Category Archives: Workouts and training programs



I had the privilege of guest-coaching an off-skates workout for my beloved Assassination City Roller Derby recently, and I wanted to make it available for anyone to do at home. This circuit takes 20-30 minutes, depending on how long your rest breaks are in between exercises.  You can do this pretty much anywhere – it requires no equipment and you don’t need shoes.

Off skates with Pyro – 6/29/14

Warmup (5 minutes)
Neck/shoulder/arm rolls
Windmill – stand in an A-frame, arms straight out to sides parallel to floor. Keeping arms straight bend and twist at waist to touch right toes with left hand. Return to start position and twist to touch left toes with right hand. Alternate for 20 seconds.
Marching, high knees, butt kicks
Balboas –  jogging in place while shadowboxing high in the air as if punching a speedbag
10 jumping jacks
10 cross jacks  (arms crossed in front instead of overhead)
10 squat jacks (sink into sumo squat with each jump)
Core (5-10 minutes)
Cat/cow for 15-20 sec to loosen the spine, then  30-60 seconds of each exercise with 10-15 sec rest in between.
 cat camel
Scorpions – On your stomach, elbows on ground, chest up – lift left leg and twist it across body so your toe taps the floor to the outside of your right leg.  Return to start and alternate this cross-body motion on both sides, keeping upper body still and focusing on opening up hip flexors.
Elbow plank with alternating wide toe taps
Iron cross – Lie on your back with arms straight out to sides and legs wide. Lift right leg straight across body to meet opposite hand, and return to center.  Alternate sides for x secs/reps, focusing on glutes, hips and hamstrings. (Iron cross can also be done standing as a dynamic warmup – kick leg up to meet opposite hand)
Around the world plank – one by one, lift and lower each limb slowly and with control in a clockwise fashion; reverse direction halfway through
Bridges – lie on back, knees bent, feet together, soles pressed into floor. Lift pelvis using core until torso and legs form a diagonal; squeeze glutes at the top. Keeping flutes engaged, slowly lower to floor. Repeat for 30-60 seconds.
Flutter kicks – lie on back, legs straight, hands under low back for support. Tuck pelvis and make tiny rapid fluttering kicks with feet, floating them just a  few inches off the floor while keeping upper body flat on floor.
Balance (5 minutes with no rest – just keep alternating legs for each exercise)

Basic balance: stand on one foot and slowly swing the other leg forward and back to center; out to the side and back in; and behind you and back to center.  Repeat for 30 seconds on each side.

Hip abduction: stand on one leg, raising other knee to waist height.  Abduct your hip so that you “open the gate”, with your knee pointing out to the side…you’re gonna look a bit like you’ve got a lil’ Captain in ya…then slowly adduct so your knee points forward again. Stay on the same foot and slowly repeat this open/close motion for 30 seconds.

Single leg toe touch:  stand on left foot, right foot hovering off ground in front of you. Bending @ waist, reach with right hand to touch left foot; stand up straight to complete rep. Keeping a slow, steady pace, repeat for 30 sec, then switch sides. (note: you can add a dumbbell to your toe-touching hand when you’re ready to progress this exercise)

Single leg squat with contralateral toe touch – as you squat on your right leg, touch the outside of your left foot with your right hand before standing straight up to complete one rep.  Repeat for 30 seconds on each side.


Single-leg curtsy squat with front leg swing:  shallow single leg squat, free leg bent back behind – as you stand, straighten leg and swing it in front of body, then behind for the next squat – repeat for 30 sec each side.

Cardio (5-10 minutes, depending on how long your intervals are)
Speed skaters
Mountain climbers
Reverse lunge with kick punch – from a standing position, step back with right foot into a reverse lunge.  From this position, you’ll smoothly stand as you front kick with your right leg and punch the air in front of you with your left hand @ the same time. Put some oomph behind it!  Repeat the lunge to kick-punch for 30 seconds on this side, then switch to lunge and kick with left leg as you punch with right hand for 30 seconds.
Burpees  (or cross-climber burpees)
Bonus – if you are working out with a friend or a team, throw this in at the end for one last core/cardio exercise:
Partner leg throwdown: Lie on your back, head in front of your partner’s toes, and grasp their ankles/calves for support.  You’ll lift your legs and they’ll throw them back down to the ground, alternating left, right or middle – your job is to use your core to stop your legs before they hit the ground, then immediately raise them for the next throw. Repeat for 60 seconds and switch.
Cooldown stretch (click for how-to)
Please let me know if you have any questions, if you enjoyed this workout and if you’d like to see more like this!

Mix n Match Derby Workout by Pyro Maim Ya

Sharing this far and wide by request from my beloved Assassination City Roller Derby – I guest-coached recently with an off skates workout and kinesio taping demo and as promised, I’m sharing my go-to list of off skates exercises to customize your own cross training circuit. Please feel free to share this article in its entirety with your team, league, friends, etc.

Hex Chromosome

Mix’n’match off-skates workout

 by Pyro Maim Ya of Pynk Fitness

Skating is the bees’ knees, but it won’t provide you with all the training you need to excel at roller derby. If you want to increase your flexibility, improve your core strength and balance (which go hand in hand, bee-tee-dub) and increase your quickness and agility, then I highly recommend regular off-skates training sessions.

I run a weekly off-skates workout for my league and offer personal training sessions, so I’ve amassed a collection of options for a mix and match workout you can share with your team. Just pick 2-3 exercises from each category in the order they’re laid out here; run each exercise for 30-60 seconds each or 10-15 reps each depending on exercise and skill level. All of these exercises are adaptable and the variations can be used to challenge more advanced athletes.

(Don’t forget to start with…

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Pynk Fitness now has a website!

Hooray! I’m now the proud owner of AND  Movin’ on up, feelin’ legit!

I’m exporting this blog in its entirety and will continue to write new content for my new websites. I’ve been working on a Fresh Meat Fitness series, plus I had a brainstorm recently re: a series on skating and running after ORIF (open reduction and internal fixation – or in layman’s terms, when your leg is chock full o’nuts and bolts). I’d like to review all the skate boots and running shoes I’ve tried since going Full Metal Ankle, plus give a little practical advice for anyone returning to an active lifestyle after going bionic.

Stay tuned to and for more adventures in fitness and family. Video clips are coming when it’s not so blasted cold – and now I have a handy place to archive all the recipes I teased you guys with on Facebook.

3 Beautiful Days

This past weekend, I walked in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk with my best friend of 21ish years, Shelley Huff AKA Jackie O’NiceAss. This was our 2nd year to walk together – we first participated in 2010.


I walk to honor and remember my Grandma Hazel – I also walk in celebration of survivors like Brandi Danger, whose courage & strength inspire me to move my feet.

There is no way to adequately articulate how challenging, overwhelming & fulfilling the experience was, so I will let the pics [mostly] speak for themselves.

Shivering in the dark before the Opening Ceremony:


When you’re delirious from hours of left-foot-right-foot, a life-sized sock monkey is the most comforting thing you’ve ever seen.


Still grinning @ the start of Day 3:

Elevating my legs at mile 58. Good for the circulation!

Almost there!

We did it!

We are so thankful to all of the volunteers, police officers, spectators & Walker Stalkers who helped keep us moving forward with smiles on our faces. Special thanks to these dear Walker Stalkers, who spent their weekend following us on the route & even walked with us for a portion of the last day.




My legs are still too tired to get back to my usual Tuesday long run, but it’s absolutely worth it to feel this worn out. I’m already looking forward to next year!

How to Avoid Shoulder Injuries – by Hexpert Pyro Maim Ya

Reblogging an old article today…since I worked shoulders yesterday, I’m having a hard time lifting my arms long enough to type something original. 😉

Hex Chromosome

Think shoulder injuries are no big deal in roller derby? Do enough damage and you’ll be off your skates, trust us. And unable to lift objects, carry bags on one side, sleep on one side, etc etc. From your favorite pink fitness buff, check out how to strengthen your rotator cuffs. You’re welcome for the amazing rhyme scheme. 

Strengthening Weak Rotator Cuffs by Pyro Maim Ya of Pynk Fitness

I’ve had shoulder injuries on the brain lately – a couple of my derby sisters are in slings right now and my own shoulder is whispering its discontent over the heavier lifting I’ve been doing. I learned a bit about strengthening my rotator cuffs after a nasty run-in with a brick wall in OKC a few years ago, and in conjunction with my physical therapy, this knowledge made a big difference in how quickly I was able to return to full…

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One-Exercise Workouts: the Cross-Climber Burpee

I’m a big fan of timesaving, full-body workouts that can be done virtually anywhere with no equipment.  Seriously, there are ZERO excuses to skip a workout with that kind of resume. My favorites include core work, cardio and plyometrics to keep me in top form for derby and running.

I call this a One-Exercise Workout, but it’s really a couple of exercises blended together into one super ass-kicker.  Push through these as hard and as fast as you can while maintaining your form – make sure you’re landing lightly and if you feel a sudden or sharp pain, stop immediately.  These are not for the faint of heart, so be ready to ache afterward – but the results are absolutely worth the burn.  Plus, as soon as you’re done with the set, you’re done with your workout – simple, huh?


Cross-Climber Burpee:

Start position:  standing straight, legs together, arms by sides, shoulders back.

Drop to a crouch, hands on the floor slightly in front of your feet.


Jump feet back to land in plank position.




Holding your plank, pick up right leg and twist lower body to tap right knee against left elbow.  Return to center and repeat on left side, tapping left knee to right elbow.




Return to plank (if you’re feeling particularly masochistic, you can throw in a push-up at this point) and hop legs back into a crouch.


From here, you’re going to spring up into the air!  Jump up as high as you can…arms outstretched over your head if you have the ceiling room, or clasped behind your head if your Hobbit house was built in the 1950s like mine.  Imagine your legs as springs, propelling you to the ceiling.


Land lightly in a crouch – that’s one rep!  Shoot those legs back out into a plank and hit it again!

As for sets, play around with what works for your timeframe. When I’m rushed for time, I like to do mine Tabata-style – 20 seconds of 100% effort as I do as many as I can as quickly as possible, followed by 10 seconds of rest and repeated 8 times.  That’s a 4 minute workout that hits every muscle while increasing my endurance, boosting my metabolism and making my butt look fantastic in shiny shorts. You can’t beat that with a bat.








Insert Balls Joke Here

My gym is filled with pink balls.  They’re deceptively innocent-looking, but don’t let their bouncy appearance fool you – my balls really make my clients sweat. Exercise balls are a fun way to challenge your balance and build core strength – plus a swiss ball is WAY more fun to sit on than an office chair.

I try to do this workout once every other week to mix up my usual skating, running and lifting routine. It’s a nice change of pace and the word “balls” never fails to make me smile. I run through this routine 2-3 times, resting no more than 3 minutes between each set and no more than 30 seconds between each exercise. Sometimes I’ll take the 3rd set to failure (meaning I ignore the listed number of reps and just keep going ‘til I can’t any more) – this method of training can help you push past fat loss plateaus.  Remember, the more intense your workout is, the more calories you’ll burn (and the less mindless cardio you’ll have to do).

What you’ll need:

A swiss ball (make sure you have the appropriate size for your height)

A medicine ball (6-12lbs is a good starting weight)

The workout:

Stretch and warm-up

Ball Plank: This move takes a basic elbow plank up a notch by forcing your core to work harder to stay balanced.  Hold for 30 seconds.

Elbow plank on swiss ball


** When the plank becomes too easy, you can ramp it up by doing plank rollouts: from your elbow plank position, use your arms to roll the ball 2-3 inches forward, keeping your core tight. Pause for a breath and roll ball back to start position.  Repeat 12-15 times.  You don’t need to roll it out more than a couple of inches to feel the effect of this move. I also draw tiny circles or figure 8s with the ball when I’m feeling particularly masochistic.

Ball pike to pushup: This is a compound exercise that hits pretty much every muscle! Start in a straight arm plank with feet on swiss ball.

Ball pike - neutral position

Bend knees and tuck butt under, curling ball toward body.

Ball pike tuck

Straighten legs to return to start position, then immediately do a pushup.

Ball pike pushup

Return to start position.  That’s one rep!  Do 12-15 reps of this one. Aren’t balls fun?

Trunk rotation:

Lie on your back in bridge position with your shoulders centered on your swiss ball.  Keep your core tight and let your head lie back – don’t strain your neck. Hold your medicine ball above your chest, arms straight.

Ball rotation neutral

Keeping your core tight and your legs and feet still, slowly rotate torso as far as you can to the side while maintaining balance and keeping arms straight.  Pause for a moment, then slowly return to start position, using your core to maintain balance.

Ball rotation side

Repeat on other side.  That’s one rep – aim for 12-15.

Grab a drink of water and put your swiss ball aside – time for some allover toning with your medicine ball.


Squat press:

Stand straight up, shoulders back, chest out and hold your medicine ball at chest level with your elbows near your sides.


Bend your knees and push your butt back into a squat, keeping your weight in your heels and your knees behind your toes.  (If you have knee problems, don’t take any squat below 60°)  Make sure your knees are parallel to each other and not dipping inward.  At the same time, straighten your arms at chest level and push the ball out in front of your body.  Keep your shoulders down, core tight and chest up.


Straighten legs to return to start position, squeezing your glutes as you drive through your legs to power back to standing.  Bend elbows and draw ball back to chest. Repeat 12-15 times.


Single-leg woodchops:

These are fantastic for balance and will make every square inch of your body burn.  Do these as quickly as you can with proper form and burn even more calories while building muscle all over.

Stand on right leg, left knee bent and held at waist height.  Hold your medicine ball in both hands and rest it on your knee.


Maintaining balance on your right, leg, straighten your left leg and float it diagonally off the ground as you straighten your arms and raise the medicine ball diagonally overhead to your right.


Now, quickly and forcefully bring the medicine ball down in a chopping motion as you bend your left knee and bring it back to your starting position to meet the ball. Don’t make contact with the ball with your knee – use your upper body and core to stop the motion of the ball just before they connect.  That’s one rep.  Complete 12-15 on your right leg, then shake it out and switch to your left leg.  Almost done!

Lateral lunge with medicine ball taps:

Start standing straight up, legs together, medicine ball held at chest level with elbows by sides. Take a big step to the left and bend your left knee, sinking into a side lunge. Keep that knee behind those toes!  Tap the ball on the ground in front of your left foot, then return to your start position and immediately repeat the lunge on your right side. Aim for 12-15 lunges on each side without stopping.


Roll that swiss ball back out and drape yourself across it, face up or face down, for a fantastic spinal stretch after all your hard work.  Let me know if you enjoyed this workout!  I always welcome feedback.

Plyometrics and sock derby

Our rec league, Internal Affairs, accepts new skaters at the first 2 practices of every month. These intake practices usually focus on basic on-skates skills – stops, falls, crossovers and all of the other little details that make an athlete proficient on her skates.

The problem with this structure is that it takes some skaters several months to actually play the sport – and as anyone who’s played roller derby can attest, you spend your first year of contact figuring out what you’re doing besides just turning left and bouncing off of people. We spend so much time teaching people to pass their minimum skills assessments that we don’t always get to teach them actual gameplay ‘til much later.

Then there’s the fact that many new skaters haven’t built up their fast-twitch muscle fibers yet.  Fast-twitch fiber is crucial for explosive, powerful movement, but it’s hard to develop those fibers on skates – your wheels don’t provide enough resistance with the ground to build the muscles you need to skate the way you want to.

So tonight, we did things a bit differently. I ran a full hour of cardio/endurance, plyometrics, agility, blocking/timing drills and scrimmage completely on foot.  Then we geared up and rolled for real for the last 30 minutes.

My thoughts: it mostly went exactly as planned. I had to cut the skating time a bit because we spent so much time offskates (I originally promised only 30 minutes on foot), but we needed it.  I watched lightbulbs come on over several heads as the stress of trying to figure out how to skate was removed and my girls could just concentrate on gameplay. Some of my freshest meat are the hardest hitters with the best timing when on foot!  It was enlightening and I can’t wait to try it again.

Here is the workout in its entirety.  Let me know if you have any questions or would like clarifications on any exercises or drills.

What you’ll need for this workout: a rink or other flat area to run across, preferably with a derby track already clearly marked; an agility ladder (if you don’t have one, you can use duct tape or chalk to make one on the floor/ground); shoes or socks you can run and hop in; jerseys and helmet covers.

Dynamic warm-up: neck/shoulder/arm circles, windmill toe touches, butt kicks, high knees, standing iron cross, inchworm/dogwalk series [toe touch, inchworm out to downward dog; alternate bending and straightening legs to stretch calves and hamstrings. Lift each leg and draw circles in both directions in the air before walking hands back in to toetouch, then slowly roll up, one vertebra at a time, ‘til you’re standing up straight].

Plyometrics and conditioning:

Side-step squats – step right and squat, back to neutral, then left and squat – repeat for 30 sec

Mohawk squats – legs wide, toes pointed out – down on a 2 count, up on 2 count for 30 sec

Crossover steps – (three lateral steps, then reverse direction by springing off outside foot) – start slowly, speed up – 30 sec

Speed skaters for 30 sec – mountain climbers for 30 sec

Agility ladder – one in, two in, two up one back, out in, ali shuffle (both sides)

Quick feet to burpee – jog down rink – quick feet to burpee – side shuffle back

Quick feet to burpee – skip down rink – quick feet to burpee – side shuffle opposite side back


Discussion and demonstration: legal blocking zones

Partner up for squat bumps – standing still, hip to hip – get low and pop up – 30 sec each side

Stagger partners so that one is behind and slightly to the side of the other – have partner in back step around partner in front, first gaining position, then using hip/booty to make contact – switch positions after a minute on each side

Blocking/timing drill: Snake line in center of track – person in back comes up outside and each person hipchecks them to outside – then hipcheck up inside – have them walking quickly with light feet (“scampering”)

Stop line – number off, grab jerseys and panties

Sock derby: 4-6 jams – play full 5 on 5, with penalties served by doing 10 push-ups, then rejoining pack  – stop in between jams to answer questions, repeat rules, etc


Put on skates

Partner snake drill: skate in pairs through double line, focusing on matching speed and timing your cuts – use verbal communication and touch your partner’s hips or thighs to stay close.

Blocking/timing drill: single paceline on track – skater in back comes up outside and each skater in line hipchecks them to outside – then come up inside – do both sides twice. Focus on not cutting the track as a jammer and staying in-bounds as a blocker.

Truck and trailer demo: how to swing off your partner’s hips to block jammer

Partner up – practice swinging off each other’s hips, skating around derby track (choose a couple of jammers to dummy-jam through a few times, then pass the panties off to another pair)

Cooldown laps – opposite direction

Cooldown stretch

Full-body burnout with Loca and Pyro

My best friend Loca took the day off work to train with me yesterday.  Loca’s back and arms make grown men cry (and her one-armed pull-ups make me a little weepy myself), so I knew I’d have to bring my A game to challenge her obscenely high level of fitness. My plan – compound moves, plenty of core and lots of plyometrics.

We took the TRX suspension trainer (one of my favorite training toys), a 10lb medicine ball and our yoga mats out to the lake for some fresh air and Vitamin D.  The TRX easily hitches to any tree, but you can also hang it over a closet door if your weather isn’t as comfortable as ours was. Most of the exercises in the entire workout require very little space to perform.

Dynamic warmup

20 windmill toetouches
20 standing iron cross kicks
20 standing single leg pikes
20 sidestep squats
20 side lunges with warrior arms
20 lateral shuffles with side kick
10 jumping jacks
10 cross jacks
10 burpees

20 Single leg hip rotations
20 curtsy squats
60sec curb step-ups

10lb medicine ball:
20 single leg woodchops
20 single leg deadlifts
10 squats with front raise

TRX suspension trainer:
10 squat to low row
30sec plank with scissor legs
10 mountain climbers
10 bicep curls
10 chest press

10 jumping jacks
10 cross jacks
10 burpees

60sec Elbow plank with toe taps
60sec bicycle crunches
30sec flutter kicks
10 spiderman push-ups
10 inchworms with push-ups

Yoga cool down

Derby & Your Knees: Coexistence is Possible – by Pyro Maim Ya

You can still find me on Hex Chromosome’s blog – watch for more derby-specific workouts and clean recipes!

Hex Chromosome

Tired of having your knees feel like @$#& after practice or a game? Yes, better knee pads can help, but it isn’t the whole story. Let Pyro Maim Ya, personal trainer at Pynk Fitness,  be your guide to being able to skate longer. Because quitting is for hosers. YOU HEAR THAT, KNEES?

Strengthening and protecting your knees

As I type this article, I’m icing my knee.  It’s become a routine after practice or a run these days, although it took awhile for the habit to stick. In fact, it took several years for any of the advice I was given about my knees to stick. What can I say?  I’m stubborn and they seemed just fine. My hope is that you’ll heed my words and take steps now to protect, strengthen and extend the life of your lovely knees so you won’t be purchasing full replacements long before you…

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