Finding Your Training Sweet Spot

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.

The thing is, the training sweet spot is a moving target. To send the arrow to the center, you need to continually to shift and adjust your approach. Let’s look at some ways to make that happen.

What does it take to feel really good?

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.

Experiment & check in – REGULARLY!

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.

Check in with your heart rate and don’t get lost in your phone

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, it’s still totally possible to end up feeling that way.

So how can you 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.

This is how you stay interested and inspired. Unlocking new skills or leveling up your strength or flexibility just feels fantastic, and those good feelings keep you excited to continue on your journey.

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. I have included resources for optimizing your training within Aerial Silks Online, to support you not just in what you learn but how you learn, practice, and train, setting you up for enjoyment and longevity! This is such an amazing resource that I have never found included in a tutorial library – I’m super happy to share it with you – Launches late January 2024.

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