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Three Eccentric Aerial Hoop Exercises for Strength

Many students need the strength work and many teachers are looking for ways to teach strength work in the aerial hoop. We wanted to discuss working eccentric movement exercises and how to work them in the aerial hoop.

Quick Movement Discussion

Isotonic Movement means that the working muscles shorten or lengthen. There are two types of isotonic contractions, concentric and eccentric. During a concentric contraction the prime mover shortens during the movement, an example is a bicep curl. The bicep femoris is the prime mover and contracts or shortens on the upward lift of the curl. Eccentric movement is using the muscles in a lengthening movement during a contraction. The down phase of the bicep curl is a great example. The bicep femoris has to work to lower the weight with control as the muscle lengthens on the body. You can think of eccentric as using strength when the muscles are elongated.

Working Eccentric movement with students is crucial is helping them find control and gain strength. Generally a concentric contraction is easier to control, while and eccentric is harder. If you have noticed during class, many students will "thud" out of an apparatus when they are done, meaning they are no longer controlling the exit. They could be tired or lazy or lack the strength to control the downward movement. This also has to do with the lever system of the body. When you extend a limb the muscles have to work to hold that limb out in extension away from the center of the body. When the body is more compact, it is easier to control, lift and hold in place. Lengthening limbs makes all the prime mover muscles involved activate and work harder, often including the core.

The aerial hoop is a great place to work eccentric movement with students or for training yourself. Adding eccentric movement into the conditioning phase of a workout is a great way to get students connecting muscle groups and learning to control eccentric movement.

Eccentric Lowers

Begin in a Lock-off hold and slowly lower the body downward into standing or kneeling. Engage the upper back and core. Work this downward movement slowly. Working eccentric is awesome for learning body control and smoothing out transitions. Watch for students releasing the core and overusing the low back. The bottom photo is an optional body position for working this move.

Tip and Lower

Start in an aerial tuck inversion, gradually lower through the tuck to the floor. Keep the legs in the tuck position for as long as possible before reaching to the floor. This move does require that students can do an aerial inversion. Work the eccentric lowers to build up to the aerial inversion.