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English, Fitness / Keep-fit, 2 seasons, 16 episodes, 18 hours, 15 minutes
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: [email protected]. If you've got comments or feedback, see the email above! Check out for long-form posts looking at the research and how it applies to circus and aerial training.
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Pain Science and Management for Circus Artists w/Beth Chum, DPT, Circus Physio, and NHS Pain Science Specialist

Beth and I discussed pain science and how it comes into play for professional and recreational circus artists and aerialists answering these questions below: Pain perception - how do you describe and define pain?  What is the bare minimum you think a circus artist, coach, and physio should know about pain (and how to assess it) as it relates to circus artists?  How do we know what is “okay” pain vs. bad pain?  What are patterns of pain among circus artists and aerialist? How does fear interact with pain in circus and aerial? When circus artists are experiencing pain, how can we expect that to impact performance and motor control?  What trends do you see in your practice among circus artists? Is there more pain masking, endurance coping, or avoidance coping?  What are the pros and cons of pain masking vs. distraction as analgesic? What are some methods for addressing pain? Sleep → how do we support sleep 
4/26/20241 hour, 17 minutes, 6 seconds
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Creativity and Variability in Circus Training and Pedagogy ft. Adam Woolley

You'll just have to listen to this one for the full description but below are some key take-aways! Takeaways: Incorporating variability and creativity in circus training and teaching is essential for skill development AND personal expression. Pedagogical approaches should be rooted in beliefs about learning and should align with the values of the coach and the student. Creativity can be fostered in students through intentional scaffolding and opportunities for personal input. Variability and creativity are distinct concepts, with variability being a necessary prerequisite for creativity. Balancing risk and creativity is important, and coaches should consider the physical, psychological, and social risks involved of including variability and NOT including variability. Individual journeys in circus are valuable, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to training and performing. Adam's resources are here! And the Montreal Straps Lab early bird registration is here! Chapters 00:00 Introduction and Background 05:16 Influence of Other Disciplines on Circus Training 11:09 Gymnastics' Influence on Circus Handstand Training 14:51 The Origins of Circus Technique 21:04 Challenging Traditional Handstand Coaching 25:16 The Importance of Task Orientation in Teaching Handstands 28:54 The Impact of Performative Risk Assessment on Teaching 33:58 Including Students in Risk Assessment 39:35 Challenging Preconceived Notions in Teaching Circus 45:23 The Blurry Line Between Risk and Safety in Circus 49:44 Letting Go of Strict Teaching Methods and Embracing Self-Expression 50:13 Constructing Skills with Safety and Creativity 51:33 Pedagogical Approaches and Beliefs about Learning 53:29 Incorporating Variability and Creativity in Teaching 55:39 Fostering Creativity in Students 57:10 Scaffolding Creativity in Teaching 59:52 Understanding Variability and Creativity 01:00:30 Different Definitions of Creativity 01:03:14 The Value System and Beliefs about Creativity 01:06:32 Balancing Risk and Creativity 01:09:49 Introducing Variability and Creativity from Day One 01:14:10 Expanding Variability in Straps and Other Apparatus 01:18:55 The Relationship Between Variability and Risk 01:25:46 The Influence of Social Media on Circus Culture 01:29:51 Using Social Media to Promote Counter-Cultural Messages 01:35:46 The Importance of Individual Journeys in Circus 01:43:44 Making Small Changes in Teaching
2/29/20241 hour, 35 minutes, 52 seconds
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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.
1/7/20211 hour, 7 minutes, 20 seconds
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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 ( and listen to his podcast here: (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.
11/23/20201 hour, 9 minutes, 53 seconds
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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.
11/10/202048 minutes, 11 seconds
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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 [email protected] 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!
10/7/20201 hour, 32 minutes, 5 seconds