Bulletproof Knees

By Jane Martin, B.S. Sport and Exercise Science

You play roller derby, so you’ve probably been injured before or at least expect to be injured at some point in your derby career. It’s just something to expect when playing a full contact sport, especially on roller skates. Many skaters can go their whole derby career without serious injury, others are not so lucky. In 2007, WFTDA conducted a survey looking at the incidence of injury in roller derby. Out of the 1,070 athletes who took the survey, 574 (46%) reported an injury that kept them from participation on one or more occasions. 133 athletes (12%) reported an injury that required either emergency hospitalization or prolonged physical therapy. 262 athletes (46%) reported a knee injury, and 36 (14%) specifically mentioned injury to their PCL (posterior cruciate ligament). However, there are exercises you can add to your cross training routine to “bulletproof” your joints to reduce the likelihood of injury. Today, we’re going to talk about strengthening your knees and different exercises you can do to decrease your chance of knee injury.

Knee injuries are arguably the most common injuries in roller derby. Unfortunately, women tend to be predisposed for ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injuries (Has to do with having wider pelvises, smaller ACLs, looser ligaments, and a ton of other boring stuff) and PCL injuries are common from the combination of frequent bent knee impacts and ill-fitting knee pads. Women also tend to have more strength in their quadriceps than their hamstrings, which contributes to ligament instability in the knees. To bulletproof your knees effectively, just tack on this short routine to the end of your cross training or even use it as an off skates warm up before practice!

Bulletproof Knees

  • Marching in place – 30 seconds
  • Lunges – 15 reps each side
  • Lateral lunges – 15 reps each side
  • Skater squats – 15 reps
  • Step ups – 15 reps
  • Prone hamstring curls – 15 reps each side (Wear your skates or ankle weights for resistance!)
  • Russian hamstring curls – 10 reps (You need a partner for this one!)
  • Calf raises – 15 reps
  • Scissor jumps – 15 reps

Each exercise should take approximately 30 seconds to complete, so make sure to set aside 10 – 15 minutes to complete this routine. Perform this routine at least three times a week. Stretching is also important to injury prevention, so make sure to always stretch after practice while your muscles are still warm.

There you have it! Now you have the knowledge and material to get you some sweet bulletproof knees. You can brag to all your teammates that you could get hit by a truck and walk away from the crash while it explodes in the background because your knees are just that badass. If you are curious about how to perform these exercises, check out https://www.jefit.com/exercises/

Till next time, friends!

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