So let’s talk about structuring your training sessions so that you can maximise on them to build strength and fitness fast. Because basically the stronger and more flexible we get the more fun we are going to have!
At the start of any training program it's a really good idea to mark where you are at to begin with - then you'll be able to actually see the progress you make. We set a fitness test - a series of specific exercises which helps build a physical profile of where you are currently at. A bench mark is set for each component of fitness. By comparing where you are at now to norms and standards, any major areas of weakness can be identified. This means you can start to get an idea of what you need to work on the most. Then you can target these areas so that you can be more efficient with your training. So you get to focus on the 20% that will make 80% of the difference. Cool huh!
Once you know what you need to work on then you need to set achievable goals. With goal setting you need to state exactly what you want to achieve and by how much and within a certain time frame. It’s not enough to say ‘I want to be fitter’ or ‘I want to be stronger’. It’s way more productive to say I want to be able to do a full climb in 3 weeks time or half a pull up in 2 months time or to be able to touch my toes or do the splits in say 6 months time and then figure out a training program in order to get you there. You can only set realistic and attainable goals like these if you know where you are starting from which is why bench marking is really important.
Achieving your goal
Once you know where you are at (call this point 'A' - your bench mark) and have set yourself your goal (call it point 'B') now all you need to do is figure out how to get from point A to point B. That's where having a teacher, trainer or program really helps. Having someone to guide you on the steps you need to do to get you where you want to be. Basically you need to figure out all the progressions or exercises you need to do in order to get the result you want. And then work out a training schedule in order to get you there. Boom!
Students at any level, who are serious enough to spend time training, want to spend that time as efficiently as possible. The only way to determine whether a training technique or program is achieving the desired results is to track it. So at the end of every month it’s a great idea to re do the fitness test in order to measure the results. And remember to set yourself new goals for the next month.
Taking objective measurements before and after a period of training can show you how far you've progressed. It's one thing to feel fitter or stronger or not so tight, but seeing definite results in black and white is usually more inspiring. You’ll be surprised to see how far you have progressed. This will keep you motivated to keep going when things get tough or you feel like giving up.
You can also design your own fitness tests with your own favourite exercises or things you want to target. You can also go way more in depth with them - measuring the actual increments of increase in flexibility with a tape measure, take before and after photos, counting reps or timing how long you can hold moves.
Some people love this style of training - personally I'm not a huge fan of this as really for me it's more about finding the real fun in actually doing it. The great thing about aerial is that, once you get beyond the initial hard bit where it feels like mission impossible to actually get off the ground, the progress happens really fast. You start learning tricks and then you become so focussed on the next trick you want to learn that you forget about how much climbing or holding yourself in the air you are doing and you get strong automatically or as I like to say automagically!
That's the magic of aerial, you end up getting fit and flexible as a side product to having a ton of fun!
That's the most important thing - to find the fun in aerial. So as much as it's good to track your progress and see results it's way more fun to discover that your body can start to do all this cool stuff and have a lot of fun in the process.
If you can find the fun in it you will stay motivated forever!