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Top Tips to Aerial Success for Beginners!

April 13, 2016

 I always get asked:

“Don’t I need to be super fit, strong and flexy before I start?”

Absolutely not! That's what beginner classes are designed for.

I take it right back to the basics with the structured, sequential syllabus I developed for my studio. You’ll progress through the steps safely, whilst gradually increasing your strength, flexibility and fitness along the way… Zero experience is required to get started!

 

However, there are plenty of things you can do outside of aerials, to better prepare you (and your body!) for increased aerial success and achievements (from absolute beginner to advanced and professional levels!).

 

STRETCH!

Stretching is so important to help avoid injury and increase your range of motion through your joints and muscles. This will become increasingly valuable, as you start to learn the trickier, more flexibility based skills and advance through higher levels. 

All of our classes commence and conclude with stretch sections, however, stretching a few times a week at home or in the gym, will also prove hugely beneficial to your training!

Key places to stretch for aerials: 

  • Shoulders

  • Upper, lower and middle back

  • Hands and forearms

  • Hip flexors

  • Hamstrings

  • Glutes

  • Toes/feet (start working on your beautiful toe point now!)

You can download your FREE STRETCH GUIDE at the bottom of this page!
             

 

ALTERNATE & ADDITIONAL TRAINING:

Most professional aerialists I know, (including myself) take part in some form of cross training, to make sure their fitness is well rounded and bodies are kept balanced and well aligned. Personally, I do a variety of cardio (running, swimming, walking), HIIT training/Bootcamp, calisthenics and occasional weight training, in addition to my aerial regime. 

I like to keep training varied and interesting, so I never get bored and I’m constantly challenged!

You may like to try some of the above, or include some of the following:

  • Cycling

  • Yoga

  • Hiking

  • Dance

  • Rock Climbing

  • Pilates etc.

 

When it comes to training aerials, you are constantly lifting your own (and sometimes  somebody else's!) body weight. So the leaner, stronger and generally fitter you are, the easier learning new skills will be!

 

SPORTS SPECIFIC STRENGTH TRAINING: 

What is sport specific training/exercise?

A truly sport specific exercise must:

A: Duplicate the exact movement witnessed in certain actions of the sports or skill

B: The exercise must involve the same type of muscular contraction used in the skill execution.

C: Develop strength and flexibility in the same range of motion (ROM) as the actual skill.

 

So, if you’re wanting to increase your strength specifically for aerials, you need to try and replicate similar key movements and skills that are regularly used.

 

New students constantly tell me “I lift weights 4-5 times a week, so I’m really strong!”.

Whilst I have the utmost respect for anyone who is consistently dedicated to a strong, fit and wholesome lifestyle…

LIFTING HEAVY WEIGHTS MAKES YOU STRONG TO… LIFT HEAVY WEIGHTS.

In no way does this cross relate to being “strong” as an aerialist, unless you are mixing your weight lifting regime with some sports specific training, directly related to aerials!

 

So, what are some great, sports specific strength exercises you can use for aerials?

  • Chin Ups/Pull Ups

  • Push Ups

  • Rope Climbing

  • Leg Raises (hanging from a bar)

 

With all strength training for aerials, make sure your form is controlled and clean. Aerialists do not use any form of kipping or swinging (often used in Crossfit style workouts) to complete any strength or bar work. These kinds of jerky movements do not promote the desired kind of strength and control in the air.

Increased strength and control is not only a key safety factor, it also means that you can make harder skills appear effortless, fluid and graceful. Which makes for a beautiful aerial performance!

 

Forearm Strength and Endurance is also a key factor in making the most of your aerial training. Many first timers find that it is their forearms that fail them first! 

Check out this page for some handy, training tips to strengthen your forearms for aerials (it’s a rock climbing guide… but all the same rules apply for aerials!) Forearm Strengthening Tips

 

EAT WELL

If you want your body to perform like a fine tuned machine in the air, you need to fuel it accordingly! 

Whilst I don't promote any sort of "diet", I do recommend fueling yourself with a variety of fresh, unprocessed fruits, vegetables, lean meats, grains and nuts every day! And plenty of water!

 

DRESS RIGHT

Cover your skin.. Trust me, you'll thank me!

Aerial attire is the complete opposite to that of our fabulous pole fitness friends. (Though in Summer on the Gold Coast, I really wish this wasn’t the case!)

Whilst our pole sisters need a lot of skin exposed to grip the pole efficiently, we want to keep our precious skin covered, to protect it from fabric burns etc.

You’ll find info regarding what’s best to wear for aerials in our FAQ’s

 

REST!

It's easy to get caught up in your new found aerial addiction and we often have students start off with one class a week, then quickly move to 3-4 classes a week, plus open training practise and a whole lot of cross training thrown in on their spare days!

I love to see the shift in my students physically, mentally and emotionally, as they take a leap into their new found world of fitness, fun and aerial amazingness! 

But please remember that your body does need to rest too. 

The last thing you want is to burn out after just a few short months of your new found passion taking hold!

I recommend 1-2 complete rest days per week, I like to include some “active recovery” in my rest days. For example, some nice, long walks with my husband and my dogs!

Rest days are important, so your body can recover, grow and rejuvenate… Giving you the energy and exuberance you need to come back super strong and ready to keep kicking aerial butt, in the new week!

 

All in all I hope that you, like thousands of other students I’ve taught, get the chance to experience aerials as the amazing skill and art form that it is. (Trust me, it’s hard to not fall in love with it!)

With the correct training, guidance and support, it really has the power to change your life in so many ways!

 

Come and visit me in my studio some time, I’d love to personally share my passion, knowledge and experience of all things aerial, with you!

 

Rony xx

 

Want to know more about me? You can read more here!

Or head over to my Instagram page and stay up to date with my ongoing aerial journey.

 

 

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