In my aerial journey, there have been entire years that I trained consistently, an entire year where I barely trained, I’ve trained sporadically, aimlessly, with goals, without goals, indoors, outdoors, intensively, gently, creatively, lovingly, with frustration, with poor technique, with good technique…you get the idea.
As I look back, it is very obvious to me when I had found my training sweet spot – and when it slipped away.
I have learned a lot about training in this process, and while everyone’s training looks and feels different, I have some tips to share that I know can help you find OR re-establish your training sweet spot.
Design workouts that meet you where you’re at
The very first thing I recommend is to be unwaveringly realistic about where you’re at. If you’ve been away from practice or inconsistent for months, it is paramount that you dial things back to be easy – easier than you think. Even though you might be able to get through a harder workout, the body is going to be going through a lot to respond to the movements that have been absent for a while. Pole and aerial are demanding arts and it is really easy to overdo it.
My goal for you for getting back in the swing of things is to feel really good. Physically. Emotionally. No flailing, no slipping, no dropping down from fatigue. Design your workout so that you are guaranteed to complete each skill without strain and walk away feeling uplifted. You may have to do very basic things and fewer sets of drills to make this happen.
If you already have a consistent practice, there are two pitfalls to watch out for. One is writing workouts that are too easy or do not introduce new types of skills or movement patterns. If this happens, your body will adapt to your training and you won’t be getting stronger or diversifying your portfolio of skills. You may also start to feel uninspired or bored.
On the flip side, you have to be careful not to write workouts that are too hard for you. Even if you *can* complete them, that doesn’t mean they’re appropriate for you. You should not feel exhausted, strained, or become injured from the intensity of your workouts. If you do, it’s a clear sign to take things down a notch.
Check in with yourself regularly to see how you feel before, during, and after your training. Each of these windows tells you something about your training – whether you’re excited to go, whether you’re feeling appropriately challenged, and how you feel when it’s all said and done. If any of these is off, it’s time to reassess your approach to training.
Training should make you feel your body – feeling sore, wakeful (as in present), strong, and limber are great signs. Feeling extremely sore, injured, strained, nothing at all, or exhausted signals a need for a change in some aspect of your training.
Get the right amount of rest
We can think of this tip in two ways – there’s the rest you take between the items on your workout, and there’s the rest you take between workouts.
Too much rest during your workout can lead to cooling down and a loss of momentum. This makes it feel noticeably harder to do the next item on your list. If you have your phone out during your training and it becomes a distraction, this could be you!
Not enough rest between your sets will result in burning out. You might get “pumped” which is a buildup of lactic acid (common in the forearms for aerialists).
Having your heart rate elevated for too long can also be dangerous for your health – this article has a ton of helpful information about heart rate and training.
Then there’s the rest between the workouts themselves. When I’m getting back into training, I give myself 5-7 rest days per week. When I’m in shape, I give myself 4-5 rest days per week. Those numbers will look different for everyone – the key is to make sure your body has a chance to recover before you blast it with demands again.
There’s also the bigger picture of rest – seasonal or cyclical rest. When I am in my training sweet spot, I take 4-7 consecutive days off monthly – and I time it with my moon cycle. You could absolutely go longer than this, as long as you are staying active during that time, or you could do a version where you still train but in a drastically reduced way.
Keep an eye on the big picture of your training
What I love about pole and aerial is that there is no need to get to a place of “what now?” and lose interest because there are more skills and combos than we could ever actually learn! However, if you don’t know how or where to access new training material, you could end up feeling that way.
One way or another, you should figure out how to organize your training so that you are learning and growing over a long term. There is no one way to do this! Your long term growth could be related to strength, skill portfolio, grace and technique, and even creativity if you are in a place of designing sequences and skills.
The reason this matters is that it keeps you interested and inspired. Unlocking new skills or leveling up your strength or flexibility just feels fantastic, and those good feelings keep us excited to continue on in our journeys.
The thing is that everything I’ve touched on here might sound good in theory, but to actually work has to be intentionally incorporated into your life. My own hours of organizing and years of testing different strategies and approaches to training have helped me understand my body better and get really good at training well.
And…I’ve now taken everything I’ve learned and created a program that lays. it. all. out. for. you. (!!!)
I’ve designed a 90-day program that shows you every step of the way of masterminding your own training so that you can easily set and track goals, identify areas where you can better support your health and longevity in your practice, and stay motivated.
The best part is, this is not a one-time thing where you will be motivated for three months and then stop…once I’ve given you this program, you’ll have the tools and templates to continue on with your goal setting and training optimization indefinitely.
AND – it meets you where you’re at. I’m not here to tell you what to train or how frequently – this is not a training regimen to follow. This is a roadmap that shows you how to mastermind your own training so that it is perfect for you.
And it comes with group support and direct guidance from yours truly!
If you’re trying to get back into training…
Or you’re consistent but you’ve plateaued…
Or you are determined to unlock those next skill goals…
Or you’re burning out…
Whether you have 10 hours a week to train or just 1….
Level UP is here to make it 100x clearer and easier.
Training should feel good. It should boost confidence. It should work with your schedule.
Let’s make it happen, together.