Warming up has got to be a no brainer for an aerialist. Please, please, please do not do aerial without first preparing your body! In a nutshell a proper warm up gradually raises your heart rate and gets your muscles and joints primed for activity, so that you are both physically and mentally prepared. I know it can be very tempting to skip your warm-up and jump right into your training session, especially if you are time limited or arriving late. But ask yourself is that smart use of your time, or is it asking for trouble?
Here are ten great reasons why you should warm up
1. It will boost your performance: By gradually increasing your body temperature through your warm-up, physiological changes occur that optimise the function of both the cardiovascular system and the muscles themselves – making you better prepared for the subsequent strains placed upon your body.
2. It will increase your joint range of motion: A warm-up will help increase the active range of motion around the joints, by improving muscle elasticity and releasing synovial fluid to lubricate the joints. The movements involved in aerial require the joints of the whole body to be taken through a variety of planes and ranges of motion – preparing these joints before you start will enable you to bend deeper, lunge lower, and reach further. Being disciplined and incorporating mobility drills regularly into your pre and post aerial routine will also help you develop and maintain an increased range of movement long term.
3. Increase blood flow to your working muscles: This will better prepare them for the additional workload to come.
4. Increase the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your muscles: This will prevent you from getting out of breath too early or too easily.
5. Prepare your heart gradually for an increase in activity: This will help you avoid a rapid increase in blood pressure.
6. Prime your nerve-to-muscle pathways to be ready for exercise: This will improve your performance and therefore the quality of your aerial training.
7. Increase blood temperature: Which can allow you to work out longer or harder.
8. Prompt hormonal changes in the body: Which are responsible for regulating energy production. Obviously energy is much needed in your aerial workout.
9. Improve your aerial technique: Incorporating things such as straddles, tucks and pikes in a floor warm-up will help prepare your body for the what it will be doing in the air. Also practicing things like shoulder engagement helps give muscle memory to the body.
10. Help you mentally prepare: Doing aerial is challenging and we want to get our mind and body in an optimum state ready for the challenges ahead. Warming up improves coordination and reaction times and helps to get us focused and ready with our minds alert and primed for the aerial game. We definitely don’t want to be thinking about what we are having for dinner whilst attempting dangerous feats in the air! And neither do we want a bad, negative attitude as this will also affect our ability to execute difficult, challenging moves.
Standby for a totally awesome rocking training session
All of the above reasons go towards reducing the risk of injury which, lets face it is a sure fire way to kill all motivation. Remember by doing a great warm up you are standing yourself in good stead for a totally awesome and rocking training session ahead.
What does a warm up consist of?
Spending just a few minutes (10 - 15 minutes is plenty) on this will help you perform at your best, prevent injury and make your session as positive and effective as possible. Make sure your warm up includes the following:
- some cardio to raise your heartbeat and get you warm
- stretch out all the body parts you will use (pay particular attention to arms, shoulders, back, neck, legs)
- and finally mobilise all joints (especially shoulders, knees, wrists, ankles).