Aerial Silks: A Beginner’s Experience

So this weekend I tried a very new adventure in fitness: Aerial Silks.

If you haven’t heard of aerial silks, it is performing and posing on long pieces of fabric hung from the ceiling.  The fabric is hung in the middle so that there are two separate pieces flowing down.  Some moves are using the silks separately and some using it together.  Think Cirque-Du-Soleil:

aerial silk proOk, so I didn’t even come close to doing anything like this!

I went with a great group of girls who were all brave and completely new to this form of exercise.  We were all a little nervous but excited to try.

The instructor was great and very encouraging!  I was afraid that the moves would be too complicated to follow – right hand here, left hand here, shoulders down, wrap your leg around the silk in this direction, flex your foot, etc.  And yes, there were that many directions, but she did a great job of breaking down and demonstrating the moves so it didn’t seem as complicated and a little more doable!

After a good warm up and learning how to hang on the silks with proper form (shoulders down ladies!), we “mastered” a few basic skills:

The basic footlock, which is the foundation for all moves in silks.

aerial footlock

The basic stand, using the footlock to pull yourself up into a standing position.

aerial stand

The basic climb: This was my most difficult move.  You had to use the basic stand to get yourself on the silk, then unwrap your footlock, lift your leg up and lock it in the silk again to pull yourself up higher on the silk.  I had difficulty using my legs to push myself up into standing.  I wanted to pull with my arms.  Using your legs is much more effective and easier!  Once I got that down, it wasn’t too bad!

And finally we did the standing hip lean, our big move of the day!

aerial silks

Here’s me in the standing hip lean.  We were suppose to be able to take our hands off the silks, but I was not feeling stable/brave enough to do it!

I really enjoyed the Aerial Silks.  After I got past my initial fear and doubt, I had a great time!  The instructor made a world of difference in building our confidence!  And though a few of us slipped down the silks a bit, no one fell off!

If you are thinking of trying Aerial Silks, my suggestions would be:

  • Wear long pants.  The silks are soft, but they rub against your skin a lot and to avoid leg burn, long pants are a must!
  • Watch your hands.  In keeping with the silks rubbing against skin, it would be easy to blister or even cut the skin on your hands.  So don’t let them slide around on the silks.  Listen to the instructor – she will guide you on how to move your hands appropriately.
  • Your wrists and shoulders will hurt.  We all had wrist pain during the experience.  Some of the girls complained that their feet hurt when in the basic footlock.  Mine did not.  But this all goes with doing a form of exercise you are not used to doing.  In time, I’m sure these pains will decrease.  And I had no pain after the class.
  • Good grip strength, core strength and leg strength really help.  Of course training on Aerial Silks will help you develop these muscle groups, but if you have a good foundation it will definitely help you master the basic moves.
  • While my heart was racing at times after moves (partly due to fear and partly due to the exercise), I did not sweat during the class.  The instructor gave us plenty of time for breaks so I’m sure if we were going and going, that would be different.
  • Listen to your instructor, let go of fear and have fun!  If you are brave enough to sign up for an aerial class, you are brave enough to do the moves!  Just give them a try — they are hard, but easier than they look!

I would recommend Aerial Silks to anyone who has been thinking of trying.  Find a reputable gym with a good instructor, and go for it!  You are getting a great workout without even realizing it!

 

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