The Importance of Conditioning
If you are new to aerial work, or if you have reached a plateau, then conditioning can make the difference in pushing through, or learning more to attain the next level of your aerial career.
Conditioning on a daily basis will make all the difference in improving your aerial skills. Over-all, consistent conditioning will pay off.
Aerial work on silks, rope, straps, trapeze, and aerial hoop requires efficient use of your shoulder, core, and back muscles. The stronger these core muscles are, generally, the safer you will be when you are in the air.
We find incorporating 15 minutes of conditioning every day is ideal. We offer the Conditioning Tutorials featuring conditioning we developed, because we know how important conditioning is when you are learning aerial and also as a performer. For aerialists who perform infrequently, it is important to stay in condition because you never know when you may be called upon for an opportunity to perform. If you are performing on a regular basis, you know that continued conditioning can make all the difference in keeping you injury-free.
In our experience, we have found it is important to incorporate Awareness Through Movement from the Feldenkrais perspective into your conditioning. The Pilates approach is fantastic for building and maintaining strong muscles along with Dance and Yoga.
In aerial, or circus acrobatics, you are suspended in air and it is important that your shoulders are in good condition. If you have access to a swimming pool, swimming is also an excellent way to stay in condition.
We find swimming not only helps keep your muscles strong, but it helps you understand the importance of breathing throughout your movements. Breathing is not often thought of as a conditioning exercise, but we find it is an important component to any conditioning regimen. Building in Yoga breathing into your daily conditioning is fantastic. Consider even adding a breathing break during your aerial practices.
It is equally important to condition your hands and your feet for aerial work. Having a good grip is essential, but having awareness in your feet is just as important. Typically, you are not conditioning your feet, but you can! When you are sitting, consciously roll your foot around, or when standing rise on your toes and hold your balance. If you have the opportunity, take a Ballet class. Ballet provides excellent conditioning for aerial work.
It is also important to do conditioning before you start your aerial work or a performance. Injuries can happen if you are not fully warmed up. Conditioning on the floor is essential before you are in the air.
At the end of your aerial practice, consider adding strength conditioning. If you are working on aerial silks, or rope, climbing several times at the end of your workout will help with both strength and stamina. For static trapeze or aerial hoop, doing pull-ups or toe touches would good options.
In any aerial work, if you are learning new movements, new combinations, or new drops, you may find that you need to condition specific muscles for success. An example would be a trick called the “meat-hook” which requires a lot of strength in your core, back, and shoulder muscles.
Most aerial work has an element of discomfort and some poses are actually painful at first. An example would be the toe hang on the trapeze bar. It is hard to build up the tolerance for this pose since all your weight is resting on the top of your feet. We developed a Conditioning Trapeze Bar that allows you to condition for this pose while having most of your weight on the floor. It can also be used for the back balance which can be done on the trapeze, or the aerial hoop.
In summary, we cannot stress enough the importance of conditioning for more success in your aerial work.
Daily conditioning will help you learn new aerial skills quickly and if you are an aerial performer, then you already know that conditioning really pays off!