Planning your warm-up for self training in aerial.

December 2022

Aerial | Conditioning | All

How do you prepare your body for aerial? Do you have a fixed routine for warm-up or go straight into your practice?  

Warming up can prepare you physically and mentally for the task ahead. It can also reduce your risk of traumatic and overuse injuries. An effective warm-up should elevate your heart rate, increase body temperature, and circulation to the muscles. These physiological changes can create a prime environment where our joints become more mobile, and our muscles are "switched on" for action. 

Sometimes this part is neglected due to a lack of time, social influences, fatigue and lack of space and sources. The current research support warm-up can prevent injuries. However, there is no clear guidance on the intensity, duration, and what activities to include. A warm-up session that has a greater focus on increasing body temperature, rather than stretching, is more significant in injury reduction. 

Here are some practical considerations when planning a warm-up: 

Work on increasing your body temperature.
Do 5-10 minutes of aerobics exercises such as brisk walking, jogging and star jumps. 

Carry out movements to increase your joint mobility.
Spend 30-60 seconds performing functional dynamic movements on each joint through their range of motions. 
(e.g., reach up, truck rotations, low lunge, leg swings) 

Preparing your mental mindset. 
Visualising and planning out what you would like to work towards at rehearsal. 

Currently, there is limited guidance on which warm-up routine can aid injury prevention. It is still important to invest 15 to 20 minutes of structured activities that support your mind and body. Start utilising your warm-up session with the above ideas before rehearsal and see what difference it can make!  

Behm, D., Blazevich, A., Kay, A. and McHugh, M., 2016. Acute effects of muscle stretching on physical performance, range of motion, and injury incidence in healthy active individuals: a systematic review. _Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism_, 41(1), pp.1-11. 

Fradkin, A., Gabbe, B. and Cameron, P., 2006. Does warming up prevent injury in sport?. _Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport_, 9(3), pp.214-220. 

About Beth: 
Bethany Shum is a chartered physiotherapist (HCPC, MCSP) who is passionate about performing arts and artistic sports. She has personal and professional experience working with gymnasts, aerialists, and cheerleaders. This includes her work with Team England ParaCheer (2019) and Gymnastic Commonwealth Games 2022. She completed the specialist UCL Performing Arts Medicine Programme and won the Mike Shipley Award for excellence in MSc Research exploring Pain in Acrobats.  

In her physiotherapy work, treats individuals with chronic pain conditions, musculoskeletal disorders and rheumatological conditions with a holistic approach. She currently runs a Specialist Performing Arts Clinic near Old Street (N1 6AL) to support performers with pain, rehabilitaion and optimising performance.