When you start flying in the indoor skydiving wind tunnel, you may notice a very interesting (and almost certainly very welcome) off-label benefit of participating in our awesome sport: getting suddenly, noticeably hotter. Yeah, much of that will owe to the newfound confidence that’ll be twinkling all over your face, but it’ll also have a lil’ something to do with the strengthening, toning magic of the wind. And it’ll probably get you stoked to optimize even further. So let’s dig into that, shall we?
- This groove is in the heart.
Tunnel flying is way cardiovascular. That’s proven by all those sweaty faces that pop out of helmets in the anteroom when a team (or an individual) is in heavy training mode. You can make that part a little smoother for yourself by doing some work in the gym. Get on that treadmill and push some uphill sprints. Or, alternatively, try some high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to get your body ready to push out that gnarly tunnel training with more ease and grace.
- Flexibility will give you magical powers.
There’s no substitute for flexibility. If you really want to unlock the wind tunnel, you’ll need some! Yoga is the tried-and-truest way of getting it, so head to the best yoga studio you can find and work those moves at least three times a week. Yoga will train your core, allowing you to fly strong and stable. In the windytube, you can’t rely on either strength or flexibility alone to get through; you’re going to have to balance the two.
- Don’t forget your brain.
Tunnel flying is as much in your head as it is in your body. Yoga will definitely help, but add other means of mental strengthening to your daily fitness practice. Many tunnel flyers find meditation an excellent addition to their regimen. I’d add to that some rock climbing—not only will it get those muscles in even better tone, it’ll get you prepared for the little feats of bravery you’ll need to make a habit of.
- Dance, baby, dance.
There’s a reason why so many tunnel greats came to the practice from dance: tunnel flying is a rhythmic pursuit. As you advance, you’ll find that the timing and syncopation of each move are just as important as the body positions themselves. So here’s an idea: Add some dance to your fitness plan and see how that informs your windytube style.
Ready to hit the gym? Cool! But finally, a word to the wise: Flying is tiring, especially at the beginning, so treat it like a brand-new gym program. Build up your time as you get stronger. When you start your journey to tunnel greatness, it’s best to get started by flying shorter, regular sessions. As your capacity increases, build up your sessions incrementally. If you do too much too soon, you’ll tire out before you’ve finished your time, and nobody wants that.
We’re looking forward to your high-flyin’ fitspo!