Link above to a cool article on stretching and the fascial web. I dork out on stuff like this hardcore ;)
Circus Artists will all get injured sometime, in some way shape or form. It’s not an “if”, it’s a “when.” How you deal with it is super super important.
Let’s take a look at the average circus artist injury cycle!
1) Injury X happens. You may or may not notice because you train a lot and your body is always sore. And you are so awesome and strong and resilient that it must just be a little thing. You decide it will feel better tomorrow.
2) A couple days pass. X still hurts. You sagely decide to “take it easy,” which doesn’t really result in any behavioral changes except perhaps more theraband work or rolling on a lacrosse ball. At most you take a day off, but still do abs.
3) A week passes. X still hurts and has gotten worse. You use your massive intellect to determine that maybe something is wrong and so you decide to ask someone about it. You ask your friend who says maybe you should take it easy so you don’t “really injure it.” This sage advice creates a behavioral change…you replace your conditioning with stretching the injured area. Maybe you even take two days off…but still do abs or stretch or something.
4) You no longer remember how long X has been hurting; you officially call it “awhile.”. You begin referring to it as “my tweaky X.”. Since it has normalized into chronic constant irritation you return to training as normal.
Sound familiar? We have all done this. You may be doing it right now. It is the most retarded solution on the planet…it’s not a solution actually, it’s just a weird mental justification for never dealing with an injury. I cannot offer you a solution to this pattern…but I will offer the following (non-medical, not intended to treat or diagnose or help you in any way at all) advice.
~The first 24 hours after any injury are the most important. This sucks, because on the timeline above, you don’t do anything until way too late. You can vastly curtail the effects of an injury by treating it appropriately and seriously in the first 24-36 hours after. As silly as it might seem, I treat every little tweak as if it is a bad injury. (ice, rest, pint of ice cream.) This doesn’t make me a wimp…this means that small things don’t develop in to big things because I catch them early.
~As discussed in “Don’t be stupid (part 1)”, you shouldn’t be in pain. You should be sore from working your muscles…but that’s not painful. Pain is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. You should fix that…you owe it to your body. If you don’t treat it, your body will start to create compensations. You know that ankle you “tweaked?” In two weeks your knee will be compensating for it, taking stresses to wasn’t designed to handle. In two months your pelvis will be out of whack. All because you just couldn’t take 3 days off of tumbling.
~Seek treatment. Not from a friend. Not from that coach who seems to know a lot (aka me). If you’re in pain for more than 10 days in a specific spot, you are officially out of your depth and should ask someone qualified. Not because every small thing is bad…but because the one time that you catch a herniated disk before it gets bad will make it worth it. You will save months of recovery time (if you’re older than 22…under 22 you’ll save weeks.)
A side note: Health insurance in the USA is a joke. I know it sucks, and I know getting something checked out is a pain, and most of the time they tell you to ice it and rest it. But if you are a serious circus artist, you need to have it, and getting someone qualified to tell you to ice it and rest it is important…because one time they’ll tell you it’s broken. At least get something that covers you for PT and sports medicine. And a doctors visit for that weird pain in your neck.
Madi almost does an awesome windmill! Hehe. We work on this skill a LOT; for me it is the quintessential Int silks drop. Yay Friday night silks class! You guys are getting fun :)
So that link will send you to a FASCINATING account of a hand-balancer who visited the school in Kiev…by reputation the best hand-balancing school in the world. I read it and thought it was super interesting.
His blog is also way fascinating and inspiring…I’ve been lazy with mine lately and want to be more awesome like he is :)
Here’s one of my private students! We work on handstands and bending, but we’ve dedicated this month to back bending. You can make such great progress in only a few weeks dedicated training and work. She’s super super dedicated to her homework…stay tuned for more updates on her as we continue training!
I love Ira Glass. And this is SO TRUE. Glad I finally found it and get to post it, because I think of it a lot.
Hey everyone! The American Youth Circus Organization has their Educator’s Conference this year in Seattle in August. It’s the only real national organization for circus educators in the US right now, so even if you don’t teach kids you should think about attending :)
Click the link above for more info! Aerial pedagogy has been a hot topic in the past, as has insurance for Aerial teaching…and a lot of info on that stuff is going to go down.
Hope to see you there!
A fun drip from class tonight!
Pain is a part of being a circus artist. Or so everyone seems to think.
Let’s make a distinction here between “pain” and “hard work.” Hard work is super super important, and yes sometimes hard=painful. And certainly, being an athlete of any kind means that at some point you’ll probably get injured and have to deal with that.
But “pain” is something different. Let’s make a quick list of good pain vs. bad pain.
1). Muscle soreness that goes away when you warm up. Awesome.
2). Burns and bruises. These aren’t good really, but they aren’t bad really. They are literally “only skin deep”, and so treat them right and they’ll go away.
Bad pain: everything else.
1) Most important is pain that effects your daily non-training activities. If that “tweak” means you can’t sit stand walk or lift your arm without pain, get it checked out. And not by your friend.
2) Burning or tingling. This is the sensation of nerve based pain. Get it dealt with. The caveat here is having a limb “go to sleep” when you stretching…if it comes back as soon as you exit the stretch, thats about blood flow and is fine.
3) “Pinching” in a joint. This is impingement, and is probably caused by poor mechanics or positioning. Your joints shouldnt pinch when you use them…they should feel stable and fluid.
So maximize your good pain and minimize your bad pain. It’s really simple :). This list definitely isn’t exhaustive…but it covers the basics. If you’ve had a sensation you’re wondering about post a comment! I’ll either do my best or forward you to a resource.