Due to various injuries and illness, I've only been able to train sporadically since February, and during that time I've had nearly 3 months of being unable to do any form of exercise. It's safe to say my strength has massively decreased! I'm now finally able to have consistent time in the air, yay! I'm excited to build my strength back up and I'm seeing it as an opportunity to improve my training sessions to get better than I used to be! I thought I'd share some of the things I'm really focusing on, to achieve great progress.
Basics are Beautiful
Spending time mastering the basics will make everything else feel so much easier! Doing beginner moves increases the strength and flexibility needed to do the harder moves. A lot of the time, the pathways used in difficult moves are also done in easier moves. By practising the easier moves so much that they become second nature, the more advanced moves will then in turn feel more comfortable.
Expecting Nothing Attracts Everything
I felt quite disheartened after my first training session by quite how hard everything felt, the top of the silks seemed a lot further away than I remembered. But I took a step back and reminded myself that what we do is hard! My body is amazing for being able to do just one climb, let alone being able to still get to the top, no matter how much my arms were shaking! Expecting too much too soon will put more pressure on your body, potentially setting you up for injury. It'll also cause stress and feelings of failure, not good. When we're surrounded by videos on social media of people doing crazy tricks and making it look easy, it's easy to forget that simply getting into the hoop or taking both feet off the floor on the silks is such an achievement and more than most people can do! After all, there's no such thing as a bad workout.
Like a Mirror
Most good aerial instructors will encourage you to practise on both sides, and for good reason! Training moves on both sides will prevent muscle and flexibility imbalances which in turn will help to prevent injury. It also makes learning combinations and routines easier as you don't need to worry about only being able to do the moves on one side. I definitely used to slack with training my bad side, my good side just feels so much more natural! But I'm now doing every move on both sides!
Entering and exiting a move properly often requires more strength than the move itself. I'm very guilty of clambering up into the hoop or struggling to do a high footlock from the floor because I can't be bothered to climb. Making the effort to keep the mount and dismount clean and controlled won't take anymore time but you'll be getting the most out of every second you have in your session.
Make me Strong!
Conditioning, everyone's least favourite part of the lesson! It might not be very fun but doing just a few minutes of conditioning either at the end of your session, or at home can make a huge difference to strength! I have conditioning exercises videos on my Youtube channel for silks, hoop and pole, I also have lots of hoop conditioning exercises on Unique Aerialists Academy as well as at home workouts, or you can download my free eBook Become a Stronger Aerialist for exercises you can do at home to make you stronger in the air. I'm also hosting a July Plank Challenge on my Instagram where I'm doing a plank everyday in July and posting it on my stories to keep me accountable, you can join in too to help keep me motivated!
It can sound counterproductive, but rest days really are so important for achieving progress. Aerial doesn't always feel like exercise so it's easy to get carried away and want to practise everyday. Rest days give your body time to repair itself, reduce soreness and keep you motivated and eager to train. To be honest, I've always been fairly good at taking time to rest, I usually have 2 aerial free days a week. Now that I'm returning from injury, I'm aiming to have a full week off every few months as well.
Enjoy the Journey
Aerial isn't going anywhere. I used to get so caught up trying (and failing) to get the latest instagram move that it often took the enjoyment out of aerial. Now that I've had time of not being able to do aerial at all, I fully plan on enjoying every minute of being in the air!