You Should Work Out.

Hey dudes. I know that it’s been a while–a lot has been going on, both in derby and Ye Olde Personal Life. Running your own business, playing roller derby, and attempting a personal life does not exactly leave a lot of time for blogging, so I have a sad folder full of blog post drafts that barely got started before I was pulled away by something else.

That will not be the story today, however! I’m here to deliver this important message, friends: if you want to get better at derby, and at life in general, you should work out.

Yeah, I know, you’re probably thinking, “but I don’t like cross-training,” or, “I can’t afford a gym membership,” or “I don’t have time to work out!” Well, my dears, GUESS WHAT?:

  • Working out produces endorphins. They’re happy-making. If you’ve had a bad day, sweating it out is damned good therapy.
  • Cross-training prevents injury! And, speaking from experience, there’s nothing much worse than being injured.
  • When you do a thing consistently and see yourself improve, that’s pretty empowering. I mean, you’ve experienced that through derby, right? The same principle applies to push-ups.
  • You don’t have to go to a gym to work out. You don’t even need a bunch of wacky equipment to do it–bodyweight training can do wonders.
  • YOU TOTALLY HAVE TIME TO WORK OUT. Even a few minutes a day can make a difference.

DISCLAIMER: Before I talk about workout options, it’s on you to take a look at what you’re already doing, and seeing if it’s not enough, just right, or too much. I wrote about Overtraining a while back, and being overtrained is NOT FUN, so pledge to give yourself at least one complete rest day each week.

I’m a big fan of workouts that are short, intense, and effective, so this list is especially for you I-Don’t-Have-Time complainers. Here’s a quick run-down and review of a few workout resources that clock in 20 minutes or less, and are guaranteed to get you sweating.

Roller Derby Athletics

This site is a pretty stellar resource for derby players–the workouts are demonstrated in video form by Booty Quake, a skater for Terminal City, so she’s intimately familiar with the training needs of derby players. She offers a nice mix of full-body workouts, and workouts that address specific issues.

The Great: The derby-specific focus is my favorite thing about this site. Got issues with balance? Want to protect your knees from injury? Need to strengthen your core? Trying to build explosive power? Whatever the issue is, you’ll likely find a workout here that addresses it, so you can tailor your workout time to your needs. The exercises here also require little-to-no equipment–if you have a carpeted floor or yoga mat, you’re basically good-to-go.

The Not-So-Great: Some of these workouts seem almost *too* short, and in some cases, not quite as intense as others you’ll see on this list. There’s usually a good reason for that, though, such as focusing on proper form or one body part. But, if you’re short on time during the day, one of these less-than-10-minute workouts will get you a hell of a lot farther than not working out at all. And if you have more time to spare, pick two and do them back-to-back.

12-Minute Athlete

12-Minute Athlete is exactly what it says it is: high-intensity, strength-building, interval workouts that clock in around 12 minutes long. There are some slightly-longer workouts (16-minute and Challenge workouts that are rep-based), but all of them clock in under 20 minutes, so you can easily fit one in before your morning shower.

The Great: There’s a nice variety of workouts here–there are workouts that are more focused on certain parts of the body, so you can choose a core-blasting routine one day, and a leg-heavy workout the next. Still, no matter which one you choose, you’ll be working hard and getting your whole body moving. Just grab an interval timing app for your phone (I use MiniHIIT on my iPhone) and you’re on your way.

The Not-So-Great: Many of these workouts do call for a piece of equipment, but most can be modified by swapping in a bodyweight-only exercise. In fact, if you’re at a more beginner level of fitness, get used to modifying your exercises–there are some pretty hardcore moves in these workouts. (seriously–how many of you can do even one Handstand Pushup?)

Rambo’s Quick ‘n’ Dirty

This is actually a series of guest posts by Rambo Sambo, featured on, the blog of Nashville skater Hoosier Honey. Rambo is also a big fan of workouts that are shorter and more intense, so all of her workouts clock in around 20 minutes, and they’re full-body workouts that will kick your butt!

The Great: Rambo does a nice job of incorporating exercises that can help you become better and more explosive at derby, in addition to conditioning your body. She also brings in some truly brutal-but-effective techniques, like Tabata intervals. If you really want to challenge yourself and try something new, this is an awesome place to start.

The Not-So-Great: While there is a written guide to the exercises Rambo has you do, there’s not as strong of a video demonstration component here, compared to some of the other options listed. There have definitely been a few times when I’ve read the description of a new exercise, and gone into the workout thinking, “well, I hope I’m about to do this right…”

30-Day Shred and Ripped in 30 (DVDs)

On some days, you need more than just a list of exercises to do. Some days, you want someone running that interval timer for you, and you need that trainer’s voice hollering at you to push through the last couple of reps. When I’m having that kind of day, I bust out a workout DVD, and it’s usually one by Jillian Michaels. Both of these DVDs feature her interval training format of 3-minute Strength, 2-minute Cardio, and 1-minute Ab segments, and they’re some of the toughest DVD workouts I’ve ever come across. This is not your mom’s obnoxiously peppy aerobics video, guys.

The Great: Both of these DVDs have multiple workouts, so you can increase your difficulty over time, and that helps you avoid plateaus in your results. They also have a dedicated demonstrator who shows modified versions of many of the exercises, in case you don’t have enough strength to do the full exercise yet–it’s a nice starting point for a beginner who wants to be challenged by her first workout, but not completely demoralized. 😉

The Not-So-Great: There has been some criticism about the form used in the kettlebell-ish moves that Jillian includes in some of her more recent videos, including Ripped in 30–so, be careful when you do those, or substitute a different move. Also, when you include the warm-up and cool-down stretch, the workout does go a little over 20 minutes. Still, you’ll be done by the 25-minute mark, so don’t you dare skip that post-workout stretch!


One response to “You Should Work Out.

  1. 30 day shred, and Ripped in 30 are what I used to start an exercise habit! I love them, your description is spot on.

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