Training aerial is a potentially dangerous activity - yeah ok I know Skylab ceilings are not that high, so hurtling towards the floor at breakneck speed whilst doing a complicated series of drops is not that possible.
But I can assure you coming out of a move even two metres from the floor is going to hurt pretty bad. Falling out of any move the wrong way means you can possibly injure or pull a muscle and the same goes with landing badly, so please give aerial it’s due respect.
Follow these guidelines for safe practice and you’ll be golden
AERIAL SAFETY PROTOCOLS
1. WARM UP
It’s super important to get your body physically and mentally prepared before you start - not only so you have a better training session but also to help prevent injuries.
Warm up routines should focus primarily on mobility exercises that are weight bearing, multi-joint movements and should encourage the body to progressively move through a full range of motion. They should also involve a small amount of cardio in order to raise the heart rate, so the body is fully functioning and ready for aerial action.
We always do a 10 min warm up in class but if you know that you need longer you’re more than welcome to come early and limber up.
Keep your head in the game. Sounds kind of obvious but for doing aerial this is really important. If you’re not fully focussed and paying attention on what you’re doing this is going to have serious consequences!
So do not be checking your phone while spotting or chatting to other people in the room while you’re attempting a move. Aerial and multi tasking do not mix!
Remember it’s 100% attention on the move or don’t do the move at all.
Most mistakes happen when we're not focused on what we're doing and mistakes can lead to falls, bad landings and potential injuries.
3. CRASH MATS
Crash mats are there for good reason - to make you feel safe and to soften your landings. So make sure they’re directly underneath you and not sliding away off to one side.
One of the most common dangers when you’re a beginner is coming out of moves without control and smacking your feet down (due to not having enough core strength to hold your body weight).
Nothing wrong with doing this and I can guarantee this will happen, but if the crash mat is not under you and your feet smack the floor, this is going to hurt! So please watch out for that.
Always work with a spotter when learning a new move. There are four SMART reasons for this as follows:
Safety Measures - to help your flyer land safely from an unexpected fall (break their fall)
Assistance - to guide your flyer through new moves that their body may not know (boost them up)
Reassurance - to help your flyer feel confident in the skill (it's scary up there!)
Teaching tips - remind them of the teaching tips (tell them if they're doing things wrong)
This also applies to training - never, ever train on your own, always have at least one person with you in the room, just in case anything should happen. If you do have to train on your own make sure you only do your safest tricks that you know you are 100% not going to land wrong.
5. SLIDING ON A SILK
Never slide on a silk… For those who’ve ever experienced a rope burn or friction burn as we call them - it's just not pleasant. Doesn't hurt that much at the time - but boy you will know about it later in the shower as it will sting like crazy and probably take a good week or so to heal up.
It’s why we always wear leggings and cover the mid riff - burns happen when skin slides against the fabric so wearing appropriate clothing can help guard against this.
So never slide down the silk as if it was a fireman's pole - oucheee!!! It's always hand over hand, whilst squeezing the silks between your thighs.
Which means you must also always leave enough grip strength to come down the silk. No good climbing really high, only to find that your forearms are getting really pumped and then your grip strength goes, and you have no choice but to slide. Nooooo! when you feel your arms getting tired - that’s when you need to come down.
6. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
Aerial is an extreme sport - not only are you lifting your whole body weight into the air but you’re also asking the body to turn, twist, bend and wrap into all sorts of crazy shapes and positions.
If you have not done this before this is a lot to ask of your body. If you start to experience pain, twinges or uncomfortable sensations in anyway, this may be your body’s way of letting you know that it can’t handle what you are asking it to do.
So listen to these signals and back off, give your body a break and come back to it when you are ready.
7. COOL DOWN
You’ve just put your body through a supremely intense workout - it needs to recover and cool down before you head straight back out into to the real world. So make sure you always do some slow static stretching so your muscles can recover and let all that adrenaline release.
8. DON’T DO AERIAL IF YOU’RE INJURED
Please listen and be kind to your body because it's the only one you have! If you train on an injury it's very likely that you will aggravate it (or worst case cause serious damage).
An injury means your body has a weakness - aerial is intense and your body needs to be in peak condition in order to train well. I know only too well how frustrating injuries can be but please back off, rest up, do yourself a favour and nurse that injury rather than push it.
9. DON’T DO AERIAL IF YOU’RE NOT FEELING WELL
Aerial is intense and you need to be in peak condition to train well. Ok there may be times when you are feeling a bit under the weather, tired or stressed and it's ok to train during these times but train with awareness of these factors and don't push yourself so hard.
If you are feeling unwell such as you may be coming down with something, feel dizzy, nauseous, head achey etc then listen to these signals and take rest. It's your body telling you it's not ok.
I know it's frustrating to have to miss aerial class, but it's much, much better to miss a class and let your body recover than to take class and make the sickness worse or worse still get injured.
10. DON’T DO AERIAL IF YOU’RE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF DRUGS OR ALCOHOL
Plain common sense but worth mentioning… just in case you’re thinking you can get away with a cheeky glass of wine in the afternoon at that works do, and then sidle into class and get away with it.
Alcohol (and drugs) lower your inhibitions which means your judgement will be off - a total recipe for disaster when it comes to aerial and always bound to end in tears. Remember alcohol and aerial bad mix!
Remember to always, always, always work safely in the air.
I can't stress this enough! Our bodies are the only ones we have and even if we want to push our limits and try out crazy, scary moves we must still remember to follow the safety guidelines so that we can make doing all this crazy stuff as safe as we possibly can.