Knees. They are pretty important in Roller Derby as in life and we should do everything we can to protect them. They tend to take quite a battering in our sport – repetitive movements, off-skates training, derby stance, jumping/hopping/leaping and knee falls, both intentional and accidental – can all take a toll. If you already have a propensity for dodgy knees (like me) then Derby can really bring the worst out in them.
First of all, invest in some decent knee pads. Don’t be a cheapskate, get the best you can afford because you need your knees for the rest of your life. Get some gaskets to for extra support and padding as well as to help keep your knee pads in place. Ask fellow skaters for their recommendations for pads, try theirs on and make sure you get some that really fit.
Weak squat bro
If the only squatting you’ve ever done is over a festival toilet, you probably aren’t squatting properly, which means you probably aren’t in correct derby stance. If you knees cave in when you squat, you are putting a hell of a lot of pressure on your knees. If you do that for extended periods of time or move like that repetitively, you are going to end up with an injury. Add to that falling and landing hard on your knees as newbies tend to then you’re going to be in for a rough ride.
Lets talk about your butt
As you can see from my fantastic modelling photos above, your knees should be tracking though the middle of your foot when you squat, and your knees shouldn’t go any further forward than your toes. The muscles that help you do that are mainly your glutes, especially the side, or lateral, areas of your glutes. All that junk in your trunk is what “pulls” your knees outwards into proper alignment. If we strengthen that beautiful booty, we’ll be able to squat better and have healthier knees. In my eyes, when it comes to butts, the bigger the better!
BONUS: Not only does having a big bum help to protect you from knee pain and make you look awesome in hot pants, it also increases power, strength and speed. Check out some of the top athletes in the world and you will often see a common theme – a peachy rear!
Stretch it out
As I’ve shown you before, tight calf muscles can stop you getting a decent squat but so can tight hip flexors.
Your hip flexors are powerful muscles that get used a lot and so can become tight, especially when they are constantly shortened from being sat down all the time.
As the hip flexors come around from the lower back and into the hips then down the thigh towards the knee, tight ones can really throw off your alignment, putting a hell of a lot of stress on those knee joints. So we really need to work on stretching those bad boys out!
Now the science bit is over, lets get down to the routine!
You can perform this routine twice through everyday to build a strong foundation in your legs and butt, or use it as a pre-workout mobilising warm up.
Once you’ve built up a good foundation of strength, you can then progress onto more advanced strength training programs adding in resistance, weight and explosive movements.
- Glute Bridge 30 seconds
- Side lying leg raise x 10 per leg
- Clamshells x 10 per leg
- Kneeling straight leg raise x 10 per leg
- Donkey kicks x 10 per leg
- Bird Dogs x 10 per side
- Hip Flexor Stretch 20 seconds per leg
Treble xGet Fitter Faster Stronger Now