HOW TO Warm Up YOUR WRISTS FOR HANDSTANDS

Do your wrists kill you when you try to go upside down? Do feel pain in wrist extension?

Looking for a good warm up for your wrists prior to working on your handstands? Here’s a thorough wrist warm up that will have you ready to bear weight in no time.

This warm up is the type of content you will find within The Parish, an online community for aerialists of all aerial disciplines.

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Technique Tips: Contrast Spiral in Twisted Grip

Jen Crane and Simone Muscat have been talking about twisted grip today and I wanted to add some “yes and” 💰.

A contrast spiral is formed in the body when you have one side of a joint going in one direction and the other side going in the other. It can feel weird in the body, especially if you never do it or train it. So like all things, prepare your body for the demands you want to place on it in the air under conditions with less complexity and load.

Let me know if you have any questions or thoughts in the comments below!

My View on Internal vs. External Cueing

I just wanted to share this article that I read today on internal vs. external cueing and share some of my thoughts. In it, Matt Kuzdub, a high-level tennis athlete, discusses what the research has shown on cueing and why he thinks that it is not all that.

Hint: I agree!

I like to think of external cueing as playing the short game and internal cueing as playing the long game.

We need both. If you want to see what all short game looks like, that’s the current political process in the US. Not the best model for high performance.

And all long game? Well, that’s academia. Where something might be happening. But it is not totally clear. I mean, if you have tenure, there’s no rush.

According to Matt, “I believe there’s a constant tug and pull, a back and forth, a mix and match type scenario that should occur. Sometimes, we need to focus on the positioning and/or execution of a particular body part. Other times, we should focus more on an external factor like the flight of the ball or a target. But this will all depend on the athlete, their preferences, their skill level, the time of year, the complexity of the task, the sport in question, and probably a host of other factors I haven’t yet considered.”

The problem I see in circus is an over-reliance not on internal cueing, but on non-specific internal cueing.

What does that mean?

I posted about this on Instagram last week.

As I say in the post, instead of just saying, “I need you to lift your hips,” you should instead give specific details about HOW to achieve that, e.g., “by pulling the bottom of your ribs forward and your right shoulder blade back.” You don’t need to give 50 cues at once but you do need to be specific about a strategy for achieving a technical outcome.

And if you’re not a coach?

Get comfortable asking for the feedback you need.

If you’re not getting the feedback you need, ask your coach for it. Unsure how, try: “What remains stable and what moves?” That will help them focus on the specificity you just might need to move forward.

Interested in hearing more of the latest and greatest aerial and mobility training tips? Join my mailing list.

Is each day another you haven’t achieved your goals?

Eeek. An over-reliance on the end result can make for an all-or-nothing training experience. While goals are important and worthy of your time, they can also distance you from the day-to-day work needed to accomplish them. Maybe you need some process goals.

You are probably used to setting outcome goals. They are relatively easy to imagine. You can list them off in your head. A flat middle split, a waist roll up, a 1-minute handstand. They are the tricks and the skills. They are the destination, a chair on a small island, a fruity beverage in hand.

Processes, on the other hand, can be overlooked or forgotten because they take thought, planning, and often HELP. Processes are the steps you take along the way. They can be moving you toward a destination OR they can just keep you moving.

Let’s say your outcome goal is to perform a back flag in a new act. That’s a fabulous goal. But… global pandemic. If there won’t be any live performances in the near term, you can lay out process-goal breadcrumbs along the way to maintain your motivation. Over the next 4-6 weeks, you could focus on shoulder mobility and stability, and set process goals on the frequency, intensity, and duration of your shoulder drills. The subsequent 4-6 weeks, you might choose to focus on the process of act creation, setting aside exploration time in and out of back flag shapes.

Do you see the difference? Your outcome goal focuses on the end. Your process goal focuses on the means.

It’s okay if you don’t have an outcome goal!

Not every moment in life calls for outcome-oriented training goals. Sometimes your personal integrity dictates different priorities, be it family, health, or career. In those times, it can be helpful to shift your focus solely to the process.

Is aerial rope training also your meditative, creative time? Is it not your number one priority, but also important to stay sane? Set a process goal of doing the thing a certain number of hours per week, with no outcome in mind. Just do the thing and feel a sense of achievement for showing up for yourself.

I’m curious.

Do you have any process goals for the next 4-6 weeks? Are they related to any outcomes? Drop them in the comments below.

Interested in hearing more of the latest and greatest aerial and mobility training tips? Join my mailing list.

Make Your Hips Say Hallelujah

Do your hips need some love and attention? Do you need to improve your hip mobility? Try out my weekly class, Hips Hallelujah.

(You’ll need a peanut, two yoga blocks, a stretching strap, and a foam roller for this class.)

This class is for students with both mobility limitations and hypermobility in the hips. After a warm up of myofacial techniques, nerve glides, and the Gyrokinesis® method, Hips Hallelujah focuses on strength and isometrics in end-range positions. The class is designed to improve an aerial and/or handbalancing practice but is helpful for anyone looking to improve their hip mobility and stability.

Sign up for a live Hips Hallelujah class.

Want to take your training up a level? I’m looking for a group of driven aerialists, pole artists, dancers, and other artistic athletes who want to spend the next 3 months—even under challenging circumstances—hitting their mobility, strength, and technical goals. Doors to The Conclave are currently closed but again open in September. I’d love to help you slay your quarantraining.

Improve Your Shoulder Flexibility with Cat Scratchers

Here’s one of my favorite exercises to improve active shoulder flexion while in end-range thoracic extension. Cat Scratchers are great for Mexican handstands!

You can use a band, strap, or block between your elbows to encourage engagement through your arms.

1️⃣ Face the wall seated on your heels with your knees touching it. (If this exercise feels easy, just move your knees progressively away from the wall.

2️⃣ Bring your hands and rest them on the wall, palms facing each other, elbows straight.

3️⃣ Elevate your shoulders and externally rotate, wrapping your scapula around your armpits (like in a handstand).

4️⃣ Press your hands into the wall and start to slide them overhead. Look between your hands and lift your sternum while drawing your sits bones back in opposition. Stop when your sternum rests on the wall. (If you cannot reach the wall, lift your butt off of your heels just enough so you can without changing the position of your pelvis.)

5️⃣ Continue to wrap around the armpits and lift your arms off of the wall for 5-10 pulses. (If you cannot lift off of the wall, lift your butt off of your heels just enough so you can without changing the position of your pelvis.)

6️⃣ (Slide back down the wall if you have slid up.) Curl the pelvis and ripple to the spine to return to your start position.

Interested in hearing more of the latest and greatest aerial and mobility training tips? Join my mailing list. Or join a live mobility class.

Let’s Fly! Stabilize the Hips with Supermans and Airplanes

I have gotten a lot of questions lately about pinching at the front of the hip and other hip stability issues. The Hip Superman & Airplane is a great exercise for improving the strength of the gluteus medius, minimus, and deep external rotators as well as the proprioceptive components of the hip.

More strength from these muscles will help prevent the head of the femur from slipping forward in the socket and causing discomfort in positions like the squat. (But if you’re experiencing pain, see a physio!)

1️⃣ Start in the standing T “Superman” position on a soft stance leg, hips facing the ground. Be sure you can hold this position for 10 seconds before progressing to the airplanes.

2️⃣ Bring your arms out to the side. Rotate your hips toward your stance leg, back to your start position, and away from your stance leg for 3-5 reps, building up to 10 reps.

3️⃣ If this gets easy, add light resistance to the stance leg. If you have knee valgus (knees fold in), switch the direction of this load to encourage more work from your outer hip (abductors).

This is a great accessory exercise. Slip it into your warmup, between sets when lifting, or while waiting for your cat, I mean clothes, to dry.

Here’s one of my favorite exercises to improve active shoulder flexion while in end-range thoracic extension. Cat Scratchers are great for Mexican handstands!

You can use a band, strap, or block between your elbows to encourage engagement through your arms.

1️⃣ Face the wall seated on your heels with your knees touching it. (If this exercise feels easy, just move your knees progressively away from the wall.

2️⃣ Bring your hands and rest them on the wall, palms facing each other, elbows straight.

3️⃣ Elevate your shoulders and externally rotate, wrapping your scapula around your armpits (like in a handstand).

4️⃣ Press your hands into the wall and start to slide them overhead. Look between your hands and lift your sternum while drawing your sits bones back in opposition. Stop when your sternum rests on the wall. (If you cannot reach the wall, lift your butt off of your heels just enough so you can without changing the position of your pelvis.)

5️⃣ Continue to wrap around the armpits and lift your arms off of the wall for 5-10 pulses. (If you cannot lift off of the wall, lift your butt off of your heels just enough so you can without changing the position of your pelvis.)

6️⃣ (Slide back down the wall if you have slid up.) Curl the pelvis and ripple to the spine to return to your start position.

Let me know how it goes. If you would like to try out my weekly mobility classes, I would love to have you.

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