Active Recovery for your Shitty Left Plow Stop

Because Santa didn’t deliver on your left-footed plow stop this year…

And you’re not holding out hope that Cupid, St. Paddy, or the Easter Bunny will come through either.

From the hilarious Roller Derby Problems.

It’s an old joke in roller derby: the left-footed plow stop is far away and unattainable. Only for those that sacrifice their firstborns or are part unicorn-dragon-sasquatch.

The reality is that we spend so much time doing the opposite of the movement our bodies need to master the plow stop on the left side, that it shouldn’t be a surprise that we struggle with it mightily.

Think about it.

Doing crossovers and working your butt off to pass your 27-in-5 or beat the current land speed record on your team causes your left leg to constantly adduct. Where your leg is using certain muscles to pull it towards (and past) the midline of your body.

Our bodies don’t do this naturally. We have to train it in. Remember how awkward crossovers felt at first? This is a big reason why.

But plow stops — both single and double footed — require your legs to abduct, pushing away from the midline of your body.

When you’re constantly working in one direction, the opposite movement becomes a little sticky.

The good news is that this is easy to fix. It just takes 10-15 minutes every day (or every other day) to see massive improvements in your ability to PUSH OUT with your leg.

The great news is that undoing this imbalance can also help with any nagging hip pain you might have. You have it, don’t you?

The bad news is that it won’t magically give you the ability to do a left-footed plow stop. (You’ll have to actually work on that.) But…it can make it easier.


Prone Breathing x 8

This won’t impact your ability to move your leg away from your body at the hip, but it does help fire up your central nervous system and prime your body to do physical movements. There are also benefits to learning how to breathe deeply both from an athletic performance perspective and a mental toughness perspective. Don’t skip this.

Dead Bug x 10 per side*

Again, not a lot of work on your leg adduction here. But…your anterior core needs work, too. So let’s sneak it in, yeah? This exercise DOES help to strengthen the muscle around the hip which helps with hip stability and can eliminate some of those nagging aches and pains you have that make you wonder if you’ve pulled your hip flexor…


Band Resisted Clamshells x 10 per side*

Into the meat of the issue. I’ll tell you right now that your body will try to cheat you on this move. Get your hips stacked directly on top of each other and back up to a wall so that you can’t lean forward or backward to rely on different muscles to get the job done. This isn’t about how big your range of motion is, it’s about retraining your glutes to abduct. And yes, seriously, put your hand on your butt.

You can also start without bands, if necessary.

TRAINING PSA NUMBER 1: Touch your butt. 🍑 . If you’re trying to get your glutes stringer (which you should be) you have to make sure THEY actually do the job. Trust me, your butt muscles are lazy af and will do nothing if you let them. . When doing glute specific exercises where you have a hand free, give that booty a little smack to make sure those muscles are actually contracting. . Check out the link in my profile for some butt specific exercises you can do because they: . 👉 help you get faster. 👉 build up your balance and stability. 👉 reduce nagging hip and low back pain. . Build that ass. Do more #buttstuff. . . . #ironoctopusfitness #intelligentcrosstraining #trainlikeanathlete #rollerderby #offskatestraining #offskates #prehab #warmup #buildabooty #turndownforbutt #buttsbuttsbutts #derbystrong #derbyfit #painfreeperformance

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Band Resisted Leg Raises x 10 per side*

Second verse, same as the first. Kind of. Still working on abduction here, just a slightly different movement. Instead of hinging the hip outward — like in the clamshell– you’re lifting it straight up. If you start to crimp at the waist, you’re trying to push your range of motion too far. Tone it down. Geez.

Same notes as the above exercise: back against the wall, hips stacked, hand on the glute, start without the band if needed.


Side Plank x 30s per side*

The side plank is forcing your leg to constantly engage the muscles that abduct to keep your body in a straight line. That’s why it’s great. Use whatever progression is MOST CHALLENGING, but still allows you to get to 30 seconds without rest.


* Go through starred exercises again. (2 times total)

This full active recovery/prehab/warm-up sequence should take you 15 minutes tops. Go quickly for each exercise to the next and keep your brain focused on the muscles that are supposed to be working. It’s time to rebuild the connection between those muscles and your brain.


  1. Stability Ball Breathing instead of Dead Bugs: 8-10 breathes. A hard squeeze of the ball on every exhale and keep your lower back pressed into the ground. You can mix and match these, choose the easiest option, or the hardest one. Or do both!
  2. Psoas Marches instead of Dead Bugs: 10 per side. If you choose to do stability ball breathing in lieu of the dead bug, then tack on this exercise too. Again, keep your lower back pressed into the ground. Use a mini band for resistance and work those hip flexors. Yes, they need it.
  3. Side Plank with Clamshell instead of Band Resisted Clamshell and Side Plank: 10 per side. Want the challenge of walking and chewing gum at the same time? This is your exercise. Two exercises for the price of one. Do all the things.
  4. Adductor Side Plank instead of Side Plank: 30 seconds per side. The side plank might feel too easy or you’ve decided to mash it together with your clamshells. This is the next step up. You probably aren’t spending a ton of time strengthening your inner thigh which helps to push your leg forward (or back) as you push out for your plow. Get on it.
  5. Add on the Quadruped Leg Lift: 10 per side. The challenge here is high and you really need to focus on control the tilt of your hips to get the most out of it. I love this move to really connect your brain and your hip movements, but don’t cheat!

Add this quickie recovery workout to your training days or active recovery days and see if you can earn those left-footed plows that weren’t gifted to you during the holidays. Warning: hip popping may occur. As long as it’s pain-free, keep abducting!

Want more?

Use this warm-up with my FREE 30/30/30 Training Program to boost your cardio for the new season or break you out of your post-holiday funk. Time to rebuild that cross-training habit!

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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