How Back Warmers Can Save Your Training

What is a back warmer and why is it important?  

A back warmer is usually a tube of fabric, made from some sort of heat-retaining material and designed to hug the body in a snug manner. 


These little miracle workers serve multiple functions. They can add a layer of protection against aerial fabric burns or steel apparatus abbrasions. Though, the most important function of a warmer is to prevent acute and long term injury of tissues in the lower back. Dancers and contortionists all over the world have been using back warmers for decades, although many dancers don’t realize how a back warmer could greatly improve their training. 

A proper warm up prior to any type of movement is incredibly important. Most aerial instructors and/or performers are warming-up and cooling down multiple times throughout the day because of their own training combined with teaching numerous classes and lessons each day. This can be particularly taxing on all of those poor muscle fibers!

When I began teaching more than part-time I noticed some changes in my body. It was taking me longer to warm up. My joints were aching. My body felt stiff longer even after a proper warm up and cool down. I felt frustrated because I felt like I was doing the right things but something wasn’t adding up. Soon I realized what was happening. Especially in pole fitness, most of the workout is completed in tiny shorts and a sports bra. I was warming up with my class but as soon as I started instructing and was doing less of the physical demonstrating my heat was getting lost through my core and my back. 

Warming the muscles makes them more pliable and resistant to injury. Injuries don't always mean you blow out a disc in your back or completely tear a muscle. Injures can be on the micro level...tiny rips and tears over time that create larger, more painful problems. In a properly executed dynamic warm up, your heart rate will increase and blood will begin circulating quicker throughout your body. This blood will pump through the muscle tissue, preparing them for protection against impending physical trauma. This heat and warmth is generated from your core and is typically the first place it will begin to disappear during a cool down sequence. The heart rate slows which then slows all of the other functions and systems, returning the body to a more sustainable temperature. 

A back warmer help retains this heat that’s generated from your core and protects the lumbar spinal muscles as well as a membrane known as your thoracolumbar fascia. Tissues that would have normally began a cooling process can retain their maleable structure, thus preventing injury from occurring. After began using back warmers more regularly, particularly during my flexibility sessions I noticed my warm up lasted longer, I was able to find deeper stretches and I had less aches and pains that I normally would have had from a workout. Long term, I have noticed overall, my body feels happier. 

What are your thoughts? Have you used a back warmer before? What were your results?

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