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How to Get the Best from a Training Session

Ten top tips so you can get the best from your training time

design a workout

1. Figure out your goals and what you are working towards

Before you can do anything, you need to decide what you want to work on ie is it your straight leg straddles, long arm inverts or maybe your shoulders are really tight, or perhaps you just know that your left side is way weaker than your right side and needs development... It is also smart training to figure out your strengths and weaknesses and develop your weak areas (and not just do what you are good at).

I always like to have at least a few moves that I’m working on as well as some strength and flexibility goals. An ideal training session would include an hour of conditioning, an hour of work on some moves, including a bit of time spent progressing a routine and then at least an hour stretching out afterwards. Ok so that’s ideal scenario and I never have enough time for that these days, but back in the day this would have been a normal session.

Anyway what I am trying to say is to figure out what works for you - for where you are at and what works with your weekly work schedule and go from there.

2. Figure out your ideal training frequency

This will depend on your level, because as a beginner it is fairly impossible to do much more than one hour of aerial training before the body feels too tired. The more advanced you get the longer you will be able to train for. As a beginner I always say ‘little and often’ is key - in other words do shorter workouts everyday if possible (ten minutes in the morning and ten minutes in the evening). As your stamina increases you can then go for longer training periods less frequently.

3. Figure out what fits with your work schedule.

Once you’ve figured out what the ideal training frequency is for you, the next step is to fit that perfectly within your daily/weekly schedule of life. And always good to write that into the calendar too, or your fitness planner!

4. Figure out the exact exercises you need to do to get towards your goals

So if it’s straight leg inverts you wanna be perfecting for example - know exactly what exercises and related moves that will help you get to this and then practice them. No good just doing inverts all the time - (although yes you need this as well) but you need to do all the exercises that help strengthen (or stretch) the muscle groups involved in that exercise as well as different exercises related to that. So, to go back to our example, for straight leg inverts do exercises such as sitting straight leg lift ups, straddle leg raises lying on the floor, straddle stretches and so on.

5. Work complimentary muscle groups

When you are conditioning it’s always a good idea to work two muscle groups. For example your arms and then your core - so that muscles get a break in between sets. So a round of pull ups followed by say holding dish for a minute is a great combo which gives the arms time to recover before you hit them with another set.

6. When conditioning use max out numbers, repetitions and sets

When conditioning understand the process of ‘maxing out’ or repeating the exercise until failure (when you can’t do it anymore). Then train repetitions of this exercise just below your max out number and repeat sets of these. For example do a round of pull ups until you can’t do anymore - say that number is five - that’s your max out number. Then you would train three pull ups in a row (just below max out number) have a break and then repeat two more sets. Do this consistently throughout your week and this is how you will get to see progress. Yeah baby pull ups ahoy!

7. Always try and do equal amounts of stretch and strength training

If you are doing a lot of strength training always do equal amounts of stretching!!! Otherwise you will gain muscles and lose flexibility. No one told me to stretch when I was training - I was only told that I must get super strong. So what happened was I went nuts on strength training only to discover that my shoulders got tighter and then my ability to do back bends decreased massively. Doh!

(Obviously this is just in general as I know some people are ridiculously flexible and do need to do a lot of strengthening in order to stabilise the tendons and so stretching is not so important.)

8. Support your training with good nutrition and lots of sleep

Training aerial is super intensive so make sure you get plenty of good quality sleep, as well as good nutrition. Good healthy snacks are important before and after training to keep your energy levels sustained. But also important to eat lots of healthy fruit, veggies and good amounts of protein so that your body can recover and replenish.

9. Always take a rest day or two

Yeah I know that some of you are adrenalin junkies and do classes a lot. But please remember that your body needs down time as well. It needs at least one or two rest days per week in order to replenish and recover - so whatever your training schedule always include some days where you just do nothing. Or do something yin - like a yin yoga class or a float in a hot tub.

10. Quick word on cross training

Also good to mix up your exercise routines. Not only keeps things interesting but also works the body in different ways. So, obviously train tricks, strength and flexibility goes without saying - but maybe mix in a bit of stamina / cardio or go say swimming or dancing as well. Mix up the disciplines - for example gripping the hoop is way different to gripping the silks and as such will use the body in different ways. Also if you hit a wall learning a trick or set of moves and you can't seem to progress with it, try switching  apparatus and then come back to the original tricks and sometimes they seem easy. Well works for me anyway.

Anyway guys over and out from me for now - if you have any top tips or ideas for getting the best out of a training session please comment below as I would love to know!