Safely Returning to Circus and Aerial Training Part 2

Posted on June 27, 2020

Part 2 Strategies

How to return to your circus self

Congratulations! You did it! You made it through quarantine, and you have been cleared to get back into the studio. But, where to start? We’ve talked about why it is important to avoid over-training after being sidelined. No one wants to kick off their return to circus by developing an injury.

So, let’s talk about ways you can take control of your training and track your progress.

Training Plans

Have you ever really thought about how you structure your training? In circus we are often so excited about training that we aren’t thinking about creating a training plan. Well, now is the time! To keep you safe as you return, a training plan doesn’t have to be anything fancy (but if you have specific goals once you are back to full training, creating a robust can be a huge boon!) First, let’s talk about what components to consider when you create your training plan.

Training Variables

There are three dimensions of your training: frequency, volume, and intensity. If one of these variables is increased, the others should remain level (or even drop) to keep the stress on your tissues steady.

Frequency is how often you are training. So, if you are training Monday and Thursday you’re training frequency is twice a week. Simple right?

Ok, so now what if you are taking two classes on Monday and one on Thursday? What does that mean?

That gets into the Volume of training. If each class is one hour long, your training volume is three hours a week.

Intensity is how hard each training session is. This one is a little trickier to measure, especially when you have been away from training for a while. So, I have created “Returning to Training” worksheets to help guide your thought process.

Get the Return to Training Worksheets

As classes and training times open up and you are able to get in to train more frequently, make sure you are limiting the amount of time you are training (volume) and the intensity of each session. This “low and slow” way of returning to training is ideal to build back the strength of your connective tissues and prepare you to do more. Or, if you are only able to train once in a while you can train a bit harder…BUT be careful! Take a look at my last blog post or watch the online workshop for more details about what to look out for.

If you haven’t been able to train your discipline or apparatus at home, start with one training session and see how you feel. Document it on the worksheet so you have an honest record of your progress.

Phases for Returning to Training

By breaking your return to training into phases, it is much easier to visualize a path back to your circus-y awesome self. These phases are a general guideline for your progress, and you will see there is a wide variation in how many weeks I am suggesting at each phase. The time in each phase is based on how long you have been doing your discipline, what skill level you are at, how much training you were doing in quarantine, and whether or not you have been ill or injured. Use your training worksheets and guidance from an experienced coach to help you progress through each phase.

Phase 1 – Fundamentals

If you are a handbalancer, try drills to find your line and different ways to move into your handstand (ie tuck up, kick up, etc) to reorient your vestibular system and get familiar with being upside down. Try short holds. Aerialist on a vertical apparatus? Try different climbs (and may I suggest those climbs that use a good amount of legs, to save your grip muscles and tendons from fatigue)

Phase 2 – Basics

Phase 3 – Skill Refresh

Phase 4 – Skill Acquisition

A steady planned return will keep you safely back in the studio doing the things you love. Talk to your peers and mentors. Keep encouraging each other and stay strong!

Want more? Review my last post and watch the online workshop. Or learn more about how your body works in the air with online circus anatomy courses.

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