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Skating Indoors with Outdoor Wheels

In an effort to improve their endurance and performance on bout day, many rollergirls have begun using their outdoor wheels indoors to provide them with additional challenge.

How it works

Outdoor wheels are typically softer and grippier than their indoor counterparts. This gives them lots of traction on pavement, and the natural rebound or 'bounce' of the wheel helps ping little bits of gravel and debris out of the wheel path and gives your legs and feet some shock absorption over long distances and rough surfaces.

While this makes outdoor wheels a great choice for outside use, skating on the same wheels indoors is bound to feel a little like skating through sand. The grippiness of the wheel means it has greater rolling resistance (the amount of effort needed to get the wheel turning), less slideout in corners and feels generally slower than a harder wheel meant for indoor use.

Skating inside with outdoor wheels is the equivalent of putting light weights on your ankles. You'll find yourself working harder to achieve and maintain speed, thereby training your muscles and increasing your endurance, particularly over longer practice sessions.

Other Benefits

Another reason you may find to train inside with your outdoor wheels is for the shock absorption and rebound. Change into your outdoor setup on a day when you know you'll be doing a lot of jumping or obstacle avoidance training. The extra bounce will cushion your knees and ankles from the shock of repeated jumps and hard landings, and that's particularly helpful if you suffer from any joint problems or are healing an injury.

How to Apply It

If you don't have outdoor wheels, get some. They're one of the most underrated and cost effective pieces of equipment you can buy to improve your skating skills.

Once you've got the wheels, set them up on your regular indoor skates making certain to adjust the axle nuts properly. If these are the same wheels you skate outside with, you may want to check the contact surface of the wheels (the part that touches the ground when you skate) for any little bits of gravel or glass that might damage your skating floor, particularly if you skate on a floor your league doesn't own. Give them a quick wipe with a rag dampened with window cleaner or regular water, making sure not to wet your bearings, and go.

You'll feel slow and winded at first but that's all part of getting stronger, so don't be discouraged if you gas out early, need an extra water break, or generally don't play at the level you're used to. Once you start feeling strong and fast again while wearing your outdoor wheels, change it up. Wear your outdoor wheels for a week, then go back to indoor wheels. Then wear them for two weeks, a take one week off. Mix it up to keep your body guessing.

Keep in mind that if you're changing your wheels regularly you'll need to keep an eye on the condition of your axle nuts. There is a nylon fitting around the edge of the threads that keeps the nut locked onto your axle, and once that becomes worn, you'll need to replace the nut if you don't want a wheel breaking free for it's solo debut. A good test is to try to give each nut a loosening turn with your fingers once it's in place. If you can back it out by hand even a little, you need a new nut.

Better your position: Train smart and skate safe!

Rei Zerburnn