The Biggest Mistakes You’re Making with your Workouts

Posted on: January 30th 2013

If you ever feel like you’re failing to make progress and get ahead, despite all the training you do for derby, it could be because you’re making one of these classic and common training mistakes.

1. Not Taking Rest Days

Over-training is a recipe for injury and burnout. Your muscles need a chance to repair themselves from time to time. Plus any potential chronic issues bubbling under the surface (like a twinge in your ankle that you’ve barely noticed) could worsen without the time off. Aim for at least one rest day per week; ten days max without a break.

2. Not Eating

Eating before practice or a workout gives your body the electrolytes and fuel it needs to function properly. Without it, you’ll burn out sooner and be more lethargic than if you’d had a snack. And it’s not just your muscles that suffer: derby requires an uber-alert brain for track awareness, timing a hit, and reacting to your opponent. A tired, underfed brain will hurt your game.

After a workout, you need to re-fuel (ideally within 20 minutes, according to popular wisdom) so you can go out and do it again the next day. Not eating depletes your body and your brain. Don’t be a goof, feed yourself!

3. Only doing short intense cardio workouts

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and speed work are great for improving your derby game, but if you want to improve your endurance, you won’t get there by focusing exclusively on these workouts. Your body will benefit from the variety of some longer, lower-heart-rate workouts (sometimes called Steady State workouts) thrown in. Working at a lower intensity threshold will improve your aerobic base – from there you can build your sprinting ability.

4. Only doing long slow cardio workouts

On the flip side, if all you do to cross-train is go bang out a light jog for an hour a couple of times a week, then your body is missing out on the bursts of speed and power that you need on the track. Mix it up and include some higher-intensity workouts that involve intervals or plyometric exercises. Check out the free workout videos on this site for some examples.

5. Using machines at the gym

If you’re doing strength work using weight, bravo – this is a great way to improve your game. But if you’re using the machines at the gym, you’re probably not getting the maximum benefit from your time spent pumping the ol’ iron.  Using free weights is generally more effective and challenging to your body, because you’ll use muscles – not machines –  to stablize your body and the weight. You’ll be recruiting more muscles to make that happen, and gaining more functional strength as a result. Get fancy using BOSU balls, physio balls, exercise bands, cables, and other fun gym gear and you’ll see even bigger gains. Get a trainer at the gym to show you how – you can probably ask nicely and get this for free!

Have a look at your routine – if you’re making any of these goofs, see if you can make some easy changes to improve your awesomeness. Better not harder!!

2 thoughts on “The Biggest Mistakes You’re Making with your Workouts

  1. May I add one? NOT SLEEPING. C’mon people. Get your rest! Trust me, I know how hard it is, especially when you get home late and all wound up from an amazing practice. Get your shut-eye on the regular!

    1. Oh man – you’re so right!! I am planning to devote a whole column to this in the near future Chrome Molly!

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