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CircSci

CircSci

By Aaron Koz

A podcast on the science of circus training and performing. Each episode hones in on different areas of practically applied research to use in your own circus training.

If you're curious about a subject or question related to circus training, email your questions (which WILL be answered) to: koz.circ@gmail.com.

If you've got comments or feedback, see the email above!

Check out aaronkoz.com/thoughts for long-form posts looking at the research and how it applies to circus and aerial training.
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The Utility of Movement Screens In Aerial/Circus ft. Dr. Monica Warren (Epidemiologist & Physical Therapist) and Dr. Monica Lininger (Athletic Trainer and Ph.D in Measurement and Evaluation).
The Utility of Movement Screens In Aerial/Circus ft. Dr. Monica Warren (Epidemiologist & Physical Therapist) and Dr. Monica Lininger (Athletic Trainer and Ph.D in Measurement and Evaluation).
In this episode, I had two amazing researchers, Dr. Meghan Warren (epidemiologist/physical therapist from the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute, and research specialist/athletic trainer, Dr. Monica Lininger from NAU, who extensively researched the Functional Movement Screen and movement screens in general. Movement screens can be incredibly useful clinical tools, especially depending on patient population (for athletes who may need a relatively objective test to view their movement quality from), but they also have some limitations. In this episode, we cover what movement screens are useful for, how they maybe shouldn't be used, as well as the potential impact of asymmetries as more predictive of injury than low scores on a movement screen.
56:57
May 21, 2021
Motor Learning and Skill Acquisition, Unilateral vs. Bilateral Exercises, and More is not More ft. Henri Hanninen
Motor Learning and Skill Acquisition, Unilateral vs. Bilateral Exercises, and More is not More ft. Henri Hanninen
New season of CircSci is dropping y'all! Sorry for the delay between 'sodes (I've been slammed with programs and more online coaching resource development! If you want to help support the time that goes into interviewing and editing these episodes, definitely consider contributing via Patreon.com/circkoz (where you'll also get video tutorials and more!).  Anyway, Henri and I get up to some pretty deep discussions on how motor learning and skill acquisition occurs from a neuronal and proprioceptive perspective as well as practical examples of how you might program strength drills versus skill work. This one probably could do with a few listens to get the most out of it!  "'Just because we had to suffer doesn’t mean everyone after us should suffer too. The future is supposed to be better than the past.' About Henri: Henri Hänninen (B.Sc) is a coach, an educator and a circus artist. He is currently finishing up his M.Sc. studies in science of sports coaching and fitness testing, having completed minor studies in chemistry, molecular biology and cognitive neuroscience. His thesis is going to examine retention of a motor skill during a training break. Henri has years of experience teaching parkour, aerial silks and floor acro, as well as performing as an aerialist. He's also a certified academic personal trainer. At the moment he's working mostly as a strength and conditioning coach and an educator, bringing current evidence-based information to coaches, trainers and artists. Having studied extensively and coached national level athletes and professionals in several completely different sports and disciplines (from figure skating to powerlifting, pole dance to hammer throw, parkour to aerial...), his specialty is analyzing the demands of a sport/discipline and designing training programs to meet those demands. He's a strong advocate of sustainable practice and information-based decision-making, fighting against harmful traditions. If you're curious about the online 40+ hour Aerial Straps Level 1 Teacher Training, you can find out more here!
55:37
May 14, 2021
Pelvic Floor Health For Aerialists: How to Tell if an Exercise is too Hard, You're Breathing Properly, and More! Ft. Mariah Frank, DPT, Pelvic Floor Specialist
Pelvic Floor Health For Aerialists: How to Tell if an Exercise is too Hard, You're Breathing Properly, and More! Ft. Mariah Frank, DPT, Pelvic Floor Specialist
I had the pleasure of interviewing Mariah before the holidays - they are an awesome physical therapist who specializes in pelvic floor health for queer, trans, and other under-served populations, though works with all sorts of athletes. They work at Bethany Physical Therapy, but offer monthly pelvic floor focused physio classes online. We covered some commons signs and symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction, ways to assess whether we are breathing properly during a movement (and how to scale if we aren't to avoid pelvic floor issues), and more! PHYSICAL THERAPIST Certified Manual Physical Therapist Pronouns: They, Them, Theirs Mariah received their Doctoral Degree in Physical Therapy and Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Physiology from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. As a collegiate cross country and track and field athlete they became an anatomy enthusiast with an admiration for the body’s capacity to perform and heal. Mariah has a strong interest in working with patients that have a history of chronic pain, orthopedic concerns, and pelvic floor dysfunction. They are particularly passionate about providing care for the LGBTQIA+ community and other under-served populations. Mariah experiences joy in helping their patients return to the life they love and is always their fiercest advocate. Mariah stays up to date on the latest research to ensure the best care for their patients. They are pursuing their Pelvic Rehabilitation Practitioner Certification through Herman & Wallace and their Manual Therapy Certification through the North American Institute of Orthopedic Manual Therapy (NAIOMT). Mariah grew up in Wisconsin, has traveled extensively, and is currently enjoying all that Oregon has to offer. On the weekends they enjoy hiking, cooking, and exploring used bookstores.
48:27
February 15, 2021
Tendon training and adaptation (in circus and hyper mobility) for performance and recovery ft. Dr. Keith Baar, Molecular Biologist
Tendon training and adaptation (in circus and hyper mobility) for performance and recovery ft. Dr. Keith Baar, Molecular Biologist
Y'all are going to love this one. Keith Baar joined myself and special guest co-host Max March-Steinman on this episode all about the molecular properties of tendons, their adaptive responses, and how to appropriately modify your training techniques depending on if you're interested in power, strength, range of motion (and maybe some things not to do), or stability (in the case of hypermobility). We also briefly touch on the dietary sources of the nutrients that support healthy tendons. During the episode, Keith explains a concept using a visual so here is a link to Keith Baar's tendon shearing demonstration. In this episode, I briefly mention the Aerial Straps Level 1 Teaser that Max, Bethany, and I have put together to give an intro into straps - you can find a link to the FREE download here. It includes an introduction to straps, vocabulary, conditioning exercises, and introductory skills and progressions. Again, it is FREE, but if you download it for the recommended price, you’ll receive a discount code on the full Level 1 manual (which will cover some tendon-specific drills to reset tendon length upon completion of a training session). Please share the free teaser and this episode with anyone you think may appreciate what's covered in them!
01:17:08
February 03, 2021
Ep 8 - Coaching Styles and Outcomes, Weight Training for Circus, and Fear-based RPE ft. Dave Tilley.
Ep 8 - Coaching Styles and Outcomes, Weight Training for Circus, and Fear-based RPE ft. Dave Tilley.
Today on the podcast, we've got an interview with Dr. Dave Tilley, who runs his own podcast (@SHIFTMovementScience), we cover a variety of topics related to gymnastics and circus training as well as coaching, culture and scandals. We discuss how we can move the sport in a better direction, what are the mistakes that people are making still, and how we balance keeping someone safe, moving towards high performance and staying up to date with new ideas. As always, to grab a free/sliding scale copy of the Couch To Aerial Fitness 12 Week Program go here, and to support the show, please share if you're enjoying the show on social media and check out the CircSci patreon (which also has loads of articles and thoughts around the science of circus training and tutorials!). Dave Tilley is: a Physical Therapist who graduated in 2013 from Springfield College. Dave comes from an extensive gymnastics background, being a former athlete and currently still coaching optional level gymnastics in Boston. Dave was a competitive gymnast for 18 years, 4 of them collegiately as part of the Springfield College Men’s Team. Dave has also been coaching gymnastics for 12 years, being involved in beginner, national, and elite levels. His unique background as a former athlete and current coach gives him a one of a kind approach for the performance and rehabilitation of gymnasts. He has successfully treated some of the most talented high school, collegiate, and junior elite level gymnasts in the country. Along with gymnastics, Dave enjoys treating athletes of all sports as well as the specialized treatment of Olympic Weightlifters and CrossFit athletes. He has worked with regional and national level Olympic Weightlifters, as well as Regional and Games level CrossFit Athletes. Along with treating in the clinic, Dave is also the CEO/Founder of  “SHIFT Movement Science and Gymnastics Education”. This company was started in 2014 to help educate those involved in gymnastics, medical fields, Olympic weightlifting, CrossFit, and more about optimal performance and preventative rehabilitation strategies. By combining his roles as a healthcare provider, current coach, and athlete Dave looks to help remold the gymnastics world with current, scientifically backed principles that optimize a gymnast’s long-term potential. His new forward-thinking ideas have been nationally recognized with members of USA Gymnastics, being implemented into JO, Collegiate, and Elite level programs. Dave travels to speak both nationally and internationally at various events across the country including Make It Right Elite Gymnastics Camp, USAG Regional, and National Congress, Power Monkey Camp in Tennessee, and has consulted with many NCAA Division 1 Men’s and Women’s Gymnastics.
01:04:44
January 21, 2021
Pole Sport Injury Reduction, How to Structure a Pole Class , and Self-Determination Theory ft. Dr. Joanna Nicholas and Dr. Emily Scherb - CircSci Ep.7
Pole Sport Injury Reduction, How to Structure a Pole Class , and Self-Determination Theory ft. Dr. Joanna Nicholas and Dr. Emily Scherb - CircSci Ep.7
It was so wonderful hearing from Dr. Joanna Nicholas (with guest host Emily Scherb aka The Circus Doc) - this episode covers a range of topics from Dr. Nicholas who ran a broad study that looked at pole sport (physical and psychological factors) all over Australia! We talk about common injuries in the pole world, how much head position matters, how to structure classes to build competency in fundamentals while making sure students have fun, and what keeps people coming back to pole class. https://www.waapa.ecu.edu.au/about/our-staff/profiles/research-staff/dr-joanna-nicholas https://www.instagram.com/drjoannanicholas/?hl=en
01:07:21
January 07, 2021
Ep. 6 - Chris Gatti on Handstand Training, Coaching Perspectives, and Analysis of the 1-arm
Ep. 6 - Chris Gatti on Handstand Training, Coaching Perspectives, and Analysis of the 1-arm
Alright, y'all, it has been a MINUTE! This episode was recorded a while back, but there are some gems in here! We talk about Chris' recommended general handstand training session outline, coaching perspectives, and Chris' biomechanical modeling analysis of a 1-arm handstand. Chris Gatti's (@bearded_mann) background includes time in both academic and acrobatic domains. He holds degrees in mechanical engineering, biomedical engineering, and machine learning and data analysis. In part, his research experience includes approximately five years doing computational shoulder biomechanics in an orthopaedic laboratory and his dissertation work focused on reinforcement learning. After completing his PhD, he joined Cirque du Soleil as an artist to perform on tour in South/Central America, and he has since been a Head Coach and consultant for Cirque du Soleil as well. Currently, he pursues a variety of independent activities including handstand training and teaching (his passion), academic editing, and circus research. I've linked his website here: https://www.chrisgatti.com/ in case you're interested in reading his blog (lots of gems in there! OR his academic editing OR handstand coaching (though as you'll here, he isn't as much a fan of online coaching).
01:13:38
December 13, 2020
 Embracing Adaptation through Pain Science, When to use RPE, Self-efficacy in Coaching, and How to Craft an Effective Warm-up ft. Tait Brown, Clinical Exercise Physiologist
Embracing Adaptation through Pain Science, When to use RPE, Self-efficacy in Coaching, and How to Craft an Effective Warm-up ft. Tait Brown, Clinical Exercise Physiologist
In this episode of CircSci, we cover aspects of pain science (and how tissue damage may not be as bad as we think), RPE scale usage (for strength versus skills), self-efficacy in coaching and rehab, and more (like some potential aspects of a good warm-up). Tait Brown is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist, and  is incredibly knowledgable in the field of Allied Health and is about as hilariously Australian as you get (he also has his own podcast: Into the Red Zone!). You can follow him here (https://www.instagram.com/totalbodybenefit/) and listen to his podcast here: https://www.spreaker.com/show/into-the-red-zone (or on Spotify!). His bio below: Tait completed a Bachelor of Exercise Science (Rehabilitation) in 2012, followed by a Masters of Clinical Exercise Physiology (Rehabilitation) in December 2013 at Charles Sturt University and has been accredited by Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) as an Exercise Physiologist since January 2014. Tait has a long established interest in physical fitness and health, realising very early that this was his passion. Throughout his career, Tait has been exposed to a broad spectrum of chronic and complex health and injury conditions. He has a particular interest in musculo-skeletal rehabilitation & strength & conditioning. Tait takes an evidence based approach in his work, focusing on the biopsychosocial model. Tait’s ability to communicate and interact with clients ensures the greatest level of motivation and confidence from clients to achieve their goals. Tait is currently working in one of Sydney, Australia’s leading Strength gyms, working with strength athletes competing across powerlifting, weightlifting and strong man as well as general population.
01:09:54
November 23, 2020
Intermittent Fasting, Mice Research, Keto, and Dieting for Circus Artists and Aerialists ft. Dr. Ethan Weiss and Max March-Steinman
Intermittent Fasting, Mice Research, Keto, and Dieting for Circus Artists and Aerialists ft. Dr. Ethan Weiss and Max March-Steinman
Have you ever wondered about the interaction of dieting in relation to circus or aerial training? In this episode of CircSci, we look at intermittent fasting and keto diets and whether they make sense for circus athletes with Dr. Ethan Weiss. Dr. Weiss is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and a Principle Investigator in the Cardiovascular Research Institute (CVRI). He received his M.D. from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he also completed his internship and residency. He completed his cardiology training at UCSF. Dr. Weiss’ clinical interests include prevention, lipids, thrombosis and the emerging intersection of endocrinology and cardiology with a specific focus on pre-diabetes and Type 2 diabetes as risk factors for coronary disease. His research is focused on the mechanisms of obesity, fatty liver disease, and diabetes. He has an active program in clinical nutrition exploring time-restricted eating. He has served as Principle Investigator on grants funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). His laboratory previously focused on novel regulators of thrombosis and hemostasis. He serves on multiple scientific advisory boards and is a co-founder of Keyto Inc., a San Francisco-based company aiming to enable the use of a heart healthy ketogenic diet to treat metabolic diseases.
48:11
November 10, 2020
Language Use, Perfectionism, and Nervous System Regulation - How They Impact Our Training/Performing ft. Janelle of CirquePsych
Language Use, Perfectionism, and Nervous System Regulation - How They Impact Our Training/Performing ft. Janelle of CirquePsych
Alright, y’all, we’ve got a new episode up with @janelledinosaurs AKA @cirque_psych (LSW). In this episode, we covered how the language we use can impact our physiological response in training, the benefits and detriments of perfectionism as it applies to training, and how to regulate our nervous system to support our goals (and just generally had a great time!). Janelle is a contortionist, aerialist, circus coach, and therapist (LSW). She started @cirque_psych in 2018 in response to seeing a need in the circus community for more transparency and vulnerability around mental health and mental illness. Janelle's work supports circus folks in improving their relationships with themselves, and uses circus analogies to explore topics in mental health, wellbeing, and social change. Check out her website at https://janelledinosaurs.com/ and the articles that we mention are listed here: https://flowmovement.net/poleflowblog/2020/06/alettertothepolecommunity https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1999-05027-021
01:15:28
October 29, 2020
Autoregulation, Minimum Effective Dose, and Oral Contraceptive Use on Maximal Strength Output (ft. Dr. Eric Helms)
Autoregulation, Minimum Effective Dose, and Oral Contraceptive Use on Maximal Strength Output (ft. Dr. Eric Helms)
Ever been curious about how to assess when to stop training a dynamic aerial skill versus a strength skill? In this episode of CircSci, we explore the way you can use autoregulation and repetitions left in reserve to pick sets/reps and load for differing types of exercise and skills. Throughout my coaching and academic careers, I’ve always looked up to experts who: were constantly learning, humble, passionate, and admit when a question or idea is beyond their scope of knowledge. Dr. Eric Helms (@helms3mdj) is one of those people. He not only was open to doing an interview, but touched on a NUMBER of different subjects beyond our overall topic of autoregulation in bodyweight strength training, aerial, circus, and gymnastics. Eric is currently a research fellow at the Sports Performance Research Institute New Zealand, author on MASS Research Review, two books, and competes internationally as a powerlifter, strongman, and bodybuilder. Please enjoy this lengthy podcast episode covering auto-regulation for strength training and skill training, minimum effective dose, and oral contraceptive impact on performance (piggy-backing a bit on the last episode with Dr. Jess Allen). As usual, if you have any questions for me, please comment below or email me at koz.circ@gmail.com If you’ve got more questions about the newest research in strength training science, check out MASS (Monthly Applications in Strength Sport) Research Review and give Eric a follow @helms3mdj and subscribe to his channels as he puts out incredible content constantly!
01:32:06
October 07, 2020
Hormonal Cycle Periodization - The Pun Wasn't Made
Hormonal Cycle Periodization - The Pun Wasn't Made
Interview with Jess Allen - @awyrol - who is an aerial instructor/performer in Wales, has completed two PhD's, and has spent the pandemic looking into periodization into relation to hormonal changes because she's a bit mental (in the best way!). We cover the effects of hormonal cycles/changes as reported in meta-analyses, anecdotal experience, and ways to periodize or autoregulate your training to adjust for those changes.
01:29:28
October 01, 2020