Whether you have dreams of being a roller derby champion, or you just want a fun workout, a pair of quad roller skates will help you get rolling. Quad skates feature four wheels and come in many types of configurations: speed or "jam" skates meant for competitions and dancing, to the classic boot skates you'll typically find for rent at indoor and outdoor facilities. Whatever type you have, the basic moves are executed in much the same way.
Stand in the skates with one hand near a railing or other sturdy hand-hold. Starting out a roller rink that has a hand rail is a good idea when you're just getting started, as you can hold the rail when you need to. Additionally, roller rinks have smooth surfaces without rocks, gravel and other debris that you may encounter outside, making it easier to learn without obstructions.
Place your feet in a V-shape with your heels close together and your toes further apart. Bend your knees as if you're in a chair and look down; if you're bent enough, you should not be able to see your skates. Getting lower to the ground helps you stay balanced. Bend your arms.
Step one leg forward, away from the body, pushing forward from the heel. At the same time, move the opposite arm forward. After you step, try to let the skate glide on the floor. Your back leg, meanwhile, should be rolling and slightly dragging behind. If you have roller derby or speed skates, you may notice that these quad skates roll faster than other skates. In the beginning, stay near the railing so you can grab onto it if you lose your balance.
Step the opposite leg forward, pushing forward from the heel and then allowing the front skate to glide. Move the opposite arm forward; just like in running, moving the arm opposite the moving leg will provide you more momentum and balance. Continue pressing one leg forward, back and forth until you achieve some speed.
Practice cross turns. Keep the skate nearest the inside of the curve on the floor, and lift the outside leg, swinging the leg and crossing the outside skate in front of the inside skate. When the outside skate hits the floor, place your weight on the outside leg, and then step the inside skate in front of the outside skate. Place your weight on the inside skate once again, and repeat the cross turn for as many times as it takes to make it around the curve.
Practice stopping with your quad skates. Some quad skates have a toe stop on the front of the skate, others don't. If you have a toe stop, place your feet parallel to each other and press one toe into the floor with a significant amount of force. This should cause you to stop fairly abruptly -- so be near the railing for balance at first. If you don't have a toe stop, practice the T-stop by placing your weight on one skate, and then placing your other foot behind the body. Drag the inside of your back skate along the floor, perpendicular to the other skate until you slow and stop. This creates a loose "T" shape -- hence the name T-stop.
- Be sure to get the proper safety gear -- as in the beginning, it's almost inevitable that you're going to fall. A helmet, elbow pads, knee pads and padded shorts are all items that can reduce the pain of falling and help to prevent more serious injury. Even the most advanced skaters use this type of equipment.
Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.