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The Gym Vs. Circus

Thank you to Georgina of Fizzy Lemon Physiotherapy for this piece.

Those that are regular gym goers may have heard of push and pull training and this type of training is recommended as hugely beneficial for circus artists too.


The “push” workout trains all of the upper body muscles that are involved in pushing movements including chest, shoulders and triceps. The “pull” workout trains all of the upper body muscles that are involved in pulling exercises including back and biceps.


This type of workout is beneficial as muscles work in pairs, i.e. biceps and triceps should to be equally trained for safe, effective and injury free results.

As aerialists we do a lot of pulling, for example inversions but we don't generally complement it with pushing.

As handbalancers we do a lot of pushing, but not a lot of pulling.

Consequently, if we are an aerialist or a hand-balancer, inevitably, one set of muscles will develop as our opposing muscle groups remain unchanged. A muscular imbalance in these opposing muscle groups has the potential to increase injury risk.

Aerialists should spend at least one weekly session completing one pushing session including activities such as hand balancing or yoga (down dog is a good example of a pushing exercise).

Hand-balancers should spend at least one session a week pulling - pull ups being a typical example of this.

Training push-pull also allows muscle groups to rest completely, enhances recovery and overall performance.

More of Georgina's tips and to book in with her for a consultation go to:

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