resistant, as well.

These particular “problem areas”, aren’t necessarily the ones most women would think of, but we have a wide variety of methods to target them.  In fact, my clients have made a lot of jokes over the years about my “bag of tricks”.  Today I’m going to share with you a few of the best, meat and potatoes options.
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How To Start Strength Training For Roller Derby

Ring Rows - Building Back Strength for Roller DerbyIn my last article I went over WHY strength training for Roller Derby is so important.  Now we’re going to get into some of the specifics on the HOW of strength training for Roller Derby.

I met with and started a new client yesterday.  Over the course of our initial consultation we talked about the usual stuff; His goals, past experiences, injury history, etc.  We also talked a lot about how we do things at Relentless, our philosophies, and our system.

Now, this guy is a martial artist, but what I want to talk about today (the System) will be similar for a derby athlete.

When I talk to Derby athletes about strength training I hear everything from “I’m in the gym all the time” to “I do Zumba!”, but most often I hear from athletes who know they probably should train, but either have no idea how to get started or seem to get injured/nowhere whenever they do.
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Derby Strength: Why Strength Matters for Roller Derby Athletes

Derbystrength Athlete Microphone Assassin 355 Deadlift

Derbystrength Athlete Microphone Assassin 355 Deadlift

In my involvement with Derby I’ve been able to meet, watch, and evaluate a lot of Derby athletes.  I’ve seen the rankest newbie who has never done anything athletic in her life fall down without anyone touching her.  I’ve also been privy to watching former collegiate athletes and 5-10 year Derby vets lace up and take their turns around the track, kicking ass and taking names.

It’s been a lot of fun to watch and learn about the sport, but as a training professional I can never really “shut off” my observations of the field of play.  Even when I’m just having fun at a bout with friends and cheering on my girls I’m constantly in “Coach Mode” picking apart positives and negatives while watching for any insights presented.  I also use my background in other sports and experiences to draw comparisons and look at things in possibly a different light than a “Derby-only” person would.

Through this study I’ve had a lot of insights into Derby play and preparation, hence the very basis of this website, but among them all there’s one very clear point that stands out:  The vast majority of derby athletes simply aren’t strong enough to play to their potential.

Honestly, this lack of strength is actually an issue with female athletes in general.  Whether it comes from a history of coaches who don’t care enough to teach them, societal pressures, or some inner concern about “getting too bulky” (although I’ve noticed that that seems to be less of a mental hurdle for the average Derby athlete), the bottom line is that most female athletes can totally change their athletic performance through smart, focused strength training.  I know because I’ve seen it happen in my girls.

How so?  Well, I’ve got for you are six key reasons why we prioritize strength development, particularly in the less-trained Derby athlete, at Relentless and why it’s made a huge difference in our athletes.
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Welcome to DerbyStrength.com and Why This Site Exists

Derby Strength Final LogoI’ve been performing as a Strength Coach and Conditioning Consultant for Bangor Roller Derby for the past off-season and competitive season.  In this time I’ve enjoyed learning about Roller Derby as a sport and made a lot of friends in what has got to be the most fun, accepting, and cool sport community out there.

I’ve been honored that this community has accepted me in, from the sweaty hugs to the whiskey slaps to the random dance-offs, it’s been a wild and awesome ride. At the same time I’ve been blown away by the work ethic and balls my Derby girls show.  From all walks of life, there’s something special about a Derby athlete.

So, with all that being said, when I looked around the Derby landscape my jimmies got rustled a bit.  I saw a lot of hard-working, loyal athletes who really wanted to be successful.  I also saw these same athletes being frustrated and hamstrung by lack of quality strength and conditioning coaching and information.  That’s unacceptable to me.

Roller Derby is a physical sport.  If you’re not in shape to play then at best you’re going to fall short of your goals and at worst you’re going to get hurt.  We’ve had outstanding success with our Derby athletes here in Bangor and I want to bring that same success to you.

It’s time to take Roller Derby out of the amateurs and into the big leagues.  It’s time to get strong.  Derby Strong.