Mechanics of the Aerial Inversion
Many people battle with the inversion, whether in pole, aerial yoga, aerial hoop or any form of aerial apparatus. There are two major reasons for this struggle, one is not yet having the strength needed, the other reason is not engaging the correct muscles in the correct order, or the mechanics of the inversion. We will focus on the mechanics today and discuss strength next week.
Mechanically the the inversion is a test because of the timing required to execute the move. The joints and muscles in the arms, shoulders and hips must all move in sync and at the correct moment in the movement. The body needs to be compact and pivot up and over, allowing the hips over the head. The muscles of the core, upper and lower back, chest and arms are all working hard in this movement. On top of this there is timing, there is a crucial point in the movement where the universe must align and the arms lengthen lowering the upper body, while the hips lift over the head. It takes body awareness and the ability to control the muscle and the body. Many people do not take into consideration how advanced this movement actually is on the body and mind. It is gymnastics.
We are using an aerial hoop to demo the movement. When preforming an inversion, we must engage the back and core and come to a position of power with bent elbows (this may require a lift in harder moves). We tip back and lift the hips over the head, at the moment before the hios reach the apex or top of the pivot, we must simultaneously extend the arms to a straight position, allowing the upper body to release downward. This mechanical movement of straightening the arms will help the hips come overhead. It takes activation of the lower core to help get the hips up. Then we find the balance point and can extend the legs to a straddle. The aerial mount can be done with straight arms, but it is much harder. It is also performed with a straddle, skipping the open leg tuck ( middle photo below). For demo purposes and with newer aerialists and polers this is where you should be starting. When we lengthen the legs we lengthen the lever system and it is harder to preform this move.
Last Mechanical Pointers The Aerial Mount movement should be fluid and originate in the core and upper back muscles. The legs should not kick into the mount. Also note that the legs should be dynamically engaged ( check out last week’s post on Dyanamic Tension ) and not dragging. Another point that many aerialists miss, is that the head needs to stay in line with the spine. If the head drops back the natural habit of the human body is to release the core.