Gymnastics 20111114

Learning the Side Aerial.

We started today diving over an obstacle about two feet high and two feet wide. Though we were eventually told to imagine it was taller. In any case, I started off not having enough turn over speed. I seemed to take too much time and it scared the instructor. We did the arm circles from last week going into the jump. The diving part is easy enough for me. Though several times at the beginning, I would dive too far when I focused on getting the leg over, as opposed to getting the height. For the most part, the instructor noted that getting height wouldn't be a problem for me. My main problem was a lack of leg speed. A secondary problem was not keeping the legs straight.

8:10 PM "Legs straight will help. Arm circle. Kick that leg over harder. Keep the height. Drive that heel. Keep chest up. Legs go up to ceiling. Imagine taller block."

The idea is that floppy legs create instability. Straight legs are harder to maintain, but in the long run they generate more power and make the move easier. So it's better to focus on keeping the legs straight rather than floppy.

When we moved to the trampoline, I initially got some false confidence and then lost the form. The instructor said to forget focusing on whatever it was I accidentally started focusing on, and remember the basic form. Basically instead of thinking too much about the aerial, think about the diving and back to having the hands contact the mat. A difficulty is keeping everything on the mind. When the instructor had a correction, I would end up focusing on that and lose the other correction. For example, focusing on kicking the leg would make me forget the arm circles or the dive. Perhaps thinking about the arm circles would make me forget about the dive or keeping the chest up. Thus, I tried to think of the short snippets I should remember. I used this technique when learning to surf. A series of short words that would represent the ideas I should remember.

8:26 PM "Arm circ look leg."

Arm circles. Look straight in front of you going into the movement. This helps keep the chest up. Later it was made apparent, that unlike a cartwheel, the movement starts facing forward. Then during the movement you're sideways. I guess you should end the movement looking back where you started from, but that's problem something to focus on later. Then kick that leading leg hard. I felt like the rest would just come and those were the key factors of the movement.

8:41 PM "Chest up with kick exercise. Arch and kick. Starting to get it. Now slowly focus on straightening leg."

To emphasize the kick, I propped my arms down on a surface and kicked my leg up with such a force that my body would lift. Even though I was only doing aerials with the left leg leading, I did alternated my kicking leg for this exercise. I think it helped a lot.

Back Handsprings.

9:32 PM "Near the end of class, I did a couple of back handsprings with the roller whatever. All were straight. Obviously it was easy to focus on being straight with the device bringing my legs over. I rested some more. Then at the very end, I prepped to do one. Then faked myself out, turned to the side, and just fell on my butt. I tried again, focusing on bringing the arms up past my ears. Also telling myself to just go after sitting back. I don't know if I got the distance correct, but I felt everything else was clean. As far as I can tell, my head followed my arms, which went straight back, and the legs followed straight and landed together. Perhaps I should have tried a couple more, but I decided finish class on a high note."

Pain/Injury Report.

9:32 PM "A muscle around my left buttock, probably the muscle used to kick the back leg over during the aerial is in some minor pain. There's also some feeling in the left shin. I guess the kicking leg is also the leg that takes impact on landing."


9:32 PM "It's funny, there's a couple that I landed, and I have no idea what I do with my hands/arms on those. There were one or two that the form felt great, but there would be perhaps just a left hand scraping at the end. I've definitely started to feel what the chest should be doing during the aerial.""

Other names for the aerial are "side aerial" and "aerial cartwheel." See the article:

9:48 PM "No more pain in the buttocks, but apparently there's a little pain or ache of some sort in the left ankle. Or maybe not the ankle, but somewhere in the joint there, feels more in the front. Oh I see, it is the ankle. Not to be confused with the heel which I had a problem with a year or two ago in capoeira; the right heel which I landed on wrong."

On Tuesday, I walked around with some sort of pain/soreness in the left buttock. That was pretty much the only critical muscle area bothering me. Everything else was just mildly sore. It only slightly detracted from my walking. It severely detracted me during modern dance. It was very difficult to lift my left leg while balancing on the right, and nearly impossible to balance on the left leg, let alone try to lift the right leg.

That area is still feeling the pain. I deduce it's not just sore. Thus I suppose it's inflamed and/or bruised and I should remember to ice it and take some aspirin when I get home.

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