The Purposeful Minimum: A Tool for Lazy Skaters That Want to Cross Train

The title for this article is a little facetious.

A lot of skaters that don’t cross train 5 to 6 times a week for 60 to 90 minutes often joke about being lazy. Some skaters don’t even start working out off-skates because the cross training schedules that exist for roller derby skaters seem insane.

But wanting a cross training program that fits into your life while still meeting your goals isn’t crazy. And it isn’t impossible.

It’s about finding your Purposeful Minimum.

If you’ve been following along at home, you know that so far this month I’ve covered:

Hopefully, somewhere nearby, you have your goals and your skating schedule written down because we’re about to (finally!) discuss the amount of cross training you should do.

But first, a truth bomb:

You don’t really need to cross train that much if you’re skating in-season because you’re already doing a shit ton. (That’s a very scientific measurement.)

Even if skating and practices are comparatively easy for you now because you’re a crusty old veteran, you’re still putting your body through the wringer 2 to 3 (or maybe even 4 or more) times a week.

On top of league meetings, volunteer hours, and — you know — life you don’t have time for anything crazy. You don’t want to spend hours cross training off-skates, but you do want to be a better skater. Or prevent injury. Or stay in shape. Or…{insert your goal here}.

You need to make what you do a purposeful match for your goals.

That’s where the Purposeful Minimum comes in: Do the minimum amount of something required to meet your goal. This something usually refers to a variable like time, intensity, volume, etc.

As amateur athletes, let’s face it, we’re most often pressed for time. So this article is going to discuss the Purposeful Minimum as a way to cross train effectively without spending hours everyday at it.

How do you do it?

  1. You have to set your goals. CHECK.
  2. You have to set the schedule you’re cross training around. CHECK.
  3. You have to decide how often you want to cross train.
  4. You need to match the type of cross training to your goals.
  5. Start!
  6. Some others that we’ll cover as the month goes on.
This is STEP 3 — How often should you cross train?

After my season of crazy intense cross training, I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t cross train more than 3 times a week. This decision was based on what I wanted, what I thought I could live with, and what seemed reasonable.

The answer to the above question — as irritating as this is — is that it depends.

That answer comes up a lot in Intelligent Cross Training because YOU are not me. What works for me may not work for you. You may want more cross training time. You may be able to live with less. Your definition of “reasonable” is probably different than mine. (You’ll also find [SPOILER ALERT!] that what works for you now many not work for you later. So you get to go through these steps again. Yay!)

But there are some ground rules. Actually, they’re really more guidelines. And they can give you a starting point for scheduling out your cross training days in amongst your practice times.

1) The Practice SeeSaw

This is a pretty simple idea that a lot of skaters miss because we want to do ALL THE THINGS!

Put your practices on one end of a seesaw and your cross training days on the other. In order to keep the seesaw working — because balance is the goal with Intelligent Cross Training — you need to adjust the demands on your time accordingly.

If practices increase, cross training decreases.

If practices decrease, cross training increases to make up for it.

Yes, there are times when this isn’t true (bout weeks, injuries, stressful work schedules), but it’s a good place to start your planning.

2) The Inigo Montoya Rule

Don’t trust anyone with six fingers on their right hand.

And also, try to keep your workout sessions to a number you can count on one hand (whether you have 5 fingers or a dastardly 6).

In English? If you practice 3 times a week, cross train 2-3 times for a total of 5-6. If you practice 2 times a week, cross train 3-4 times for a total of 5-6.

I’ve already shared the schedule that I was following earlier this season. And if you’re on my email list, you’ve received at least one version of the taper workouts that I use for bout weeks.

The phrase “workout sessions” is to remind you that even if you cross train and attend practice on the SAME DAY, that’s still 2 sessions.

You might find that this amount of cross training versus practicing doesn’t help you reach your goal. That’s okay. Then you adjust from there.

However, this a great (and safe) place to start.

3) Pay Attention to Biofeedback

This is a fancy ass way of telling you to listen to your body. I had to phrase it like this because I wrote another blog article all about how I HATE the phrase “listen to your body”.

I’ll be honest. I make almost every skater I work with start within these guidelines. And they complain and bitch and moan that they aren’t working out enough. They don’t want to only cross train 3 days a week. They don’t want to end their workout not feeling complete gassed. And I tell them all the same thing:

 The quiet places that you allow when you’re not frantically busy are where you start to learn how to do it.

By “it”, of course, I mean listening to your body. I just didn’t want to have to bold and italicize that phrase.

Take the extra time to be aware of your body and how it feels. Don’t assign value to yourself for being tired or wired or anything else. Just notice it. (And write it down in your cross training log. Which we’ll get to.) Because it will give you WAAAAY more information about how your cross training is working for you than your 27 lap time.

Take out your monthly calendar that you wrote all your practices on.

Spend some time deciding which days that you want to cross train based on the guidelines above. Put a star on those days.

You don’t have to know WHAT you’re doing yet — that’s next!! — but map out a plan for how you’ll change or manipulate your off-skates work based on your on-skates schedule.

Want more?

Reset your training this year by building a habit of consistent training and giving your lungs and legs a boost to start the year.

The 30/30/30 Challenge is for you if you’ve been struggling to train, but know that you need to. If you want a quick, “easy” program that will get you back into the habit of training and start you off on the right skate for your season.

  • 3 workouts per week to build your strength and cardio using basic moves and minimal equipment.
  • Coaching videos for EVERY exercise so you can get your form locked in.
  • Weekly emails to keep you motivated and give you tips for making each training day effective.
  • Quick. Super quick. 30 minutes or less each day.

This is the program you need to get you ready for the season, break you out of your rut, and kick your legs (and lungs) into gear. One month to regain your consistency.

Will you accept the challenge?



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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