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The question

I play roller derby. What are the key strengthening exercises I should be doing?

The answer

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Two to three times per week, do a full-body strength workout that involves compound exercises like squats, deadlifts and bent over rows. In addition, to mimic the multidirectional demands of the sport, incorporate exercises that require you to move in all different directions. A multidirection lunge will work well – and is a useful exercise for any sport that involves sideways motion, such as hockey or tennis.

Multidirectional lunges

1. Forward Lunge: From a standing position, take a large step forward with your right leg. Bend down through both knees. Your back knee should move towards the ground. Push through the bum of the right leg to come back to the standing position.

2. Side lunge: Step your right leg out to the side. Keep your left leg straight as you sit backward over your right foot like you are squatting. Make sure your right hip is over your right foot. Push back up to the starting position.

3. Reverse lunge: step your right leg backward. Bend through both knees. Your back knee should move towards the ground. Use the bum of the left leg to bring you back to the starting position.

For all three of the exercises, keep both toes facing forward. Track your front knee over your front foot.

Aim to transition between exercises without letting your right foot touch the ground.

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One repetition consists of one of each version of the lunge. Do eight to 10 reps, then switch and repeat on the left leg.

Trainer's tip

The "moving side lunge" – a variation on the side lunge mentioned above – is a great dynamic warm-up exercise. Using just your own body weight, step your right leg out to the side. Keep your right leg straight as you sit backward over your left foot. Stay low and move your hips towards the centre into a squat. Continue to stay low and move your hips so you are doing a side lunge to your right. Stand up and repeat 10 times before switching directions.

Send certified personal trainer Kathleen Trotter your fitness questions at trainer@globeandmail.com.

The content provided in The Globe and Mail's Ask a Health Expert centre is for information purposes only and is neither intended to be relied upon nor to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment

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