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Grand Raggidy Blog

March MVM: Stu Orr


By Giddy Up Anya


Congratulations to Stu Orr, March’s Most Valuable Member!


Stu is the owner of Iron Orr Gym in Grand Rapids. In addition to working on cross training with our skaters, Stu is also head of bout day coordination. All Star skater Lucy Morals said, “He is in charge of making sure all activities required to host a successful bout are completed, and [he] works up until the final four whistles of our last bout putting out fires and making sure our fans have the best experience possible.” She continued, “He does everything from ordering chairs and coordinating EMTs to cleaning up beer spills and assisting vendors.” Clearly, we wouldn’t be able to host a successful bout without his help.


This past week, Stu kindly agreed to answer questions about his background in fitness, his gym, and his involvement with Grand Raggidy.


Giddy Up Anya: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and Iron Orr Gym? How did you get started in the sports and fitness field?

Stu Orr: I was hit by the “iron bug” when I was a skinny 14 year old punk lifting weights in my parents’ basement. I found weightlifting to be the perfect outlet for me, and it was the one activity/sport where I didn’t have to rely on a teammate. I fell in love with the discipline and physical exertion.


At 16 years old, I ran away from home for a week to hit up Quad’s Gym in Chicago and meet the legendary Powerlifter, Ed Coan. Out of high school, I dove headfirst into studying anything and everything relative to the profession. I attended as many strength and conditioning clinics as I could, often sleeping in my car because I couldn’t afford a hotel room. I started my first strength coaching business in 1997 out of my small studio apartment, which contained no furniture, yet was stocked with strength equipment. My “bed” was a sleeping bag in the middle of my squat rack. Since then, I have not looked back and have no regrets. I should add that the secondary “driving force” to running my own business is the simple fact that I enjoy being my own boss. I don’t have to answer to ANYONE. That is the genesis and backbone of Iron Orr. A non-corporate gym with a DIY attitude.


How did you initially get involved with roller derby and Grand Raggidy?

I offered to train some of the team in the spring of 2010. At first we had 6-8 participating, which quickly filtered down to Mangler, Lucy and Pain sticking it out for the long haul. Last year and more recently I added: Ringo, Rue, Tac, Snickers, Bashin, Enz, Daisies, Steel, Goremez and Edge on occasion.


What exercises do you recommend roller derby players do off-skates? Do you see any common problems/injuries or areas where personal training would be particularly beneficial for the skaters?

I always recommend a total body, balanced, strength-training program (to include the head and neck musculature) with the goal of reducing the likelihood of an injury or the severity of an injury if one occurs. This can be accomplished with barbells, dumbbells, machines, rocks, logs, sleds, etc. It’s not the tool that’s important; it’s how you use the tool. Always strive to add reps or a little resistance to strengthen up for the long haul.


Additionally, hard interval work should be performed specific to the sport of derby. I highly recommend the Fall 2011 issue of fiveonfive magazine, which gives a solid explanation of intervals. Another very important part of your program should include work with a speed coach to make you a faster, more efficient skater.



What does a typical day look like for you as a trainer and business owner?

For years I managed/owned a 10,000 square foot gym, working 80-90 hours a week unclogging toilets, cleaning showers, sweeping, mopping, maintaining equipment, coaching, organizing and presenting for corporations, sales, etc. It was literally a daily sprint. There were many occasions when I would [be forced to] workout from 10pm-1am. Iron Orr Gym is a much more condensed version of those days. We are now semi-private, and the vast majority [of our business] is one-on-one sessions. Much less stress and much less overhead!



A big thanks to Stu Orr for all of the hard work he does for our team! We really appreciate his support!


Cystic Fibrosis Pancake Breakfast Benefit


Want to spend some extra time with your favorite derby girls AND support a great cause? Mark your calendars for Saturday, April 12, 2014. Grand Raggidy members will be up early, attending a pancake breakfast and silent auction to benefit Camryn’s Friends.


What: Cystic Fibrosis Pancake Breakfast

When: Saturday, April 12 – 8am to 10am

Where: Applebee’s 3250 Grand Rapids, MI (Off Beltline, across from Celebration Cinema)


The cost of the breakfast is only $5.00 and includes all you can eat pancakes.


According to Camryn’s Friends, “Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is a life shortening genetic disorder that affects the lungs and pancreas. There is no cure for CF.” The charity is named for a little girl named Camryn Pellock, who was diagnosed with the disease at birth.


If you would like to learn more Camryn’s Friends, visit their Facebook page at: Additional information about Cystic Fibrosis and ways to get involved can also be found on the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s website at:


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