By Daisy Coleman

Do you ever set up your silks or Lyra or circus apparatus, and then realize you have no idea where to begin? If you’re wondering what are the best and easiest ways to warm up, stretch, and condition safely on the ground, here are some suggestions!

5 Warm-Up Exercises (10 minutes):

  1. Mountain Climbers:  In a plank position, bend one knee to the opposite elbow, then straighten the leg and place back on the ground, repeating on the other leg. 20-30 on each side.
  2. Hollow Body Rocks: Lying back flat to the ground, lifting the arms/shoulders and legs off the ground in a hollow boat shape. Use the abs to rock back and forth on the back holding the shape, 10-15 times.
  3. Hip Rotation: Start in a tabletop position, lifting one leg and rotating in circles inwards, (knee moves in towards the stomach without lifting the hip too high) and then outwards, lifting leg out, rotating it behind the back – repeat 4 times both ways, on each side, then keep the leg lifted behind the back, and extend the leg out and then back in 3 times each side.
  4. Shoulder Circles: arms extended out to the sides, hands flexed, small quick circles forward, about 30 seconds, then switch to backward, 30 seconds. Switch to forward and back motions, and then up and down motions, 30 seconds each, finally, switch to circling the shoulders backward and then forward 10 times each.
  5. Superman Arches: Lying on the stomach, lift the legs and arms off the ground at the same time, keeping both the legs and arms straight to arch up. Repeat 1-15 times.

5 Conditioning Exercises (10 minutes):

  1. Squats With a Kick: Standing with the legs slightly farther than hip-distance apart, squat down, stand back up and kick one leg forward, then squat back down again. Repeat again on the other side, and continue 10 squats for each leg.
  2. Back arch – upper and lower body isolation: Like the superman arches, Lie down on the stomach, but lift the chest and arms straight out above head ten times, keeping legs on the ground. Then, switch to legs! Lift the legs straight ten times while keeping the head and chest on the ground.
  3. Straight Leg Lower Downs: Lying on the back, point the legs straight up to the ceiling, keeping them straight. Place hands beside the hips, and slowly lower down the legs, as far as comfortable, keeping them straight. Bring the legs back up, straight, and repeat 10-15 times.
  4. Crunches: Lying on the back with knees bent and feet on the ground, lift the upper body and abs towards the knees. 20-30 times.
  5. Plank Hold Lifting Alternating Arms: In a plank hold on arms, legs separated, lift one arm to tap the opposite shoulder or reach arms straight out, keeping hips and body stable so as not to move. Repeat switching arms, 10 taps on each arm.

5 Stretching Exercises (10 minutes):

  1. Pike Stretch – Flexing and Pointing the Feet: Sit with legs straight out in front, fold over the legs, keeping the back as flat as possible (no rounding). Reach for the feet, and switch between flexing one and pointing the other. Then switch to flexing and pointing both, staying folded over the legs. 30 seconds or so.
  2. Side Stretch: Sit with one leg bent, the other leg pointed straight out to the side in a half straddle. Reach the opposite arm as straight leg up and over to the side, 5 times. Then hold with the arm reaching over the straight leg for 20 seconds. Repeat on each side.
  3. Pancake Stretch: Sit up with both legs in a straddle position, fold forward, arms straight. Keep the back flat and try to stop it from rounding, reach forward as far as possible. Hold for 30-45 seconds.
  4. Hip Stretch:  Sit up straight, stacking one ankle over the opposite knee in a parallel position. If the knee is flat against the ankle, fold forward over the legs to increase the stretch.
  5. Upper Back Stretch: Facing a wall, place hands overhead onto the wall, step feet out, and slide arms and upper body down to feel a stretch in the upper back.

Now you have a few different ways to warm up and stretch, go be strong and flexible!