London Rollergirls Last Bout of the Season

This could finally be the year the Ultraviolent Femmes win the London Rollergirls championship, but they’ll have to get through the Suffra Jets first on June 9th. Not enough for you? The lovely ladies of the Paris Rollergirls are our guests this time, facing off against the Steam Rollers. Season 4 Bout 6, last chance to see our league teams this year, tickets on sale this evening!

Get your tickets here, it’s going to be awesome!


Interval Training

Interval training is something that has helped me a lot recently–especially with jamming. It is perfect for roller derby because it enables you to perform at your maximum capacity for short periods of time and then recover quickly. Interval training is a type of training that involves short periods of high intensity exercise followed by periods of low intensity exercise for recovery that are repeated during one exercise session. It can be done using most types of cardiovascular exercise but running, cycling and rowing are most common.

How interval training works

Interval training uses both the aerobic and anaerobic system as fuel for the body to exercise. During the periods of high intensity, the anaerobic system uses glycogen stored in the muscles as fuel. The anaerobic system fuels your muscles without oxygen and produces lactic acid. In the periods of low intensity, the body breaks down the lactic acid that has built up.

It is thought that by performing high intensity intervals that produce lactic acid during training, the body adapts and burns lactic acid more efficiently during exercise. This means athletes can exercise at a higher intensity for a longer period of time before fatigue or pain slows them down.

In roller derby, a bout is made up of two 30-minute periods. Each period is made up of a series of jams, which can last up to two minutes with a 30-second break in between. Ideally, we need to train so that the body is able to cope with the worst case scenario under these circumstances. The worst case scenario is that each jam will last the full two minutes and that skaters will be required to go on in consecutive jams. This means that skaters need to be able to exert themselves at maximum capacity for a full two minutes and recover in 30 seconds and keep this going for a period of 30 minutes before having a substantial break. In reality, this would rarely happen as jams often get called off before the full two minutes and skater line-ups are switched so that each skater gets enough time to rest. It is possible to train for this using interval training.

The benefits of interval training

Interval training helps to improve performance and increase speed and endurance by increasing the body’s ability to deliver oxygen to the working muscles, which is also known as cardiovascular efficiency. It also produces an increased tolerance to the build-up of lactic acid. It also helps athletes to increase the intensity of their training without over-training and therefore helps avoid injuries caused by repetitive overuse. Many sources also claim that more calories are burned during periods of high intensity exercise as opposed to slow, endurance exercise. It is a great way of cross training for many different sports, roller derby being only one of them.

Interval training routines

Every person should work out their own individual interval training routine based on their level of fitness and what they want to achieve from their training. It is best for beginners to start with shorter periods of intensity and longer periods of rest and gradually build up the level and duration of intensity, duration and frequency of training, and reduce the periods of rest to speed up recover time.

Safety tips for interval training

  • Always warm up for at least 5 minutes before any interval training
  • You should be in good health and have a good level of basic aerobic fitness before performing any type of high intensity training. Interval training is very demanding on the heart, lugs and muscles
  • Set yourself realistic goals based on your level of fitness
  • Start slowly with longer periods of rest between intervals of high intensity
  • Build up the intensity and duration slowly over an extended period of time
  • Always cool down and stretch after training

Cross Training for Roller Derby: Snowboarding

After spending the last week on the slopes of the French Alps, i find myself even more in love with snowboarding than ever before. While I was out there I realised that this was the first time I had been snowboarding since I started playing roller derby and it immediately became obvious that the sport is a great way to cross train for roller derby.

Snowboarding was developed in the USA in the 1960s to 1970s. It was inspired by skateboarding, sledging, skiing and surfing and became a Winter Olympic Sport in 1998. It began in 1965 when Sherman Poppen invented a toy called the ‘snurfer’ for his daughter by fastening two skis together and attaching a rope to one end so she would have some control as she stood on the board and glided downhill. The snurfer became so popular among his daughter’s friends that Poppen licensed the idea to a manufacturer and began organizing competitions for poeple all over the USA.

During the ’60s and ’70s, skateboarder Tom Sims and surfer Dimitrije Milovich consequently invented the first snowboards using improved designs based on the original ‘snurfer’. It was, however, Jake Burton Carpenter who invented the first snowboards with bindings in 1977 and then founded Burton Snowboards that same year.

Jake Burton Carpenter

During the 1970s and 1980s as snowboarding became more popular, pioneers such as Chuck Barfoot and Mike Olson  also came up with new designs for boards and mechanisms that slowly developed into the snowboards and other related equipment that we know today.

In 1982 the first National Snowboard race was held near Woodstock, Vermont and the first World Championship halfpipe competition was held at Soda Springs, California in 1983. Snowboarding was recognised as an official sport in 1985 and the first ever World Cup was held in Zurs, Austria.  The International Snowboarding Federation was founded in 1990 to provide universal contest regulations and snowboarding has now become so popular that high-profile snowboarding events like the Winter X Games, Air & Style, US Open, Olympic Games and other events are broadcast worldwide.

Shawn White

While I was snowboarding last week, I realised very quickly that snowboarding uses all the same muscles as playing roller derby, especially as it involves maintaining a squat position much like derby position for the majority of the time. The quadriceps and hamstrings play a large part in snowboarding and maintaining that squatting position requires and trains strength and muscular endurance in these areas – perfect for roller derby.  And, similarly, the lower you are the better you balance will be.

As with roller skating, the hip and glute muscles are used to help you steer and carve so snowboarding is a great workout for these muscles as well. In fact, as with roller derby, the lower body does the majority of the work in snowboarding.  However, this doesn’t mean the upper body is neglected. As with skating the core provides the root of all stability in snowboarding so it is also a great one for core strengthening. Balance is a key part of snowboarding as well so it provides excellent proprioceptive training.  This is being able to sense the position, location, orientation and movement of the body and its parts, another vital aspect of all skating sports.
And, above all, it is awesome fun and I would highly recommend it to anyone.

DIY Training Tried and Tested

As going to the gym isn’t always the most convenient, or financially viable option, I’m always on the lookout for other effective ways to train DIY style. However, it’s hard to get motivated to make up your own training programme and while you may have every intention of doing 100 squats while watching TV, it doesn’t always happen as the sofa is sometimes just too comfy.

I’ve recently tried out a few training apps to try and build in some more fitness to my daily routine. Cycling to work as often as possible is the best way I’ve found to build some exercise into most days. I recently started using MapMyRide to help me use my journeys to and from work as another form of training and so i can better understand the benefits of doing so. This app is very useful as it maps your route as you cycle, records the distance, speed, pace, elevation and even calories burned based on your height/weight. You can also set yourself challenges and it has training programmes which you can follow to achieve certain goals. The only part of this app that I have found a bit disappointing is the nutrition facility. It mostly acts as a calorie counter and while it is good to know the nutritional content of what you eat and how much you should be eating in terms of calories every day based on your height, weight and how much exercise you do, it seems very slow and trying to find every item of food I have eaten in a day on a very long list is quite time consuming and not very interesting. In terms of training, this app is very good, but if it’s nutrition you’re after, there are plenty of apps dedicated to that which would probably be more effective. MapMyRun is a very similar app specifically for running and MapMyFitness works the same way but is very good for comprehensively tracking all the different types of training you do.

Yoga is something I would really like to do more of at home, especially after practice because I find stretching helps balance out the other training really well but I don’t feel I have a comprehensive enough understanding of it to work out my own sessions. I have tried out quite a few yoga apps and still have yet to find a good one. Most of them seem to either consist of programmes of static poses or a tiny figure that is barely visible demonstrating a routine. Perhaps yoga is something that doesn’t lend itself particularly well to the app format, but let me know if you find a good one.

NIke Training Club is my favourite training app so far. It gives you several different options based on what you want to get out of your workout so you can choose to ‘Get Lean’, ‘Get Toned’, ‘Get Strong’, or ‘Get Focused’ and they can all be done at beginner, intermediate or advanced levels. These are structured really well and are easy to follow and there are also useful video demonstrations of each of the exercises which you can refer to and then carry on with your workout. you can choose between 45, 30 and 15 minute workouts so it’s perfect for getting a sneaky bit of training in before work in the morning. You do need some equipment such as small free weights and a medicine ball for some of the exercises but most can be done without.

My favourite home training facility is the Roller Derby Workout DVD, it has a fabulous rock n roll soundtrack and is highly entertaining. The workout is actually very thorough and especially designed for roller derby. It can be done on or off skates but the skates provide more resistance, especially for the abs and legs sections of the workout. The only thing missing from this is that it doesn’t work your arms or back very much so it has to be balanced out with other training but it’s quite good fun to do if you have a bit more time.

More Roller Derby Nutrition

Unfortunately, i was unable to attend the Rocky Mountain UK bootcamp this summer but the lovely Nell posted these very useful notes on nutrition that she took from the RMRG skaters on our forum. Very useful information indeed!

The following is for 1-2hrs high intensity exercise only…not for endurance or otherwise.

Before: 1-2hrs before, fuel immediate foods like banana, berries, mangoes, figs, especially dates & pineapple. Basically any SIMPLE carbs. These convert straight into energy.

Remember, protein builds, not fuels muscle. It is important after, but not before exercise.

If you eat properly before, you should not need to eat during a bout. If you do need to eat, only eat simple carbs again and nothing diffucult to digest like a museli bar.

During: The idea is that you should never want to eat or feel hungry or thirsty during exercise. This is a sign of bad nutrition…ie: you did not follow the first step properly.

You need to be replacing electrolytes as you go, not afterwards. So drink sports drinks, coconut water, powdered sports drinks. Basically you need to be replacing the trace minerals, potassium and sodium that your body is eliminating as you work out.

Note: that if you drink this before exercise, you most likely will pee it out before you play.

Try sparkling mineral water with apple juice. Bremen hockey team do this and add a tiny amount of salt.

Avoid mass marketed sports drinks if you can. Coconut water is best. Powdered drinks like ultima (in the US) are also great, gluten & gmo free.

Immediately After: Within 20 minutes of finishing exercise. You need to be eating no fat, no fiber as this slows the release of energy back into the blood stream and slows you body’s ability to get rid of lactic acid.

Your muscles need carbs to recover. Lots of carbs. Liquid gels are good.

Recovery: About an hour after exercise you need to have a healthy, nutrient and omega rich, balanced meal.

Legumes, lentils, peas, seeds, nuts, greens, fruit, lean meat or fish for protein.

Protein is most important at this stage.
Daily, humans should only need 0.8 grams of protein per kilo per day, so you may not need as much as some sources suggest.

Examples of proteins/grams of protein per cup:
Chickpeas – (12 grams protein)
Lentils – (18 grams)
Black beans – (15 grams)
Pinto beans – (12 grams)
Quinoa – (9 grams)

Meat has a higher protein content per serving.

In instances where you are doing a lot of exercise in a day, you would not do the recovery phase until an hour after your last exercise for the day. If you don’t you would risk cramping.

Protein drinks should not be a crutch, but this is preferable to skipping this stage completely.

Supplements Info:

Taking multivitamins is a good idea for many people, but there are other supplements that can help with particular complaints.

Inflammation – Over time, the use of ibuprofen and paracetamol or codine will be very taxing on your liver.

Instead, natual alternatives include ginger & tumeric with black pepper can be incorporated into cooking, teas, some in pill form etc. This will obviously not have the same strength of effectiveness as a regular pain killer or anti-inflamatory, but is preferable and in some cases has a cumulative effect.

Joint pain – Glucosamine/Condroitin (Shellfish), hydralaunic acid (Vegetarian option and this works immediately whereas the non vege options take time to build up in your system).

Fatigue – CO Q10

Vitamin D….get some sun! Or eat mushrooms.

An alternative to energy drinks are yerba mate. This is full of antioxidants, trace minerals, chlorophyll. Green tea is also excellent.

Fit Test Training Programme for Rollergirls

Summer is supposedly here but there’s still time to get in shape as we have yet to experience that heatwave here in London town. I know I could definitely do with this as I’ve been stuck indoors working too hard lately and it’s been taking it’s toll on the track.

You can download the Insanity Fit Test Card here:

Perform the moves listed on the Fit Test Card. Do as many reps as you can in one minute then record your results after every exercise. In a few weeks you should really be able to notice the difference!

Happy training.

Training for the Bout

It’s less than a week to go untill our first internal bout which means exciting times for the rookie rollergirls of London. The tactics have been discussed, the skate-out song has been chosen and the hotpants have been ordered. Now all I need to do is get training and prepare myself as much as possible in the next 6 days. It’s not long but I think every little helps.

This is a great workout for strength and agility:

10 squat jumps

20 spider man push ups

20 jumping lunges

1 min plank

20 walking lunges

20 low backward walks

20 1 leg squats (10 on each leg)

20 static crossovers

Repeat x 4

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