Working the Aerial Mount
As discussed last week, the mechanics of the aerial inversion an aerial mount can send new students into a a depressed funk becuase the movement is difficult and unforgiving for many new students. Understanding how to move the body is important but having the strength to perform the movement is equally important.
When performing a basic aerial tuck inversion, the lattismus dorsi, shoulder girdle ( teres major, infraspinatus and teres minor), arms included the long heads of the triceps, pectorals and core all lift and rotate the body upside down. We also use all our core muscles, included the low back area. In our last post, we discussed how the muscles and body must fire in a the correct order to perform the movement. Plus the muscles must be developed and strong enough to actually do the movement. Many people get a head of themselves and forget to work on strength and go straight for the mount. This is where the kicking, flaying and sloppiness emerges and unfortunately none of it really helps. The aerial mount needs to be a controlled movement, if you kick into inversion it will look terrible from a performance standpoint and you are much more likely to injury yourself. If you do not yet have the strength is ok to admit it and here are some exercises that can help you get the aerial mount.
You do not have to do a pull-up to work strength for Inversions. We are using the hoop, but you could use a pole or silks for this exercise too. Come to a position of power with the arms tucked into the chest. Roll the shoulder blades together and down in scapular retraction, depress the shoulders and engage the lower traps as well. Activate the core and either lift in a pencil or tuck the legs up for a different variation. Hold 10 seconds or longer, begin with 4, build to 8 or 10. The tuck position will help you build core strength.
Pull-Up and Lock Off
This is a harder variation of the Lock Off because you need to pull-up and then lock off. This is great for building the inversion strength with dynamic movement. Begin kneeling or have the appartus high enough to give you range for a pull-up. Pull-up without kicking or using momentum, hold in the lock-off position then slowly lower down with control. This move can help build back and upper body strength with controlled movement. You can tuck the legs up in the lock off position to activate and strengthen the core. If you cannot do this full pull-up, again it's ok, left the body up as high as you can and hold in that position to build strength.
This exercise can be done on aerial fabric, trapeze, aerial hoop as well as pole. You need to be able to invert to work this move. What we are working on is the final segment of the tip over in the aerial mount. Come to an inversion, then slowly lower the hips back down, then lift back up to the full inverion. Sometimes this is called the tip and tuck and it targets the lower abs. Try to avoid the ground and go for as many good form reps you can execute. This move works back and upper body, but is a great way to build core, especially the lower abs. This move is a form of the aerial mount, so students who cannot do the aerial mount will have to modify and work tucking up as high as they can with control. Focus on the eccentric lowering to help improve core and upper body strength faster.
The straddle is known as Chopper in pole and Straddle Back in aerial fabric, trapeze and aerial hoop. This is the complete inversion or aerial mount but with a straddle leg position. If students cannot do an aerial mount, go back and work the Tuck Drop to shorten the lever system. We are going to isolate the last bit of movement, just like the Tuck Drop, but we are straddled, this is more taxing than the tuck. This exercise is for students who are very comfortable with inversions and are just refining the move. Come to the straddle inversion, with control lower the hips and then lift the hips back up to the straddle inversion. Only do as many reps as you can with controlled movement and good form. This builds upper body strength, and again gets deep into the core.