Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Aerial Silks Teaching Technique: The Mid-Class Warmup?

Hamstring injuries in aerial are becoming a common theme lately.  Most people acquire some form of hamstring injury either from activities not related to aerial that exacerbate when adding aerial fitness to their routine or during aerial training when key muscle groups are not properly warmed up or have had the opportunity to cool down.  I have developed a theory I would like to implement into my teaching strategy that incorporates the concept of post warm up cooling phase training.  The cooling phase is when those nice and warm muscles go cold during an aerial class. 

It's been my experience that during classes we tend to repetitively focus on particular skills and muscle groups that pertain to distinct movement of the class agenda.  When we want to add some "flavor" to the skill we're newly mastering by combining it with our bank of moves we've already become proficient in, there runs the risk of tapping into skills that use muscle groups that have not been worked over the course of the previous 30-40 minute instructional class time.  A classic example of this would be to drop a split during a double foot lock when you just spent the last 30 minutes focusing on foot locking and not engaging the muscles that should be warm when going into a split. 

This idea has got me thinking about approaching teaching my classes a bit differently.  Instead of the 20 minute start of the class warm up, would it be possible to stagger the warm up throughout my 60 minute classes?  To utilize aerial skills in conjunction with a foundational buildup of creating a consistency for maintaining a warmer body?  How would a class like this flow?  I would have to re-write my entire teaching curriculum to meet the requirements of touching base with each muscle group thoroughly before engaging those areas in the desired aerial skills.  Or would it work just as well to shorten the 20 minute warm up and then integrate those missed elements with a class wide off the silks instructor lead range of motion check in when everyone goes through a series of body rolls and movements similar to the more intense pre-workout warm up?  This ROM check in can include more intense static stretching that precedes the upcoming high risk injury moves. 

Implementation Practices
I decided to try to implement this into my class last night. While I had good intentions, I ended up moving right into the class curriculum and forgetting to have a mid-class warm up EVEN after I told my students what I had planned.  I think implementing this new process will take some careful planning on my part.  Some ideas I will play around with include using timers on my phone to set specific intervals throughout class where we need to stop everything we're working on and re-engage and focus with a range of motion check in.  I'm also going to take some time over the next few weeks to re-write up my class curriculum to include specific stretches to compliment the skills being taught in class.  I think this is a good starting point and will definitely keep you all posted on the results of my progress for this project.

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