Gift certificates are back and better than ever!!!!!Purchase gift certificates here!

Category Archives: Stamina

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


As always, if you like this post, share it on your blog, FB, Twitter, and wherever else you crazy kids are posting things these days!

Why Is Popeye In My Trapeze Class? 5 Ways to Increase Aerial Stamina ( Part 1)

Miss Christen S works her back arch

What IS she doing? Why is he pounding on his forearms? Is it a new dance? Obscene gesture? Are they flashing gang signs? No! It’s the dreaded AERIAL POPEYE! If you’ve been giving your apparatus some quality time, you’ve probably experienced this delightful sensation, and wondered what you can do about it. Hang on tight – we’re talking aerial stamina!


The Why of Popeye (Hint: It Has Nothing to Do With Spinach)

It’s all about grip, baby! When we are working on new things, or approaching an apparatus for the first time, we naturally over grip. This is not a bad thing – it shows that your intuitive powers of self-preservation are functioning the way they should! (Remind me to tell you about “The Let-Go Guy” some time – he’s responsible for all 40 3 of my grey hairs).

Another cause is a repetitive grip-release pattern in your choreography – too many “grippy” moments too close together equals forearms like a sailor (worthy of a mermaid tattoo!).

OR, you could be dehydrated, or a little low on a vitamin/mineral essential to proper muscle contraction like calcium, manganese, and potassium.


When It Happens, Go To Your Happy Place

But what should you DO when you feel that tell-tale tingling in your forearms?

  1. Immediately assess your safety. Do not pass go or collect $200 – go immediately to a safe rest position on your apparatus, or come to the floor.
  2. Wait it out, relax, and stretch your forearms if you can (if you’re in performance, get creative with this! Spirit fingers!).
  3. Continue if you are safely able, or come down to the floor and go back up when you’re ready.


Popeye Prevention

  1. Train train train train train. Familiarity breeds comfort, which encourages relaxation, which reduces the likelihood of Popeye. It also makes for stronger, more capable muscles.
  2. Pay attention to the moments you are most likely to over-grip and consciously relax your hands as much as you safely can (don’t be droppin’ out of the sky and telling people Laura said to “relax”!).
  3. Stay in the moment. Breathe – it really does make a difference. Take your time.
  4. Drink your water! Electrolyte drinks might be helpful as well (coconut water is great, Gatorade, etc.) if you’re working particularly hard.
  5.  If you’ve been noticing a lot of muscle fatigue during your training, consider taking a trip to the doc to get your bod checked, or making an appointment with a nutritionist to make sure you’re getting what you need in your diet (I wish I could think of a Popeye/spinach joke to make here… but I can’t. Just eat your spinach.).


Join me next week when we tackle Part Deux of this post – how to finish a tough aerial piece without emerging a quivering mass of Jell-O (because nothing looks cooler than barfing or passing out when you’ve finished your act). Love and pull-ups, Laura


Click here to read Aerial Stamina – Part 2!




As always, if you like this post, share it on your blog, the F-books, Twitter, and wherever else you crazy kids are sharing things these days.