Exercises Every Aerialist Should Do: the Kettlebell Deadlift

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Circus is a space where it’s easy to neglect your glutes. It’s also easy to think that strong glutes aren’t a big deal in circus…except for when you want to • Be a base for any partner acrobatic trick, • Do most climbs on fabric, • Do any transition to standing on static trapeze or lyra, • Do a single- (or double-) leg knee-hang • Do a backbend… The list really could go on. There is a lot of important work that your glutes should be doing…but your hamstrings are only too happy to step in and cover for them. The problem is, hamstrings aren’t ideally suited to do glute work. This can lead to hamstring strains and other such nastiness. Oh, and your glutes are an integral part of core control, hip mobility and shoulder mobility and lower back health. Unfortunately, modern life (and the accompanying sitting plus relative lack of glute-driven strength training) can put your glutes to sleep. (Or at least make them really lazy…) One way you can self-assess to figure out if your glutes are sleepy is to perform a set of 10 single-leg hip lifts on each leg (aka the Cook Hip Lift). If your hamstrings are trying hard to cover for your sleepy glutes, you’ll feel it. • Cook Hip Lift: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeaAbMn9wHM Before you try the deadlift, make sure you have a solid toe touch. If your toe-touch is lacking, practice this progression until it is (which might just be once…try it and see): http://www.functionalmovement.com/exercises/toe_touch_progression Now, the deadlift itself: • Stand directly over the kettlebell (line the handle up with your ankles) • Push your hips back, as if trying to touch the wall behind you with your butt. (You can pause here to rest your hands on your knees). • Continue pushing your hips back until you can reach the KB handle. • You absolutely must maintain a neutral spine: this includes your head and neck, so tuck your chin! • To lift, drive your heels through the floor, lifting with your hips. Exhale as you stand up. • Squeeze your butt at the top. Be sure to be squeezing your butt and not arching your lower back. #circus #getcircusstrong #circusstrong #artist-athletes #circuseverydamnday

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And this is, of course, just one piece of the larger puzzle that is your whole-body strength and conditioning plan. Circus arts require a foundation of whole-body, general strength upon which to build the specific-strength needed for all of the cool tricks and skills you want to do.

Need some help figuring out just what to do? Drop me a line. (Do people even say that anymore? Am I dating myself?) I’d be more than happy to help you with some ideas.Or maybe you’d like me to do the thinking for you so that you can just get down to the business of getting stronger…well, we have things for that, too.

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1 thought on “Exercises Every Aerialist Should Do: the Kettlebell Deadlift

  1. Pingback: Geekery: Relative Stiffness and the Warmup (part deux) | Get Circus Strong

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