When I first fell in love with aerial silks about 14 years ago (be kind, don’t do the math), I tackled it the way I approach just about everything in my life: HEAD ON. I’m not known for moderation, and I set up a training schedule that would make Cirque du Soleil’s rehearsal schedule look like the Dolly Dinkle School of Circus. And then, I got schooled. Big time.
The Trials of Tendinitis
- Maintain proper shoulder positioning while training. Shoulders should be pulled firmly into the socket like so: draw your shoulders away from your ears, sliding your shoulder blades down the back. Your chest should be lifted very slightly. Think of “screwing your shoulder into the socket”, and maintain this position while training. I’m going to try to post some pictures later this week so you can get a clear visual.
- Train consistently. On-again-off-again training is really hard on the body. If you’ll be away from your beloved apparatus for a time (VACATION! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!), make sure you train exercises (PULL-UPS!) appropriate to your circus discipline.
- BUT, don’t over-train like I did. As hungry as you are in the beginning for training, ramp it up slowly. Flinging yourself full steam into a crazy training regimen is a sure-fire way to wind up awesomely injured. Start with one or two classes a week, supported by Pilates, weight training, stretching, and whatever else your little heart desires, just ramp up GRADUALLY – you can open up a can-o-whoop-ass on yourself as you get stronger.
- Pay attention to sensation. Feeling a burning, grinding, clicking, or other pain in your shoulder (or any other) joint? STOP. Get thee to a doctor, and take a break. When you’re ready to come back, make some time with your coach to have your form evaluated (** a bit of candor here – not all aerial teachers are well-versed in proper shoulder alignment. Can they speak knowledgeably about the structure of the joint, etc? Something to keep in mind.)
- Ice preventatively, treat inflammation aggressively. It’s never a bad idea to ice your shoulders (or other iffy areas for you) after class or a workout whether you have pain or not – break out those frozen peas! Heat + inflammation = more inflammation, so step awaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay from the heating pad until you know what you’re dealing with. NSAIDs (ibuprofin, etc.), cortizone shots, and physical therapy are common items in the Western artillery to treat inflammation. I’ve had phenomenal results with acupuncture, and lots of folks swear by their chiropractors.
Chocolate and Flowers?
UPDATE: Many thanks to Heather from Asheville Aerial Arts for the awesome comment about the “Thrower’s 10” – resources below!
Thrower’s 10 Shoulder Exercises PDF: http://www.safethrow.com/ExerciseThrowing/Thrower’s%2010.pdf
This is part one of a 10 part video series – amazing!
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