Not All Bruises Are “Badges of Honor”

“Omg look at this bruise I got in pole last night! I got it from totally nailing that Superman move!”

Ok, if you spend any time in a pole studio you will definitely hear someone at some point say this. It is true that any aerial art form comes with its share of bumps and bruises working toward making routines look effortless, but I think people get “bumps and bruises” confused with downright injuries. Those are the people who say things like, “Yeah, my shoulder/neck/back/elbow/knee hurts but I got myself into that Jade split anyway! I told that trick who was boss!” Actually, ……no. Whether it was that night or a night in the future, that trick will show you who the boss is if you are not ready for it just yet.

You are probably wondering how someone with an injury could even come to class and perform. Sometimes it’s downright impossible to continue based on the severity of the injury. But, when I say “injury” I’m not just talking about the obvious one. I’m talking about all the signs of an injury your body gives you that you don’t listen to. What are some of those, you say? Well, they are things like a quiet throbbing in a specific area, a muscle that is really stiff and tight even after you warm up, or any sharp pain-yes any. I think I just heard a collective sigh from all of you. I know it can be hard to distinguish at times because pole and other aerial arts really can put your body through some stuff! So what can one do? What is a realistic expectation for someone who wants to continue with this type of exercise form? I’m glad you asked! Expect the following when doing pole and aerial correctly:

Sore muscles- This should not last more than a handful of days if this type of activity is new to you.

Slight bruising- Expect this when learning a new trick or pose and revisiting ones you have not done in awhile. Yeah, I said slight. You should read further. Ok, I hear all of you advanced students out there and I can sense your rolled eyes. “Slight bruising? HA!” Yep. Slight. You want to know why? Because if you don’t try to do something that you are not ready for then your body will be able to handle your body weight and will have the strength to maneuver through the trick. This is optimal. This is not what happens. People are always in such a hurry to advance and do cooler things that they will throw themselves into moves that they may not be ready for. Sometimes this is dangerous and sometimes it means that you are going to have one hell of a bruise.

Adventurous students and confident students are fantastic but they need to use caution. Students can get so addicted to this type of exercise that they forget that their bodies need rest and TLC. People who just do some Zumba and lift the occasion weight still need some good stretching! Here is how you can take care of yourself and still be an aerial rock star:

EVEN YOUR MUSCLES OUT!!!!-Doing tricks on both sides of the body isn’t enough. Do this by lifting weights in the tradition sense. Hire a personal trainer if you are unsure of how to use weight lifting to even out your muscles.

Yoga-Seriously y’all. This takes care of “evening yourself out” and flexibility. 

Eat well & clean– This means, no chemicals in your food. Eat whole foods. That is where the nutrition will come from. You can’t expect to perform well if you aren’t getting enough or the right fuel!  Restricting calories, especially before coming to class is dangerous. Nourish your body and give it the energy it needs to help you fly in class. This is essential for recovery as well. Eat up! 

Drink your water– Duh. I refer you to the statement above. Typically aim for half your body weight in ounces and more on days you exercise and/ or  if you drink caffeine. 

*Do not come to class if you are intoxicated or if medication is impairing your abilities– Pushing yourself through a class when it is not safe is never worth the risk for you and for others in your class. Take some time to heal at home.

*Get plenty of sleep– I know this sounds obvious but we are all guilty trying to fit it all in. Your body needs the zzzzz’s to recover, heal, and energize for your next go-round!

See a massage therapist– If you train a lot, consider seeing one at least once a month or session to work out any stubborn tight muscles your stretching can’t get to. We recommend Tzu from Massage RX.  

See a chiropractor- Get adjusted at least twice a year. You’d be surprised how many issues come from not being adjusted. Tight muscles can pull our spine out of wack.

See a Physical Therapist-Do this if you are suspicious you might have an injury and/ or if your problem does not seem to be getting any better. A PT will give you exercises and stretches you can do on a daily basis to keep you in the game!!!

*Try a calming bath or a detox bath– find the mix that works for you with epsom salt, baking soda, essential oils, etc. Soak your aching muscles. Always test your mixture on a small amount of skin first to make sure nothing irritates you then enjoy.

Listen to your body NOT your ambition- Your ambition might bite you in the butt later and kick you out of the game for months at time because you pushed yourself too hard.

We are very lucky to have a place like Femme Fatale Fitness here in the Gem City. With that said, everyone needs to remember that even though accomplishing things at FFF makes us all feel amazing and like circus performers; performers must take care of their bodies!  They have staff dedicated to making sure they are in good physical condition. Our cats “kneading bread” on our tummies doesn’t count as a massage. Please take care of yourself. Listen to your body. Talk to us at FFF and ask all the questions you need to get the most out of your fitness journey. We strive to always bring you current material that is exhilarating, taught to you correctly and safely. Please make sure to do your part outside of class too. We want you healthy and in class!!! You took the amazing step in doing something for yourself by coming to Femme Fatale, now take the next step and care for the amazing machine that is your body; reward all of its hard work! See you all in class!