Circus Shoulder SOS with Bethany Shum

Circus Performers’ Guide to Shoulder: Mastering Shoulder Biomechanics, Assessment, Common Injuries and Explore Movement Pattern Dysfunctions.

Join Bethany Shum (Circus Physiotherapist) in this workshop to problem-solve circus shoulder pain and enhance your performance. Whether you’re an aerialist, hand balancer, contortionist, acrobat, performer, circus teacher, movement specialist, etc. this session will empower you with practical tools.

As a circus performer, shoulder injury is one of the most common injuries in preprofessional and professional circus artists (Greenspan & Stuckey, 2023)*. This workshop will identify common pain locations and tensions for circus injuries, exploring why they happen and ways to prevent them. We aim to increase your understanding of the unique biomechanics (Scapulothoracic Joint) and demands placed on circus shoulders, focusing on shoulder assessment, exercise for pre-hab, and correction for movement pattern dysfunction.

We’ll also delve into practical ways to cultivate shoulder stability, mobility, and strength, providing take-home external cues to integrate into your training. We will make it related to your performance disciplines.

Additionally, we’ll explore holistic approaches to managing hypermobility in shoulders, equipping you with practical tools to dissolve common shoulder issues and integrate exercises into your training and teaching.

The workshop will conclude with a Q&A session.

* Reference: Greenspan S, Stuckey MI: Untangling risk factors including discipline-specific exposure for injuries in preprofessional and professional circus artists in the USA. BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine 2023;9;2;e001551. doi: 10.1136/bmjsem-2023-001551

About Beth

  • Chartered physiotherapist (HCPC, MCSP).
  • Performing Arts Specialist Physiotherapist (Flexibility Matters Ltd) in London.
  • Circus Health Practitioner at the National Centre for Circus Arts.
  • Pain Specialist Physiotherapist in NHS.
  • Master’s in Performing Arts Medicine at UCL graduating with distinction.
  • Presented her ‘Pain in Acrobatic Performers’ research at the PAMA Conference.



More Information


Saturday 1st June 2024

10.30am – 1:30pm



£30 for Open Training Members (concession rate)

Maximum number of participants


Who is it for

  • Circus artists of all levels: Aerialists, Acrobats, Jugglers, Cyr Wheel artists, Movement specialist, etc.
  • Individuals seeking to optimize shoulder health and longevity.
  • Advanced health/physical practitioners looking to fine-tune their shoulder mechanics for performance.
  • Coaches and instructors interested in enhancing their teaching toolkit.

Minimum Requirement: Have some sort of movement experience; be curious and enthusiastic to learn. Come and ask questions, and engage in practical exercises. Please inform us if you have any pre-existing conditions/injuries so we can tailor the workshop to your needs.

Attire and equipment: Wear comfortable, flexible clothing that allows freedom of movement. Participants are welcome to bring their own therabands and massage balls.