Updated: Oct 26, 2020
We love aerial arts because it is wicked cool. Not only does the determination to learn the next “trick” keep us coming back, but we love the community at the studio. So, if you are feeling spun out on aerial and dying to get back to the studio, welcome to the club! Unfortunately, we also have lives to live outside of the studio, so if you can’t get back in for a class for a few days, we understand. Here are a few things you can do, at home, in the meantime, to keep you on your pathway while you are counting the minutes until you can get back:
1. Work Your Toe Point
Wrap a TheraBand around the bottom of your foot, then flex and point your toes. (If you don’t know where to get a TheraBand, you can pick on up at the studio for ~$6).
Dancers and aerialists want a straight line from the inside of the leg down to the pinky toe, so a “sickle” is when the foot turns in, breaking that line. If you have a propensity for sickling, you are in good company, since I have a sickle foot too! This video shows the exercises I use to strengthen the outside of the foot with a TheraBand: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7V91dhTioH8c.
Alternatively, if you wing (turn your foot out on your toe point), put the band on the inside of the foot and work the opposite direction. Winging is less common in my experience.
You can find additional exercises for working your toe point on this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flkVTUn6ly4.
2. Epsom Salt Baths – I make recommendations on vitamins or supplements sparingly, but Epsom salt is one nearly everyone can benefit from. Epsom salt soaks can be used to help remedy low levels of magnesium in the body (a common ailment) and to help to relieve sore muscles and ease the pain from bruises or even sprains.
3. Work Your Core – If your core isn't rock solid, welcome to the club! Our clientele is made up of people just like yourself! But do not fear. As a certified personal trainer dedicated to continuing education, I have CEU's in Pilates so that I can guide our clients in conditioning those abs in the most effective ways! Here is a video with some of my favorite exercises! https://youtu.be/2VAelSzp62M
4. Stretttttch It Out - Even twenty minutes per week can make a big difference, so I use my Grey’s Anatomy TV time to stretch! Dancers and aerialists love it when they can show off splits or a good back bend, but be gentle with your stretch if you aren't there yet! Just HOLD at the point of tension (no bouncing).
5. Foam Roll – Foam rolling can help increase range of motion by relieving muscle tightness and knots in your fascia (connective tissue). Therefore, if you don’t own a foam roller, I definitely recommend investing in one. You can get them at Target or Amazon. I foam roll several times per week, hitting my lats and back, IT band (the side of the quad), hamstrings and calf muscles, and forearms. Go sloooowww. If you find a tender spot, go back and forth over it to work out the kinks.
6. Rest!! - It took me until into my 40s to wrap my brain around the concept that resting isn't doing nothing. Downtime activates the parasympathetic nervous system which plays a huge role in recovery from your workouts. Also known as the rest-and-digest system, the parasympathetic response is responsible for controlling homeostasis, or the balance and maintenance of the body’s systems and is an important part of the strength building process. So go ahead and take a nap or two, guilt-free!
I often do these things all together! I like to warm up before I stretch, so a hot Epsom salt bath or the Pilates exercises pair nicely with the stretch anyway. And a nap before or after, yes, please! If you have any questions, hit us up! We are here to help you find your best self! XOXO, Mindy
Mindy is the founder of Kalispell's Levitation Nation Aerial Studio, where the catch phrase "fitness is fun" is embodied alongside a culture of movement & women empowerment. Mindy is also a columnist for "Montana Woman Magazine." Her column "The Real Levitation Experience" shares expertise for elevating health and wellness that she has acquired through her certifications as a personal trainer and life coach. For more about Mindy, please visit: https://www.levitationnation.org/mindy.