How To Start Strength Training (for those that aren’t currently training)

Sometimes you don’t start something because you feel like you should have started it a long time ago and now you’re embarrassed that you’re not doing it.

AND you still have no idea where to start.

That’s how I felt when I finally decided to take make the jump to training off-skates after just attending practice for months and months on end.

What finally lead to my decision to start strength training?

  • I wanted to be a better skater.
  • I was sick of getting injured.
  • I felt guilty.

Not the greatest reasons. BUT THEY WORKED.

Looking back, I jumped in too hard and too fast. I would have been better off easing myself into things. But that’s just not my style.

And I didn’t know what I didn’t know.

If you’re ready to start making the jump to off-skates training (or ramp up your current off-skates training) there’s a way to progress yourself there safely.

Here it is:

1) Bodyweight Programs

Bodyweight programs can get a bad rap from the athletic crowd, but they have a ton of value. Especially if you’re just starting out.

A good bodyweight program eases you into the rigors of training, helps you teach your body how to move, increases your balance and proprioception, and lays the foundation for massive strength gains.

I saw a quote today that reminded me of the importance of starting with a bodyweight program: “Move well first. Then move more.”

The body awareness that you build up at the beginning of your journey, in bodyweight programs, is what will help you take your strength training in the gym to the more dynamic environment of the track. You have to get your body parts (and brain!) talking to each other.

The following bodyweight programs come highly recommended:

  1. Iron Octopus Fitness — Stability & Mobility Program (of course)
  2. Roller Derby Athletics — Basics Builder
  3. NERD Fitness — Beginner Bodyweight Workout
  4. GMB — Integral Strength (or really any program you feel drawn to)

2) Dumbbell Programs

These are a great way to start adding resistance safely. Dumbbells start out light and end up massive. (Have you ever seen 110-pound dumbbell? That thing is huge.)

You want to make sure that your form and proprioception from your bodyweight programs carryover to lifting weight and pushing for strength and muscle.

The other benefit to dumbbell programs is that they can usually be done at home with household objects or dumbbells — adjustable or fixed.

3) Barbell Programs

Barbell programs are usually at the top of the difficulty pyramid only because you can move SO MUCH MORE weight with a barbell than a dumbbell or your body. There’s often a greater potential for injury.

BUT it’s an incredibly important step in your strength training. If you are doing it right, you’ll WANT to lift more. You’ll be ABLE to lift more. And barbells can help with that.

Your form and proprioception still don’t change here, just the amount of weight you’re lifting and where the weight is placed.


Start Here.

The Stability & Mobility Program comes from my years of working as a New Skater Trainer. There’s always such a huge focus on the on-skates skills, that skaters and trainers often forget to emphasize something equally important: preparing our bodies to be athletic.

This 6-week bodyweight program is designed specifically for new roller derby athletes and exercises to help:

👉 Increase overall stability and balance
👉 Get (and stay) lower while skating
👉 Start building muscular endurance and strength
👉 Boost bodily control (and control on-skates)

Get All The Details Here.


About IronOctopusFitness

Online athletic training and nutrition coach, full-time mom, okay skater, and connoisseur of all things tea, chocolate, and roller derby. I'll help you unleash your inner athlete by building a strong, capable body that can withstand whatever life throws at you.

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