Here in the UK, summer is in full swing and it is safe to say we appear to be in for a scorcher. Whilst the extra sunshine can be great for your mood – hello, vitamin D – the sizzling temperatures can be a little disheartening when it comes to your pole and aerial training, and this can have a knock on effect to instructors everywhere with decreased class numbers.
So, what do we do about it? Unfortunately, we can’t temporarily pop a block on the sun whilst you’re beasting some conditioning at your weekly tricks class, nor can every studio get air con installed (if your country’s climate is anything like the UK, you’d only benefit from that pricey tech for three months out of the year, if that). But we can certainly make adaptations to your training to optimise this sweaty time of year, and keep your pole and aerial goals on track! I’ve got tips for students and instructors so stay tuned, let’s hack your summer schedule.
1 – Be realistic. Okay, so this might seem obvious, but are you the type of person who books onto every single class and has a full five day roster of sessions you attend? We all know that with the longer, brighter days, chances are you will have more social events than usual which may even encroach on your usual training sessions (how dare they). It is good to remember that
whilst pole and aerial is important to you, making time for these social engagements is great for your wellbeing too.
What I’m proposing here is maybe dropping a class or two – just for the summer! – to be able to factor these engagements in. Now, I’m not saying to stop completely. No way. But if you stick to your five day a week schedule, and find yourself cancelling at the last minute and messing up your routine, it’s easier to get knocked off track. And when we get off track, it can be harder to find your way again.
Think about dropping an evening or two of training and committing to the days you definitely want to do. Would you be lost without your weekly flow class? Amazing, keep that one on. Commit to three days instead of five. Then, if you get invited for social events, you can factor them in around those set training days. ‘Sorry, I can’t do Wednesday as I train then, but I’m always free Thursdays’.
2 – Come prepared. Any seasoned studio-goer knows that one of the usual pre-class announcements is ‘make sure you drink plenty of water’. Unsurprisingly, when it is hot, it is even more important to stay hydrated. If you’re the type to dash to class straight after work, make it a part of your morning ritual to chuck a water bottle in your bag. And if you’re the type that
doesn’t like water (I get it, it is the definition of ‘plain’), invest in a mini bottle of squash to keep in your bag, too.
Another great thing to have in your bag is a towel. I know, sweat isn’t very glamorous, and we’d all prefer to live in a world without it, but the reality is, your body is trying to help you get through your session by producing those little beads of liquid on your forehead. The main function of sweat is to regulate your body temperature. Potentially, it can feel a little embarrassing whacking out a towel in the middle of class – but I can assure you, most of the class will be envious of how well prepared you are. Especially in pole, we rely on our skin grip, so wiping that knee-pit down, or towelling down your hands before going up into a move if you need to is only going to help your performance. So don’t be shy!
My final hot weather kit suggestion is a mini fan. Okay, so this can make you look so extra – but is that really a bad thing? I take mine absolutely everywhere with me now; on the bus, to the office, while I’m watching TV and yes, to the studio. Many times. Trust me, it’s a good investment.
3 – Always remember to warm up. Yes, it is hot outside and therefore your body might feel warmer sooner – but that doesn’t mean you should reduce your warming up time at the start of class. Warming up; is not just about getting the body warmer (teachers – remember your XPERT training on this!), we are looking to get you moving so we can do our fun pole and aerial shapes
You can always look at adapting elements of your warm up if you need to ease off on the intensity a little when it is hot out. If you know that jumping around, or jogging on the spot at the start of the session is going to have you drenched in sweat and gasping for breath before you have even begun, it may be worth exploring other options. For example, at my home studio, Pure-
Studios in Hereford, we have resistance band reps incorporated into our warm ups. They are an easy, cheap bit of kit (we sell them on our Teamup store for a couple of quid, but students are encouraged to bring what they have if they prefer), that really help to target the upper body muscle groups we use for pole. You do not have to do exactly this – but think innovation! And whatever you do, if you are an instructor, remind your students to take a drink or rest during the warm up if they need to. Just because it may seem obvious that they can take breaks, it can feel a little daunting if you’re not given permission to do so.
4. Flow is fine. You will often find me preaching the joys of levelling up your flow during the colder months (yes to keeping all your clothes on), but this advice applies when the weather is hot, too. Sometimes it is simply too hot and sweaty to do big tricks up the pole, and that is fine too. Use these sessions to revisit your spins, refine your step around technique and
pirouettes, explore your movement.
Running a hybrid class is a great way to do this, too. Much like in winter, where I like to begin with flow to make sure the students and the pole are nice and warm, you can use this tactic in summer. Start with a few tricks before your students are too hot and sweaty, then ease off with some challenging flow towards the end. Incorporating more dance elements is a great way to
keep your students progressing even when the clammy weather is stamping a big 3939; on their tricks goal of the month. Sure, they might be too slippery for a layback, but they can certainly work on perfecting a snazzy forward roll, or shoulder stand.
You do not have to make this the whole basis of your class if you have a room of tricksters – but remind them that flow will make them stronger, too. And, ifthey ever decide to create a routine in the future, they will thank you for this ground-based time.
5. Remember, pole and aerial is difficult. Read it back, say it aloud, get it printed off on a giant poster with big arrows pointing at every word and underline several times, and hang it in the middle of your studio. Maybe that’s a little extreme, but my point is – as a teacher, it is your job not only to teach your students, keep them safe and be a cheerleader, but is also about
managing expectations. The reality is that sometimes, you’re going to try and clamp your thighs around the pole, and you will just slide to the floor. You will
come to a hoop class and be sweating through your top before you’ve even done one pull up. And that is okay.
We can forget that actually, what we are doing when we get up on our equipment is pretty incredible, and it can take years of practice and finesse to get ‘perfect’. If you have a bad training session, this won’t be the one you look back on. You will remember the day you got your biggest best trick, the cheer from your classmates when you finally let that hand go, the day your teacher says they are proud of you for how much work you have put in. Don’t be hard on yourself, you’re here because you love pole and aerial, and your studio – if you have a rubbish, slippery day, in the scheme of things, tomorrow is another day.