Training straps has multiple benefits: Increase strength to suit your own body weight, helps becoming more aerially aware and many skills are adapted to other aerial disciplines. There are problems when training alone. Training bad habits or incorrect muscle patterns, and not knowing the best progressions to help you avoid getting injured. Some bad habits I often see when coaching, are “cutting corners”. What this means is that the students will often start going into or coming out of the front flag “coat hanger” too early. This puts undue strain on their shoulder and supporting muscles. Rolling out of, or into a front flag, means not getting your feet up to the straps and your hips against your hands.
When learning front flags, always bring your feet against the straps keeping your centre of mass as close to the straps as possible. Look at your body so that you can confirm how far or close your body is to the straps so that it is easy to avoid this error. The harm is usually done when coming out of the front flag. Generally, students are tired or don’t know any better and roll out of the pike position instead of returning their feet back up to above their hands, and then lowering their body down from the balanced position with their hips between their hands.
If it is too difficult to achieve this movement comfortably, you might still be too weak to do it and I recommend you to do some smaller progression exercises to avoid a possible shoulder injury. Smaller progressions are going from the balanced inverted position and lowering your straight body to one side with the straps on the front of the thighs. Lower your feet to one side until the opposite hand is touching the opposite thigh and then return your legs to between your hands. Repeat this many times on both sides to strengthen your shoulders and body before attempting to lower your legs further.
Following that, straddle your legs so that the first leg down reaches close to a horizontal position while the other legs remain above your hands. Once the first leg has stopped moving, slowly attempt to move the other leg towards the first leg (closing your legs), but only go to about a 45-degree angle and stop. To return, raise the last leg first to above your hands, and then close your legs so that the first leg returns to next to the other leg. Remember to do this on both sides until you build up a little more strength. Soon you will be able to go all the way down and return to vertical with your legs together.
One day you might be inspired to learn the front flag switch to back flag. You will definitely need the strength from doing the above drills, so do the numbers and your shoulders will thank you for it.
I will add more helpful straps training tips for straps enthusiasts and anyone else who are cross training on straps for another aerial discipline. You are welcome to contact me for more information or coaching.
Howdy! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I truly enjoy reading your posts. Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that cover the same topics? Thanks a ton! Cairistiona Buckie Mabelle
Thanks for your comment. I’m sure there are lots out there. We will be posting more soon 🙂 Stay tuned!
You have a few helpful ideas! Perhaps I should think of trying to do this myself. Respectfully Licha Enoch Tallbott
Thank you for your reply. You should start training! It is so much fun 🙂
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You are so lovely! Thank you for your comments!