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Butt-Whoopin’ Aerial Smackdown: Increasing Aerial Stamina Part 2

Taking a little rest while we rehearsed in El Salvador.

So last week, we covered how to deal with the Dreaded Aerial Popeye. This week, we’re tackling how to get through your aerial act without gasping for air, barfing, crying, wetting your pants, or collapsing (the last four were worst case scenarios… I hope). Suit up, peeps – it’s time for The Laura Witwer Aerial Smackdown!

So I’ve Wet My Pants… Now What?

Just pray no one posts it on YouTube, friend. In the meantime, here are some tips for what to do the next time you find yourself in the air and headed towards Exhaustion-ville.

  • BREATHE!!!! I’ll betcha $10 you’ve been holding your breath.
  • Come down immediately if you feel dizzy or unable to continue safely.
  • Find a resting position and hang out for a minute (trust me – the audience has no idea what’s really happening). Continue when you’ve stopped gasping like a guppie on a countertop.
  • Go to Plan B. If you’re performing a new piece, or dealing with a challenging situation (a cold, altitude, etc.), it helps to have a “Plan B” version of your act in your back pocket. This may include swapping risky or difficult moves for ones you’re extremely comfortable with, or adding in more resting holds if you feel it’s necessary.


Don’t Settle For Depends – Preventing Aerial Exhaustion

  • BREATHE!!!! I’ll say it again! In rehearsal, identify times when you’re holding your breath and correct it.
  • Build rest time into your act. Not only does this allow you to breathe and reorient yourself, but it gives the audience a moment to really SEE what you’re doing. Remember: what feels like resting forever to you is very quick to an audience!
  • Take into account environmental or situational factors that may affect your stamina: altitude (BIG ONE), dry climate, lack of sleep or rest thanks to travel arrangements, illness or injury, an intense show schedule, etc. and do what needs to be done to compensate. PLAN AHEAD!
  • Drink heavily. I mean – stay hydrated! Geez, you people…
  • Make sure you’re getting your cardio in outside of class. Cardio = healthy lungs and ticker!
  • Train train train practice practice practice and come to class, dammit!


That’s it in a nutshell, peeps! It’s a process, both in class and when you’re working on a piece. And keep in mind that any time you begin working on something new, it’s gonna wear your butt out until your body gets used to it. Enjoy building your stamina, and don’t barf in my class. Love and pull-ups, Laura


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5 comments on “Butt-Whoopin’ Aerial Smackdown: Increasing Aerial Stamina Part 2”

  1. Rachel Reply

    Oh my god altitude! I have performed in some crazy places, and thought I knew all the potential issues, but I’ve spent my entire life and most of my travels at or only slightly above sea level and hadn’t really ever fully appreciated having nice, rich oxygen at my disposal all the time.

    Then I did a few shows in Denver. My two most solid routines on rope and lyra, which I could perform in my sleep, suddenly became epic battles to get enough air into my lungs. I came offstage desperately sucking in air and nearly throwing up. Luckily, they expected this to happen to us lowlanders and had oxygen on hand. Oy.

    • Lewitwer Reply

      Lawzy – same thing happened to us in the mountains of Arizona! It’s the “nearly throwing up” part that you REALLY don’t expect! 😉

  2. Mary Reply

    Any advice on how many times per week and for how long cardio should be done? Does the elliptical work or just plain jogging/ running outside? 🙂 Stamin is a HUGE problem for me right now and I am looking for the best ways to address that issue! 🙂 🙂

    • Lewitwer Reply

      Hi Mary! I aim for 4-5 cardio sessions every week. The length is generally determined by how intensely I work out, but usually around 20-30 minutes. Anything that gets your heart pumping is fair game, so pick something you like and get going! 😉

  3. Jen Reply

    You didn’t mention heat… have been training in a 65 degree space all winter and then it is nearly 100 degrees outside….you best be ready to just know you may need more rest and rosin on those days.

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