fbpx
PoleSphere Review

PoleSphere Review

2020 has been a strange year. The world has changed, and the way we train has changed with it. Without access to pole studios, many polers rushed to buy home poles, only to find themselves at a loss for what and how to train. Luckily, there are a number of online pole...

Share the love and support your home studio or fave pole brand

Share the love and support your home studio or fave pole brand

Welcome to the Australian Pole Directory! I can't tell you how excited I am that you're here! This website was my #isoproject, my way to be connected to the pole industry while we were all effectively confined to our homes, as well as being my way to help support and...

An Interview with Nikki McLennan of Lioness Photography

An Interview with Nikki McLennan of Lioness Photography

A few weeks ago, while I was still in the process of preparing the Australian Pole Directory for launch, I started chatting online to Nikki McLennan of Lioness Photography. We made a connection, and decided to have a chat - we've both been around the block a few times...

How to choose a pole for home use

How to choose a pole for home use

It's an exciting day for you - you've decided to buy a pole for home! You've started shopping around, and you've realised that it's not as straightforward as "just buying a pole". After a quick google search, you're overwhelmed, asking yourself:  Should I buy a pole...

BREAKING NEWS: X-Pole Australia shipping/delivery delays.

BREAKING NEWS: X-Pole Australia shipping/delivery delays.

UPDATE 22/06/2020: X-Pole Australia has received their shipment, approximately 1 month later than expected. They are in the process of preparing the orders to be sent out, and have reminded people who are waiting on their deliveries that it can take 7-10 days from...

Stephanie Zamoyski (image credit Brett Stanley)

An interview with Steph Zamoyski from Raw Element Physiotherapy

by | Jul 26, 2020 | Pole Services | 0 comments

Pole, and the broader disciplines of the Aerial Arts are massively addictive sports. The feeling of flying, the adrenaline rush, the sense of wonder at what your body can achieve… if you’ve been doing pole or aerials for any length of time, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Something that is too easy to forget, however, is that these are EXTREME SPORTS. And with extreme sports comes a heightened risk of injury. Now, I’m a big fan of Physiotherapy. BIG fan. It has helped to rehabilitate dozens of injuries I’ve sustained over the years. But like many of you guys, I have had MANY frustrating encounters with physiotherapists who don’t understand our sport.

I was so excited when I met Steph from Raw Element Physiotherapy. She’s a Sydney-based Physiotherapist who specialises in working with aerialists (including pole athletes) and dancers. She’s also a practicing aerialist herself, with experience in pole, and specialising in lyra and static trapeze. Steph was kind enough to set aside some time to have a chat with me about all things training, rehabilitation, and returning to pole after a long break.

Meet Steph, the Aerialist Physiotherapist.

The first thing I wanted to know, when I was chatting to Steph, was how exactly she ended up being an Aerialist Physio in the first place. She shared that she had been trained as a classical dancer for over 15 years before deciding to pursue Physiotherapy.

“I was always sort of intrigued about how the body works and anatomy”

She told me that she wanted to combine her love of dance with her fascination for anatomy and physiology, so she completed her Bachelor of Health Science and her Masters of Physiotherapy. Steph started her professional Physiotherapy career at a “small little local private practice”, before moving into sports medicine.

I worked with Sydney West Sports Medicine under Brent Kirkbride and Kingsley Gibson who got me all connected with Gymnastics Australia which was a big step into a field that I was so interested in.”

She eventually moved on to Perfect Form Physio, a dance-focussed Physiotherapy practice, and while working there, Steph was introduced to pole, and then aerials as a sport, and she fell in love. So much so, that when the time was right for her to start her own practice, working with aerialists was a big focus for her.

Raw Element Physio was established in July of 2019. From there it’s just been a wicked journey of being able to treat the clients that I love to work with. Undertaking that training of dance and aerials has been perfect in being able to understand my clients – I know the lingo, I understand the loads, I know what their body is exposed to whilst having that physio knowledge on the side as well.

After I commented that it must be wonderful for her clients to be able to just see a phyio who “gets it”, Steph said:

100% it makes a world of difference, and it’s what actually drew me to seeing a dance physio in the first place. I’d had a hip injury and I’d seen amazing sports physios before, but there was always something that was missing. Having that link to your art makes all the difference.

On returning to training after a long break.

Having had the golden opportunity to pick Steph’s expert aerial physiotherapist brain, there were a few burning questions I was hoping she could answer.

Of course, given that so many of us have had a forced 3-4 month break from our chosen sport, I wanted to know what advice she had for returning to training after such a long break.

“I think the biggest thing is a graded return to your load. It has to do with your tissue tolerance vs your current capacity. Depending on what you’ve lost, big swinging beats, drops, fast spinning, anything like that that was quite difficult to train over this three-month break has to be a graded return back to that. 

“The other thing to also think about is how much training people have been doing at home. So whether or not you’ve been doing bodyweight work, whether or not you’ve been doing yoga, pilates, flexibility – that all forms your base foundation. So (your return to training) will depend on how much you’ve been doing. 

But from a safety outlook, I think increasing your weekly load by 10 or 15% presents a very low injury risk threshold. That might mean reducing how many reps you do or the duration, how many classes you’re doing per week before you get back to your main load. 

“Overall I think we’re looking at a minimum of a 10- to 12-week turnaround before we get back to our pre-lockdown training load. You just have to respect your body, take your time with things as well and don’t ignore your muscle soreness. That might mean taking extra time for recovery and feeling like your strength has rebooted after that 48-72 hour turnaround after a hard class. 

The other thing to think about would be your mental health and wellbeing. We’ve all taken a bit of a hit with confidence or anxiety or you know, coming back, we’ve all had a mix of stress, whether it’s work, relationships or family, not being able to train in your current training zone. So appreciating that when you are coming back is quite important as well. 

As a hardcore trick lover, I wanted to confirm that this means taking the time to build back up to our previous strength and fitness levels before trying our most advanced tricks and skills in our repertoire.

“We’re coming back into a different environment with less spotting allowed. So you have to respect that certain difficult or complex moves that you might have achieved just prior to COVID, you want to be a little bit cautious getting back into them. It’s going to be a bit of a process. I have no doubt that we’re going to be able to get back to our pre-existing training loads. Just be smart with your training.

On recovery from training

Something that Steph really focussed on while we were talking was the importance of allowing your body to recover between training sessions. This is something I personally struggle with, so I wanted to know what her advice would be to maximise the opportunities to recover fully, as fast as possible.

“There are so many perspectives you can look from.

“There’s a nutrition point of view, making sure you’re adequately having enough protein for muscular recovery, or any sort of vitamin hit in that respect as well.

“From a body perspective, rolling out with foam rollers, spiky balls, just giving your tissues a bit of downtime from that extreme load. I think in regards to muscle soreness, usually muscle soreness can be anywhere from 24-48 hours but after an extreme break we’re more looking at 72 hours. You might just need to be cautious over that extra day and know that your strength might not have fully returned.

“I guess as well, just pay attention to any niggles or things that just don’t feel quite right. When there’s pain, get it seen to. There’s health clinicians out there for a reason. We all love to self manage and let it settle itself out but 9 times out of 10, get it seen to. Don’t ignore those little aches and pains because they can easily progress into something a bit more tricky to handle.

How to know when to see a Physio

One fact of life when you do pole or aerials is pain. We get LITERALLY bruised and burned by our poles and other apparatus. We lift our own bodyweight and throw it around, and try and contort ourselves into weird and wonderful shapes, so we frequently have sore muscles. I asked Steph HOW exactly we can know when pain is a normal part of training, and when we should seek advice from an allied health professional.

“There’s a few elements to look at. One would certainly be the longevity of pain. If you’re having something niggly in one area and it’s been a good few months? Get it seen to. The gradual progressing niggles, they’re the ones that are hard to correct, because it means that there are probably multiple drivers (to the problem), so it’s a little bit harder to figure out what the main issue is. 

“The other thing is your acute injury whilst training. If you feel a pop or some sharp pain, you should get that seen to fairly instantaneously.

“Obviously there’s a lot of tissue trauma that comes with pole and lyra, or really any sort of apparatus that’s rigid metal, so bruising and your abrasions, they’re typically within tolerable limits. Of course it’s going to be sore, say, on your elbow when you go to bend it when you have bruising on there. But anything that’s quite sore after 72 hours, get it seen to.”

I mentioned to Steph that this is incredibly useful information, because something I have noticed is really common in online pole forums is people asking if their pain is normal, and often what they are describing is pain that is outside an acceptable level. Steph agreed, and reinforced that treatment should be offered by a medical professional.

“Be careful when listening to your mates. They might be quick to say “Oh hey, I had that.” But you can have pain in one region that could be on of 10 or 15 different pathologies. Just because you have pain in the shoulder doesn’t mean that everyone’s got a rotator cuff injury. It’s best to get it seen to so you can get an accurate diagnosis as well. Misdiagnosis adds to the longevity of the injury, because you end up doing somebody else’s rehab when you needed to be doing something completely different. 

“There can be a bit of a stigma towards generic rehab. And I guess that’s where I’ve tried to be different. I make my rehab specific to every individual I see. I know that every body-type is different, and how I treat an aerialist is different to how I’d treat a dancer, it’s different to how I’d treat a gymnast. And with your rehab, it needs to be specific. You want the targeted exercises for your body, so you can get a quick result.”

On trying Pole or Aerials for the first time

There are so many people out there who are keen to try pole or aerials, but they feel like they need to be strong to begin. I have my own (rather strong) opinions about this particular topic (you don’t need to be strong to start, you just need to start and you’ll get strong), but I wanted to get an experienced sports physiotherapists’ perspective on this question. I asked Steph what advice she would give someone who was not fit or strong, but wanted to try pole or aerials.

“Overall, I think having some baseline functional strength helps. That’s just looking at the normal movement patterns of your squatting, of your single-leg squat, of your balance. That gets your lower limb chain strong.

“And then, core work. Understanding what that’s all about and that the front, the sides, the back, it all works as a unit. If you’ve got a good understanding of your core, that’s already a big tick.

“And then I guess it’s just trying to maximise your flexibility as well.

“Maximising flexibility with some functional movement and some core work, that’s a strong foundation to then build from. The extra bits of body/calisthenic strength, and creative, arty moves, that will come when your foundations are strong. 

“Also, if you’ve got any pre-existing injuries, get them seen to beforehand rather than having a bit of a niggly shoulder and then thinking “Oh, I should start pole now” because that will end badly. Get any pre-existing injuries seen to and then start off with a clean slate, or a bit of a management plan. Injuries don’t need to be 100% resolved, but they need to be managed effectively.”

On Competing

As well as being an accomplished Physiotherapist, Steph is a talented Aerialist who teaches lyra and static trapeze at Aerial Fit in Castle Hill, NSW. She also competes, and believes that competing pushes her to continue improving.

“I started Pole Dancing for a year, and the studio I was at offered Aerial classes. So I started Trapeze and Lyra and fell in love. I started competing after a year. I competed in the Miss Lyra heats, that was my first comp. From there I have been competing over the last three years and have loved every bit of it. So I guess that was that tie in with dance as well, always wanting to push, wanting to compete, wanting that next step, rather than just going to a gym and just training for health. Which is, no question, super super important, but I always like to have that something to achieve out of it, for me. So yeah, being able to compete, it ticks that box. It helps you to push your boundaries. And all the moves and the skills that you learn in class, it’s nice to be able to formulate and put something together, and I think it does push you that little bit next step, which I think is important.” 

On the services offered at Raw Element Physiotherapy

I asked Steph to share a bit of information about her practice, her consultation types, and the services she offers.

“I’m based in Rosebery, out of the Movement Academy. They’re an aerial and circus space, and that’s my main clinic. I also work on-site at a full-time dance studio called Village Nation, so I’m also there twice a week as well, and they’re in Alexandria.

“And then with telehealth, it’s virtually limitless on where you can have a chat with me and a bit of an assessment. We start by having a bit of a chat about what you’re experiencing. Then I can assess you, I can give you a bit of advice on management strategies, and it’s more of an educational sort of a session.

“I also offer performance enhancement. So if you want to work on overhead mobility, or splits, or a bit more back flexibility. So anything like that I can also target. I try and put like an anatomical view on it, and I try and get a good view of what you’ve currently been doing because I want to try and fill in the gaps (in your training). A bit more of a holistic approach.

“I do exercise programming as well and it doesn’t just have to be rehab, it can be any sort of flexibility, core program strengthening program, that’s all within my capabilities. And then the normal sort of treatments like dry needling, massage, joint mobilisation, and all of that, it’s all part of the package.”

If you’re interested in booking in with Steph, you can find all her contact information, or contact her directly through the Raw Element Physiotherapy listing on the Australian Pole Directory. She also reached Lyra and Static Trapeze classes at Aerial Fit in Castle Hill, NSW.

Featured
Featured
World of Pole
69 Holbeche Road, Arndell Park , Blacktown, New South Wales 2148, Australia
PoleSphere Review

PoleSphere Review

2020 has been a strange year. The world has changed, and the way we train has changed with it. Without access to pole studios, many polers rushed to buy home poles, only to find themselves at a loss for what and how to train. Luckily, there are a number of online pole...

Share the love and support your home studio or fave pole brand

Share the love and support your home studio or fave pole brand

Welcome to the Australian Pole Directory! I can't tell you how excited I am that you're here! This website was my #isoproject, my way to be connected to the pole industry while we were all effectively confined to our homes, as well as being my way to help support and...

An Interview with Nikki McLennan of Lioness Photography

An Interview with Nikki McLennan of Lioness Photography

A few weeks ago, while I was still in the process of preparing the Australian Pole Directory for launch, I started chatting online to Nikki McLennan of Lioness Photography. We made a connection, and decided to have a chat - we've both been around the block a few times...

How to choose a pole for home use

How to choose a pole for home use

It's an exciting day for you - you've decided to buy a pole for home! You've started shopping around, and you've realised that it's not as straightforward as "just buying a pole". After a quick google search, you're overwhelmed, asking yourself:  Should I buy a pole...

BREAKING NEWS: X-Pole Australia shipping/delivery delays.

BREAKING NEWS: X-Pole Australia shipping/delivery delays.

UPDATE 22/06/2020: X-Pole Australia has received their shipment, approximately 1 month later than expected. They are in the process of preparing the orders to be sent out, and have reminded people who are waiting on their deliveries that it can take 7-10 days from...

Sara-May Monaghan

Sara-May Monaghan

Australian Pole Directory Founder

Sara-May is passionate about pole. She did her first pole class at Bobbi’s in 2006. 

After repatriating to Australian in late 2019, she struggled to find the right studio, her favourite polewear brands and the other poling resources she needed. As a result of this, the Australian Pole Directory was born.

Share your thoughts

0 Comments