Is rollerblading a good workout? Personal trainers explain which body parts rollerblading works, plus a rollerblading workout to get you started
Is Rollerblading a Good Workout? Trainers Explain Why the Trend of the Summer Could Be the Key to Your Fittest Body Ever
Rollerblading likely makes you think of a 1990s-era hobby complete with wrist guards and helmets, or perhaps summer afternoons skating around as a kid without a care in the world.
Feeling nostalgic yet? If so, you're in luck—strapping a pair of wheels to your feet is back en vogue this year, with TikTokkers donning roller skates and former gym-goers using rollerblades in place of the elliptical and other gym equipment.
We know it's trendy and a lot of fun, but is rollerblading a workout, and perhaps the key to getting those six pack abs you've been working toward? We consulted fitness experts. Here's everything you need to know about the benefits of rollerblading as a workout.
If you're hoping to use rollerblading to replace cardio workouts you used to do at the gym pre-pandemic, like the elliptical or treadmill, certified personal trainer Sergio Pedemonte says rollerblading is an excellent low-impact option.
"Rollerblading qualifies as cardio, and low-impact cardio at that," Pedemonte says. "Anyone new to working out, getting back into the swing of things, or with pre-existing muscle or joint issues can benefit from the easier movements allowed by rollerblading while still improving your heart health and muscle endurance."
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It certainly doesn't hurt that rollerblading happens outside, which research shows gives you an additional mental and overall health boost. "Rollerblading is such a phenomenal workout for a variety of reasons, but if you ask me the main one is that it gets you outdoors enjoying fresh air to soak up vitamin D," says trainer Sarah Gillette.
Sure, rollerblading gets your heart rate up, which is always a good thing. But it also works a number of important muscles in your body that will help you get stronger and look fitter.
"Your lower body sees the most direct results. In particular, the long, gliding push motions activate your hamstrings and quadriceps, inner thigh abductors, and glute muscles," says Pedemonte. "Your shoulders get in some solid work as well as you move or pump your arms to speed up."
And that's not all: Rollerblading does an excellent job of working your core and activating your ab muscles. "Rollerblading requires you to keep your core engaged the entire time for balance," Pedemonte says.
And something you may not have considered? Rollerblading works your toes and feet, too. "Without even trying, you'll take an 'active foot' in your blades to help 'grip' the bases, and give you a better sense of stability," says strength and conditioning specialist K. Aleisha Fetters. "After all, your feet are your contact point with the blades. Strengthening the feet cannot be underestimated and carries benefits for overall fitness, stability, and performance in any exercise pursuit."
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While rollerblading around your neighborhood or at your local park is a good workout on its own, there are specific rollerblading workouts you can do that will help you get fitter. "For more experienced bladers, consider doing a sprint rollerblading workout," says Pedemonte. "Find a long, straight stretch of pavement where you can try out sprint intervals on your blades just like you would with running."
If you're feeling really bold, you may want to try a hill workout. "I highly recommend incorporating hill climbs and flat sprints for a blading burn challenge," says Gillette. "Find a moderate-sized hill and perform three back-to-back hill runs, then rest 60 seconds and repeat three more. Now transfer to flat group and prep yourself for speed sprints. Perform three 20 second sprints as fast as you can, rest for one minute, and repeat three more sprints. This is a guaranteed lower body burner."
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If you're newer to rollerblading, it's important to start out slow. "I would recommend sticking with slower but longer sessions on a parkway or paved trail where you reap the full cardiovascular and muscle endurance benefits," Pedemonte says.
And no matter what rollerblading "level" you're at, it's important to wear protective gear like a helmet and knee, wrist, and elbow guards. Fetters also notes that it's important to take good care of your ankles. "Keep everything fastened as tight as possible, while still comfortable, around your ankles can add some external stabilization to keep from twisting your ankles," she ays. "If you know you're prone to ankle issues, I'd definitely recommend trying out some band-resisted ankle exercises (moving your ankles in circles or in straight lines up, down, left, and right) to improve your ankle strength."
Long story short: Rollerblading might just be the pandemic-era outdoor workout you've been needing in your life. So strap on those blades and stay safe out there!
Next up, here are the 20 best workout apps for 2021.