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Tips for Trapeze

While the Frequently Asked Questions page covers a lot of great information, this section is meant to help you further prepare for trapeze and make sure you have the best experience possible.

How to deal with soreness

Whenever you start a new exercise program it is important to prepare yourself for soreness caused by using new muscles. Always drink water before, during and after class. Drinking enough water can significantly reduce muscle fatigue and reduce post exercise soreness.

Wear warm clothes when it’s cool at the school. Keeping your muscles warm greatly improves flexibility, reduces stiffness and will allow you to put your best effort into your time on the swing. Keep moving between swings. If you want to make serious improvement in every class then stretching and practicing moves is essential. And it keeps your body a peak for the challenge.

Aspirin or ibuprofen after a hard work out is a great idea, but only if these medications are safe for you personally. If you know you can take these safely then they are great for reducing the inflammation associated with exercise.

Also you can ice sore muscles, take warm bathes to warm up stiff muscles and rub muscles down with Tiger Balm or other warming gel.

How to prepare for class

If it is your first class please show up 15 minutes early to fill out a waiver. This way you can be ready to go when class starts. Every one can prepare for a good class by being well rested, eating light within 4 hours of the class, warming up and stretching out well in advance of class.

Be sure the clothing you are wearing is safe, comfortable and right for the weather you are flying in. If you need to wear sun block, put it on before you come to class. Make sure you have absolutely no cream, oil or grease on your wrists and hands. This will make gripping the bar safer and make catching you less slippery.

Bring water!!!! A towel, a hat, a light snack and anything else that you like to have when you’re going to exercize.

What to wear, etc

You want to wear clothes that are comfortable for a wide range of exercise. Tights are great, sweats and tee shirts are fine. Layering is a good idea so you can stay warm between swings. Socks are fine ballet slippers are better. Women want to consider if what they plan to wear will work as well when you’re upside down. Floppy clothes are a no no. They just get in the way.

Bring something to tie your hair back securely and that will keep hair completely out of your face.

If you wear glasses please wear a sport croaky or other way of keeping them securely on your face. Better to wear your contacts if you have them. If we think your glasses may injure you we may ask you to remove them for flying.

Ideas for other things you can do (i.e. yoga)

Running, Yoga, rock climbing, aerobics and calisthenics are all great for cross training. Core strength and flexibility depends on doing a variety of exercises and doing something almost every day. Ask us in person if you want some ideas about what will support your body type best.

What to do about blisters and rips

Blisters and rips are a common part of the flying experience. If you get a blister the first time you fly and don’t plan to do anything crazy with your hands soon, just let it fade on it’s own. If you plan to fly again soon you may want to drain, expose (cutting away the detached skin), clean and dry the blister and get it on the path to toughening as quickly as possible. If you do blister during class be sure to point it out to an instructor so we can assist you in caring for it.

There are definitely some blisters and rips you don’t want to fly on. No matter how tough you are, you don’t want to deepen a wound that will keep you from flying sooner than later. Show your rip to the staff. Let us help you take care of it. We may ask you to call it a day. In time, if you fly a good deal, your hands will toughen up. Be patient. In the mean time, consider wearing grips.

Taking care of your shoulders

You want to keep the head of the humerus in the shoulder socket - otherwise you are hanging on the little rotator cuff muscles that were never meant to be hung on. If the humerus is in it's socket, then the muscles that attach to the shoulder blade and spine can work properly, the lats can be used and therefore the torso can be used.

Many professional flyers actually release the head of the humerus from the socket in the back of their beat back to give them the illusion of more back flexibility, and therefore more power. This is a good technique in the short term, but can do real damage in the long term. A better solution is to stretch out your shoulders and back.

A good exercise to improve your force out will help you also get to know how your pelvic tilt and abdominal muscles work to help you tuck (or pike) your feet up over your head. Lots of people try to do a force out without really using their abs. Here is the exercise, but IF AT ANY TIME YOUR BACK WANTS TO ARCH UP STOP THIS EXERCISE AS YOU MAY INJUR YOURSELF AND YOU WILL BE TEACHING YOURSELF BAD HABITS.

Lie on the floor on your back with your arms straight over your head and shoulder width apart. Hold onto someone's ankles or tuck your palms under the edge of a sofa. Press your spine into the floor, focusing on the area under your waist band. Lift your feet a few inches off the floor. Slowly tuck your feet into your butt, then roll up on your back one vertebrae at a time, being conscious of how the pelvis tilts up as you contract your stomach muscles into the tuck. Roll up until your are up on your shoulders.

From here you can either 1. roll slowly back down to the first position keeping your spine pressed into the floor. Go to the start position (feet a few inches off the floor) and repeat without ever releasing your abs or spine OR 2. force out your feet to the ceiling and lower them down to the floor as slowly as possible, OR 3. if you are on a soft crash mat force your feet up and out to the ceiling quickly to a straight body end-of-force out position (your body will come down fast into the start position, which is why you want a soft crash mat under you).

Hope this helps! For more info my sister and I started teaching a workshop we call Physical Preparation and Injury Prevention for Aerialists - it's about proper shoulder position, how to keep it and how to connect shoulder position to abdominal strength and spinal support.

This tip comes from Elsie of www.trapezetwins.com

Should you wear grips?

Grips are good if your hands are soft. They do not guarantee that you will avoid blisters and rips, but for the most part they can be helpful. Grips can be made of sports tape (available for purchase at the TSNY Los Angeles store), buckskin and leather. Sport gloves are not allowed on the rig. The head of staff for your class must approve any grip you plan to wear. If we’re concerned that your grip isn’t solid we will ask you to fly without.

You can find them pretty easily at a gymnastics supply store. Better to get grips without a dowel if possible. If you are not sure what grips are best for you, ask an instructor to look at your hands and give suggestions.