For many wanting to learn contortion it may seem like it is only accessible to those who are still in youth, or naturally flexible. Fortunately this is not the case. Starting contortion training when you’re younger has obvious benefits, but this shouldn’t discourage from wanting to start.
When starting contortion training as an adult there are some key things to remember and consider.
Why are you learning contortion as an adult?
With growing accessibility and popularity of circus arts, people of all backgrounds, abilities and ages are taking part. Many other circus disciplines require flexibility. Greater flexibility helps make tricks look more polished or to progress to more advanced skills. This is the reason that more and more people are turning to learning contortion, especially adults!
Wanting to learn contortion to make your other circus skills better is a great reason to start practicing. Having some goals in mind that relate to your specific practice can also be a big help, especially as you probably already have some knowledge those areas already. The best place to start is looking at the basic foundation poses. All circus arts generally need good hip and hamstring flexibility. Decent back and shoulder mobility is also great for more advanced tricks.
Other reasons to learn contortion may just be to learn it for contortion’s sake, and that is great too! If you’re just starting out, check out the beginner poses.
If you’re wanting to learn contortion just to get more flexible, then potentially you should look at general flexibility classes or yoga classes. The basics poses in contortion are great for building all around mobility that everyone should have. After that, the ranges of motion required for contortion tricks are not really that necessary or helpful for those wanting a regular, non-restricted range of movement.
How can you learn contortion safely as an adult?
If you’re new to circus or being active in general it is important that you build good foundations. If you’re serious about progressing your contortion training as an adult your best option is to find a coach. There are many coaches all around the world, and many now have online programmes. If you’re not ready to commit to a coach yet learning the basic foundations is easier and safer to do alone.
When starting contortion later in life many are worried about injury. Under the guidance of a coach you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. If you’re training alone, be honest with yourself and your current ability level. Just because you managed to do something once doesn’t mean that you’re ready to progress yet! When training for contortion it is easy to get caught up in the quest for more flexibility. What many don’t realise is that strength plays an even more important part in contortion training, especially for adults! Making sure that you spend time on conditioning is equally as important as spending time training your stretching. Flexibility training without conditioning can lead to various issues later down the line. If your body isn’t strong and stable enough to support the extended range of motion that you’re asking for, it won’t let you progress. Building up your strength alongside your flexibility allows your body to remain supported and safe.