Sunday, August 05, 2012
Increasing Endurance for Derby Girls who need to go the distance!
The dreaded 25 in 5! It's a goal that must be achieved if a prospective derby girl wants to be "bench-marked." Bench-marked = ability to scrimmage in full-contact derby! And, for those that aren't in the derby crowd, 25 in 5 means getting around the derby oval 25 times in 5 minutes--it takes speed and endurance! It means not just agility on skates with the ability to propel yourself with economy of movement around the track, you also need the lung power to be able to maintain the speed for the full 5 minutes.
So, assuming you can now skate, what is the quickest way to increase that lung power?
I have 1 word for you... actually, let's make that 2 words. Interval Training. There are many, many different protocols you can use for your interval training, but the basic idea is you get your heart rate up to an intense level for short periods of time and intersperse that with active rest periods. What we mean by "active" rest is not stopping completely but enough to get your breath back.
Interval training will increase your lung capacity quickly to increase your speed and endurance--it will also keep your metabolism up for an extended period of time (bonus for weight loss).
Ideally you want to get your heart rate up to 70 - 85% of your maximum heart rate for short periods but, if you are starting from an "unconditioned" state I would suggest using a Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) of 6 - 8 and make these periods quite short to start with. The Rate of Perceived Exertion goes from 1 (no exertion) to 10 (you can't catch your breath). Eight would roughly be - you cannot maintain a conversation and continue the activity.
Intervals can go from 20 seconds to multiple minutes, but, when you're starting out, you may want to go with intervals as low as 20 seconds of "work" to 20 seconds of "rest" and gradually increase your "work" intervals.
One protocol I like to use is the Tabata protocol which uses 8 intervals of 20 seconds of work to 10 seconds of rest for a 4 minute period. As one of my boot camp clients says "you can do anything for 20 seconds!" This protocol may be particularly useful for derby when you are aiming for an eventual 5 minutes of work. So, go hard for 20 seconds, slow down for 10 -- repeat 8 times. Done!
To use this protocol you need a timer--you can generally purchase interval timers from your local sports store or on-line--you need something that will let you use at least 2 different intervals and cycle between them. I have used the Gymboss timer in the past. It costs around $20 and clips onto your clothes--very handy! There are also many interval applications for iPhone and Smart Phones -- not so handy to hang onto if you're running or skating -- ok if you can put it down somewhere and crank the volume enough to be able to hear it (like maybe the center of your derby oval).
Also, you do not need to limit your endurance training to on-skates. Try this protocol with running, skipping (a plyometric exercise that's intense and doesn't require much space or equipment), biking, etc. Cross-training is the best way to keep your training fresh -- you can also do it when you don't have access to a skating surface.
Soon that 25 in 5 will be a walk in the park!
There are many, many articles on-line about the benefits of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). I encourage you to explore for yourself but a couple of good links: