Applied Anatomy of Aerial Arts
An Illustrated Guide to Strength, Flexibility, Training, and Injury Prevention
An illustrated guide to anatomy and biomechanics for aerialists who want to optimize their performance and train safely
Specifically designed for aerialists—including those who do trapeze, silks, and other aerial arts— Applied Anatomy of Aerial Arts is an invaluable resource for those who want to optimize their performance and train safely.
Using a biomechanical and movement-based approach, Emily Scherb—a physical therapist who specializes in the care, treatment, and education of circus performers—explains the anatomical rationale for progressions of learning and demonstrates simple movements to achieve the coordination, muscular control, strength, and fitness to hang with correct form, how to progress from hanging into a pull up, an inversion, and beyond with a strong center, precise muscle sequencing, and ease of movement.
Aerialists will learn how bones, joints, muscles, and soft tissues allow for specific movements and gain an appreciation for concepts of proximal stability.
This full-color illustrated guide lays a solid foundation for beginners and advanced students with a wealth of insights into their own performance as well as refreshers on fundamentals in warm ups and conditioning. It explains how to structure a training session, how to care for injuries, and best practices for basic self first aid.
About the Author
DR. EMILY SCHERB is a physical therapist specializing in the care, treatment, and education of circus performers. The owner of Pure Motion Physical Therapy in Seattle, WA, she is also the Resident Physical Therapist at SANCA, a circus school, where she works with students and staff to keep their bodies healthy. Since 1992 Dr. Scherb has trained, taught, and performed aerial arts around the world; with her love of circus arts and of the circus community, she has dedicated her practice to educating performers of all levels to prevent and recover from injuries through proper movement, balanced strength, and joint motion. Dr. Scherb also lectures nationwide to educate healthcare professionals on the unique challenges of treating and understanding the needs of circus artists. She continues to train on the trapeze in her free time.
—Elsie Smith, cofounder of NECCA and Nimble Arts Aerial Teacher Trainings
“I’ve noticed through the years I’ve known Emily Scherb that in addition to being extraordinarily knowledgeable and generous, she is consistently curious, questing for a more complete model of human anatomy and movement. Applied Anatomy of Aerial Arts is a compendium of information pertinent to your body and to circus. Though thorough and detailed, it reads like a page-turner. It is filled with arcane knowledge from the most forward-thinking in the sports medical community, and every page yields discoveries. Through her practice she has enabled countless circus artists to continue to do what they love. With this book, she extends the performing life of an entire community of professionals.” —Terry Crane, cofounder and artistic director of Acrobatic Conundrum
“This is the anatomy book for aerial we’ve all been waiting for! With clear explanations alongside expert photographs, all the aerial classics are demystified. Dr. Scherb covers everything from beginning hangs to advanced poses. Relate anatomy to your aerial practice with the help of the examples, including what not to do. Many injuries are going to be prevented by getting this book in the hands of every aerial student and teacher.” —Rebekah Leach, author of The Aerial Dance Manual Series and founder of Born to Fly Productions
“Scherb has a gift for explaining complex physical actions in ways that anyone can understand. This book belongs in the library of every aerial studio. Even if you think you understand functional anatomy, this book will help students execute those skills correctly and safely.” —Beverly Sobelman, founder and executive director, Versatile Arts, director of the American Circus Educators Safety Program