Let's Talk PREHAB!
Being a great pole dancer and aerialist means training hard, recording progress and constantly pushing yourself, but, alongside all of that good stuff, it also means taking care of your body!
Once again, we have sought the infinite wisdom of our instructors, this time on the topic of injury prevention and recovery, also known as 'prehab'. If you're struggling with injuries, tight muscles, or long/painful recovery times, then these tips are for you!
1. Massage/foam rolling/other forms of torture
Let's get the rough stuff out of the way - recovery isn't always nice! Sometimes getting the best results means a bit of pain along the way. There's a lot of theories on why things like massage and foam rolling work - from releasing 'muscle fascia' to increasing blood circulation - but what's clear is that it does seem to aid in muscle recovery and injury prevention.
Massages are great, but getting them done on the regular can be pricey. That's where foam rolling, spiky balls and other torture devices come in. If you've never used any of these before then be warned: it can be quite rough on your tight/tender spots. The good news is that it gets better the more you do it, but just don't go in expecting it to feel great - it won't.
It might sound obvious, but this is something many of us struggle with (our instructors included!). Ever taken a 'rest day' and ended up going for a quick pole class? Or a cheeky run? It's hard to sit still, but it's important that you spend some of your time just being a blob.
This is especially true if you are recovering from an injury or still in the midst of one, but even if you're not, taking a day off can prevent injury from happening altogether. Plus you'll kick more ass when you go back to training after a proper break!
Also, who doesn't want to be a blob from time to time?
This is something that is often talked about in terms of getting stronger, but not so much in terms of recovery. According to science, both carbs and protein not long after a workout will aid in your recovery a lot. Are you really not going to listen to science?
And never forget: DRINK WATER! This stuff doesn't just keep you from dying (although that's also a great reason to drink it), it relieves DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness), it lubricates your joints, it increases flexibility, and so much more!
There's a lot more we could say here obviously, but the key point is to be thinking about how your diet is serving you in terms of recovery.
4. Make a plan to strengthen weak areas
Injuries often arise because we are excessively straining particular muscles or muscle groups. Strengthening our weaker areas can enable our body to share the load a little more, reducing reliance on individual muscles. The same goes for stretching them - if you always notice that your shoulders are tight after a training sesh, then find some good stretches and make a plan to incorporate those into your routine.
If you're stuck for ideas on strengthening exercises or stretches, hit up your instructors! They'll be able to point you in the right direction.
Our instructors had too many suggestions to neatly categorise, so in no particular order here are some other things you can do to aid with prehab:
Warm up AND cool down - warm ups increase your muscle mobility, cool downs signal to your brain that it's time to rest
Resistance band exercises - for working those smaller muscle groups
Work on your posture - compromised posture can mean compromised training
Heat therapy - hot showers, baths, even bed with an electric blanket, all will help your muscles relax
And there is so much more you can do that we can't cover in a short blog! The most important thing is to find what works for you and stick with it. Think about what you're doing for prehab now and whether you could be doing more.
As a bonus, here's a few Insta accounts some of our instructors recommended for finding effective prehab exercises:
Until next time!