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  • Rebecca Stokes

Keeping your wrist strong for aerial and pole

he funny thing about aerial is that every single apparatus requires wrist strength and yet it's the last joint we think about. If progressing correctly you most likely will build strength in the apparatus and your wrists will get strong at a safe and healthy speed as you advance. However progressing too fast or incorrectly can cause an injury.



Here are a few considerations about the wrists.


Warmup properly

This seems obvious, but frequently the wrists are forgotten in a warmup. Make sure that the warmup included wrist movement and is a dynamic warmup. If you want to read more about dynamic warm ups check out the injury prevention page of the blog Totally Stoked Fitness.

Tendons are slower to develop strength compared to muscles.

If you build your muscles too fast your tendons and therefore joints may be playing catch up. Tendons can be two weeks behind muscles in strength and during this growth period safety of the joint may be compromised. Many injuries occur because the muscles strength ratio and tendon strength ratio are not in alignment.

Wrist strength should be developed and part of a progression.

If you are beginning on an apparatus, it's likely that your muscle and tendon strength is growing together evenly. However when you move into intermediate or more advanced training for longer periods of time, joint issues are more likely to occur. If you feel that you muscular strength is greatly increasing and that your joints are unable to keep up, it might be time to slow it done and give the tendons time and try some of the below exercises.

Harder moves that require more wrist strength should be part of a progression, meaning working these moves only happens after you have been training for a safe amount of time. Twisted grips, single arm moves and moves that put a lot of pressure on the wrist should not be worked until a participant is strong enough, which is usually deemed by the instructor. During a training session of "wristy" moves the number of attempts should be limited to prevent injury from overuse, again building up strength with each practice session but not over doing it.




Flexibility is a Factor.

Wrist flexibility is also a factor in preventing injury. Aerial silks have several grips that require twisting the wrist and then placing weight on it. In pole, there is the twisted grip Aeysha series that also requires weighting a twisted wrist. Flexibility can increase mobility in twisted grips and make them more comfortable. From a cautionary standpoint, twisted grips should be progressed to and trained only after having strength and when your instructor feels it's time.

Exercises

Start all these exercises with light weights and work yourself up to heavier weights in order to prevent injury.

Wrist Curls

3 sets 12 reps


Wrist Extension

3 sets of 12 reps


Ulnar Deviation and Radial Deviation

3 sets, 12 reps


Wrist Circles

2 sets of 15 circles each direction


Hopefully these exercises can help you strengthen your wrists so that you can continue to enjoy aerial and pole arts.

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