The *HOW* of training: 7 tips for optimizing your workouts as an aerialist or pole artist

Training aerial and pole requires a lot of physical and mental effort. With so many skills to work on, it is no surprise when things start to feel overwhelming or unclear. Let’s look at few ways that you can create clarity and efficacy in your training sessions over the short and long term.

Know Your WHY:

At the core of every successful aerialist or pole dancer lies a powerful “WHY” – a driving force that fuels their passion and determination. Take a moment to reflect on the big picture. What is the overarching goal behind all your endeavors? Whether it’s to master technique, perform, teach, push the boundaries of creativity, or inspire others, clarifying your purpose informs how and what you train, and helps keep you motivated through the inevitable ups and downs in your journey.

Plan Ahead:

Do you ever get to the studio to train and find yourself unable to choose something to work on? Your training feels a bit ad hoc and scattered? I for one know that I cannot count on my brain to produce an organized and logical workout for myself on the spot, or even if it does, sticking to it can be really hard! Writing down your workout ahead of time spares you the stress of figuring things out on the spot. Checkboxes help keep me on track and accountable to my plan. There’s no need to feel restricted by your plan – I always allow the option of straying from the plan if I discover something really exciting I want to pursue.

Track Your Skills:

There are simply too many skills to remember. Maintain a record of both mastered and aspirational skills to create a comprehensive skill tracker. To help you get started, I’m including a free blank fill-in skill tracker, enabling you to visualize your progress and identify areas for growth. This simple yet effective tool becomes a roadmap guiding you towards mastery.

Aim for Skill Refinement:

You can learn a lot of skills. But what does it mean to master a skill? Achieving proficiency in aerial arts and pole dancing requires more than surface-level mastery. Dedicate ample time to each skill, allowing yourself to embody and understand them on a deeper level. By keeping skills in rotation and undergoing periodic reviews, you ensure a continual refinement process that contributes to your overall growth as an artist. I find that learning a skill deeply makes me better at learning and mastering skills, period.

So take your time! Revisit, revise, learn anew. I believe a skill always has something to teach us, even years after first learning it.

Stay Balanced:

Train both sides on drills and foundational skills. This not only promotes symmetry in your performances but also minimizes the risk of imbalances that could hinder your progress over time. Remember to switch up which hand is on top as appropriate.

Care for Your Body:

Establish good habits around training, including proper nutrition and hydration. Modify workouts on days when fatigue sets in, allowing your body the time it needs to recover. Remember, a well-supported body is better equipped to take on the challenges of aerial arts and pole dancing.

Schedule Extended Rest:

We ask a lot of our bodies in aerial and pole arts. Schedule regular, extended breaks to give your body the opportunity to fully recover. See how it feels to rest for 4-7 consecutive days if you don’t already. This intentional downtime not only prevents burnout but also ensures full muscle recovery.

Optimizing your training as an aerialist or pole dancer involves more than just perfecting physical skills. It’s about understanding your purpose, planning strategically, tracking progress, refining your craft, maintaining balance, caring for your body, and scheduling essential rest. Taking care in all these areas of your training will greatly support you in reaching your goals, staying healthy, and creating longevity in your craft. To help you go deeper with optimizing your training, I created a Training Resources section of Aerial Silks Online (relaunches January 2024). I believe that *how* we train is even more important than what we train, and one of my goals is to support you in refining that *how.”