We are in the middle of a hot, humid summer here in Memphis, TN, and all you have to do to feel warm is wake up and step outside. Since our gym doesn’t have air conditioning, we spend a lot of time “glistening” (AKA sweating our faces off) in the gym.
And while I personally love the heat (hello, splits!), ambient warm air temperature doesn’t mean you can skip your warm-up. Coming late to class doesn’t mean you get to skip warm-up. And thinking you don’t need to warm-up doesn’t mean you get to skip warm-up!
Do you see a theme here? Warming up before training aerial is non-negotiable.
Your instructors should be leading your through a 10-15 minute warm-up before every single class. And when you come to open gym or train on your own, you should be doing the same length of a warm-up (if not more). My warm-up often takes as long as 30 minutes, especially if I add in some conditioning and physical therapy exercises.
So, what does an optimal warm-up look like? Well, every body is different and your warm-up will change as you progress through aerial, depending on what apparatus(es) you will be training on, and what skills you plan on doing that day. But at a minimum, a good warm-up should include:
• 5 minutes of cardio (you want to increase your heart rate and start to raise your overall body heat, so think jumping jacks, jogging, burpees, etc.)
• Movement that warms-up each of the major joints you will be using (think, shoulder shoulders, hip rotations, neck circles, wrist rolls, ankle rolls)
• Pushing movements for the shoulders, like push-ups, planks, bear walks, or handstands
• Core work to activate your abdominals and back (don’t only focus on your abs… your back and side body are also part of your core)
• Spinal warm-up, including things like cat/cow or upward/downward facing dog
• Light, active stretching (your warm-up is not the time to sit in your splits for 4 minutes. Stretch gently and keep the stretch dynamic by moving in and out of it gently)
• Climbs and/or up-downs on your equipment of choice
If you aren’t able to walk yourself through a solid warm-up, ask your instructor for ideas. Write down things that you do in class and ask questions if you don’t understand how to do something properly.
If your warm-up is only taking a couple of minutes, then you aren’t doing it right and you are setting yourself up for injury. You are also not maximizing your training potential and holding yourself back from progressing.
At High Expectations, we have a warm-up printed and posted on our wall. If you ever come to class or open gym and don’t know where to start, refer to that sheet or ask the instructor overseeing that class to help you.
Happy Warming-Up and Training!