One of the questions that comes up often is if my training has changed over the years?
I would sure hope so. My training pretty much changes and evolves with every show contract that I do, with every day that I age and with every new trick or movement I want to put on stage. It really is a constant adjusting process.
Performing high level technical acts in multiple disciplines yet staying on top of flexibility, bodybuilding and rehab/health exercises is absolutely a full time job. Because of that it is extremely important to adjust and prioritise depending on the current setting.
What Stays, What Changes
There are certain things that can never be neglected and need to be done daily. For me that would be my daily hand balancing practice, daily stretch and my core and physio exercises.
Then depending on what kind of show I am doing or what I am preparing at the moment I might toss aerial straps or tumbling in the rotation. At the moment I do a weight workout around 3 times a week. It’s enough to hit every body part well from all angles about once and keep the physical form that I have now. Currently I am following a pretty evenly distributed, healthy routine that’s more about maintenance and max performance on stage.
Training during Act Creation
When I was creating my latest solo straps act in Berlin a bit over a year ago I drove everything down to a minimum and focused on straps between 2-4h every day. Doing less of all the “life sustaining” activities is always playing little bit with fire. When I do this I can feel how my general health, hand balancing technique or physical form will start to slowly decline. In this case I believe it’s important to fail a couple times and learn how far you can push your body and what the consequences of doing so are.
Another thing that needs to be considered – and this is where things get quite technical – every trick you put on stage needs to be trained or rehearsed. No matter for how long you have been doing it, one needs to touch base with it every now and then.
When adding something new to the show this can be just a little extension to a trick like bending a knee or adding a different detail. In this case it might just add one more handstand to your warm up and extend your daily routine by 2-5min.
Or it can be a whole new “category” of a trick. Say for example in hand balancing the Mexican. The show I am currently performing (‘Luzia’ by Cirque du Soleil) the act was already choreographed as I am replacing a friend who is out with an injury. He did not do a back-bending handstand in the show, which in a way is great because my warm up takes about 20 minutes less and I can focus on other things. Yet I do need to train my Mexicans once or twice a week just to check in on it and see that it’s still in my body and head. I usually use this time to tweak it and work on new variations of it for future shows.
If it was a different trick or if my body would react differently I would maybe still have to rehearse the trick every day. That would be an unfortunate investment of time since you’re basically spending 20 min a day on something you don’t show on stage. From a business point of that’s a wasted opportunity – like having an empty apartment and not renting it out. Which is why for us performers it’s often nice to do a small show ones a day, even if the pay is not incredible, it’ll force you to warm up and stay in stage shape. Why not do it for an audience where it truly pays off?
Learn about your boundaries
Generally, I was only able to establish this training and body knowledge by failing over and over again. If everything goes great and you always feel good that’s amazing but you learn absolutely nothing. Pushing your body to a certain extent or taking certain things that might take lots of time or energy out of your daily routine to understand how your body reacts is crucial to understand how your body works and how to structure your training in the future. However it is most important that you never push your body to injury or any kind of long lasting consequences. No show or intense training is ever worth sacrificing your long-term health.
If everything goes great and you always feel good that’s amazing but you learn absolutely nothing.
So to answer the question if my training has changed over the years? Absolutely yes. And thank God so! My body changes every day so does the demand on it depending what my current project is. One can only train that many hours a day and there is simply never enough time or energy to do everything.
How to Approach Your Own Training
- First analyse what you actually need to do to be healthy.
- Then analyse what you need for your current project to perform at your highest potential.
- Only then – as the third and last priority – consider what you might need for future projects.
Taking these things in account and always thinking about the bigger picture, the long and healthy future, you can create the ultimate training structure.
Got any questions about training structure or want to share how your training changed over the years? Share in the comments below! Would love to hear your stories and experiences.
Stay Healthy & Happy Training,
Sascha aka Coach Bachmann