Ask Jam Slanders Jam Slanders

Published on April 2nd, 2013 | by Jam Slanders

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Jam Slanders

Ask Jam Slanders: Small Cold Feet

Dear Jam,
I’m starting junior derby soon. All of a sudden, I got hit by the coldest feet I’ve ever felt. For background, I’m nearly sixteen, 5’1 (and a half!) and weigh about 105 pounds. I am not the most fit person ever, but I’ve been trying to skate every day (except for the past two weeks, I’ve been stupid) and do yoga and other workout stuff. Do you have any suggestions for a good exercise regimen to do on weekdays just to get into semi-decent shape?
I was reading another blog (mistake #1) and they said that you should give yourself three months to prep for derby for the adult league. I’ll have about two months of semi-decent exercise by the time bootcamp rolls around. Is that enough, or will I completely die at practice?
–Junior

First, congratulations on the adventure that is starting a derby career! You’re doing the right thing by thinking about getting into better shape before you start practice. Don’t be too intimidated by what you’ve read. You’re on the right path by skating and doing yoga, and practice is going to be intense no matter what because you are going to be learning all kinds of cool new stuff. So, your goal should be to get in the best shape possible.

I’ll note it’s hard for me to give you advice virtually because I can’t test your current level of strength, fitness, and muscle imbalances. It’s always a good idea to consult a doctor before starting intensive exercise programs because s/he may suggest preventive or corrective exercise for pre-existing conditions (e.g., if you have had an injury in your past). Additionally, you can consult with a personal trainer who is certified by ACSM (preferred), NASM, or ACE. (These programs require exams and continuing education, unlike some personal training programs that you can pretty much just buy a certification from.)

Derby requires strength, endurance, and power, so your training needs to address all these facets. Many derby players engage in plyometric training to help build explosiveness in addition to a regular strength and cardio routine.

For cardio, whether you are running, biking, on an elliptical, or another form, interval training is optimal. Not only will this bolster your fitness levels, but interval training closely mimics effort in derby because you are exerting yourself for up to two minutes, taking a 30 second break, and doing it again.

Your strength training should be an all-body workout. Some people mistakenly think that they only need to work their legs for derby, but derby engages all of your muscle groups. Although you may devote more time or intensity to certain muscle groups, you should not neglect others.

The last thing to note is that good form is key. You don’t want to push yourself on the elliptical machine another 5 minutes if you’re holding on to the frame for dear life. Don’t lift too much weight or perform too many reps just to finish a set or make it to whatever your goal is. For both strength and injury prevention, you are better off performing fewer reps, lifting less weight, or cutting your routine short and maintaining good form. Bodybuilding.com has great information on the exercises I’ve provided below and how to maintain proper form while doing them.

I’ve chosen exercises that can be done at home with no equipment. If I could add one piece of (very cheap) equipment to this, it would be a jump rope so that you can do cardio ladders (15 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, 1 min, and back down). For the beginning athlete, start at 2 sets of 10 3-4 times a week (try to rest a day in between) with 20-30 minutes of cardio intervals. If you’re already somewhat in shape, start at 3 sets of 10 3-4 times a week and 30 minutes of cardio intervals. As exercises get easier for you, add more reps to your sets, add weight (e.g., hold weights while doing squats), or boost the speed/incline of your cardio intervals. You might not progress at the same rate for each exercise, and that’s okay.

Upper body
Pushups (military style or on your knees)
Bicep curls (use your skates or cans of soup if you don’t have weights)
Tricep dips (off of a chair)
Shoulder press (use your skates or cans of soup)

Legs (Note: make sure your knees do not extend past your toes when doing these exercises)
Squats
Lunges (forwards and backwards)
One-legged squat (each leg)– start at 30 seconds, then 45, then 1 minute

Core exercises (Note: For bird dogs, plank, and bridge, make sure your back isn’t sagging.)
Crunches (be sure not to pull your head up with your arms; rely on your core)
Bird dogs
Plank (also good for upper body)– start at 30 seconds, then 45, then 1 minute
Bridge–start at 30 seconds, then 45, then 1 minute

Plyometric exercises
Burpees
Lateral skater jumps (1 rep is jumping to each side)
Broad jumps
Power skipping (jump as high as you can)–1 minute

To keep yourself engaged in exercise, consider making a list or a chart to track your progress. It feels great when you can see that you used to only be able to hold a plank for 20 seconds, but now you can do it for a full minute. You can even add stickers if you want for fun. I keep lists posted in my offices at home and at work to remind myself to incorporate exercise throughout the day, and it helps keep me motivated.

Although mild soreness and muscle exhaustion is expected, if you feel pain at any time, you should cease exercising. The key to effective training is figuring out the line where you are effectively challenging yourself (and perhaps feeling a little sore the next day) versus pushing too hard (and potentially injuring yourself). This varies for each person, and trainers can be helpful in helping you achieve this level.

Good luck with the working out and your first derby bootcamp!

Best,
Jam Slanders

I’m Jam Slanders and I’m here to tell you what to do with your life. I consult with a broad range of skaters, liquors, and knowledgeable media sources (“Always bet on black!”—Wesley Snipes, Passenger 57) to bring you the answers to all of your derby-related questions. I’m here to answer your questions about psychological, interpersonal, and social questions and issues related to playing derby, training questions, and other fun stuff (just not how you can get rid of that itchy rash you picked up at your last afterparty). You can reach me at advice@derbylife.com.

All questions you pose will be completely anonymous, so feel free to come up with your own fun pseudonym or we’ll make one for you.

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Jam Slanders

Jam Slanders is here to tell you what to do with your life. She's here to answer your questions about psychological, interpersonal, and social questions and issues related to playing derby, training questions, and other fun stuff (just not how you can get rid of that itchy rash you picked up at your last afterparty). She consults with a broad range of skaters, liquors, and knowledgeable media sources (“Always bet on black!”—Wesley Snipes, Passenger 57) to bring you the answers to all of your derby-related questions. All questions you pose will be completely anonymous, so feel free to come up with your own fun pseudonym or Jam will make one for you. Send your questions to advice@derbylife.com.


About the Author

Jam Slanders is here to tell you what to do with your life. She's here to answer your questions about psychological, interpersonal, and social questions and issues related to playing derby, training questions, and other fun stuff (just not how you can get rid of that itchy rash you picked up at your last afterparty). She consults with a broad range of skaters, liquors, and knowledgeable media sources (“Always bet on black!”—Wesley Snipes, Passenger 57) to bring you the answers to all of your derby-related questions. All questions you pose will be completely anonymous, so feel free to come up with your own fun pseudonym or Jam will make one for you. Send your questions to advice@derbylife.com.



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