Aerial Silks Hosted By Learning2Fly, Sumya Anani

What to Wear:  Tight fitting workout clothes as you may spend some time upside down

What to Bring:  A Good Attitude

Level of Difficulty:  Easy to Moderate to Difficult

Areas Worked:  Arms, Shoulders, Core, Legs

How to Train: Begin a Full body strength training program that focuses mainly on the arms, shoulders, core and hand strength. Don’t feel like you have to wait until you are “strong enough” to begin an aerial class because in time and with practice, you will naturally gain strength in all of these areas.

Basic Strengthening Exercises: Pullups – Eventually with a towel or rope, Pulldowns, Hanging Knee Raises, Forearm Grip Exercises, Spread Eagle Situps, Wrist Curls, Farmers Walk, TRX Training, Incline Situps, Static Barbell Hold

 

Maggie’s Review

First Impression:  Prior to actually attending an aerial conditioning class, my initial thoughts of Aerial Conditioning were filled with vivid imagery of myself being wheeled out by paramedics (like the attractive ones you see on tv) strapped to a stretcher with a neck brace on.  The idea of doing anything while suspended in the air aroused feelings of intimidation mixed with a little bit of fear.  Fear that I would fall and break my neck, fear that I wouldn’t be able to do any of the exercises and fear that I would look like an injured monkey trying to scamper back up the tree that I just fell thirty feet from.  Although the latter may have been true at times, the other two fears never materialized.  In fact, I quickly learned that my fears were nothing to be afraid of at all.  Aerial Conditioning in a controlled setting with a competent instructor actually proved to be completely safe, and as long as you go into it with an open mind it is also insanely fun and entertaining.

What I liked the Most: Inversions (i.e. being upside down) and climbing

What I liked the Least:  Rope Burns (although mine were not as bad as Kory’s)

It Was….Awesome!  Our instructor, Sumya Anani was very encouraging and warm in her instruction… We rotated through “stations”  that included basic climbing skills on ropes and silks, mermaids and angels on the trapeze, and various series of pikes, peaks and pencils (aerial silk terms you will soon come to know).  In addition, at each station she offered multiple renditions of the same activity so that each station could be tailored towards any fitness level. i.e. you could make your aerial conditioning experience as easy or as difficult as you wanted it to be.  I personally chose the more “middle of the road” options, however I found that I really enjoyed being inverted as it felt good on my back.  Aerial silks involves a lot of balancing, core strength and arm strength.  You will work muscles you never even knew existed, muscles that dont get worked at the gym or throughout the course of a normal day.  This next day “awareness” as Sumya calls it serves as a positive reminder of all the amazing  things you accomplished the day before.  I strongly recommend aerial conditioning for any fitness enthusiast who wants to challenge themselves to try something new, or any person interested in trying the circus arts without the fear of sharp teeth and smelling like cabbage.  Would I do it again?  ABSOLUTELY!  My one tip: You can enhance your grip on the silks by using rosin to make your hands stickier.

That kicked my ass: I won’t feel it tomorrow, but probably the day after…

Will I ever do it again? I already have it on my calendar!

Overall I think:  I’m in love!!!

 

Sara’s Review

First Impression:  I have never had aspirations to be in the circus like Maggie – which I blame on an unfortunate trapeze experience I had at the age of 12…I realized my circus skills limitations early in life – but I digress…from the first mention of aerial silks, I was intrigued.  How could it not be intriguing?  It’s a workout that occurs hanging from the ceiling.  It’s also intimidating when you walk in and see silks and trapeze hanging from two stories up.  It’s beautiful when you see someone doing it well – but seems like something only super-humans can do in practice.  Turns out, with some good coaching and explanation, it’s possible!

What I Most Liked:  Aerial conditioning is difficult but not impossible.  You are definitely pushed to what you think your limits are and beyond.  We watched the trainer (or more accurately aerial artist) demonstrate each activity.  She broke down the movements, walked us through the steps to get into the positions then let us try each one.  One of the best parts is you rotate though the stations so if you’re having a hard time getting through an activity, you only have to practice it for a few minutes before moving on to the next one.

I will admit to a number of “oh shit, what if this isn’t possible?” moments.  One of those was when I was wrapped up in the silks 15 feet off the ground and Sumya was telling me to let go of the silks above my head and grab the silks between my legs as I tumbled down.  Turns out, if you miss, you tumble down all the way and end up hanging with your head perilously close to the mat.  You might expect this experience to be under the “what I liked least” section – but it was amazing.  You definitely face your fears and push yourself… and, if it fails (which it did more than once), there’s always the mat!

What I Least Liked:  Aerial conditioning is difficult but not impossible.  Some of the tasks can be a bit frustrating when your body just won’t move the way you want to – it all looks so easy when you see it demonstrated by an expert but there is nothing easy about it so be prepared to be a bit discouraged at points.  The other downside is it isn’t like you can practice just anywhere – aerial silks require aerial silks – and those have to be hung from a high ceiling – higher than any at my house.

It was…a difficult but not impossible thing to do.  This is not an activity for the faint of heart or for someone who doesn’t like to push their limits.  Imagine any of the most challenging moves you can do in a workout then imagine you are doing them holding yourself ten feet off the ground.  It is an excellent work out!!There is nothing I’ve found better for improving your grip strength.  You climb ropes, stretch your body backwards over a rod, wrap yourself up in silks, hang sideways and upside down.  All in all, amazing.

That kicked my ass:  I’m probably not going to be able to move tomorrow

Will I ever do it again?  I already have it on my calendar!

Overall I think:  Love it!!

 

 

Kory’s Review

First Impression: Okay, so I practice yoga on a regular basis. I lift weights and run. I teach a mean boot camp and cycling class. I have also seen Cirque du Soleil on 3 different occasions. Don’t think that a cool room with all the apparatus hanging from the ceiling won’t get the best of you. Because it will.

What I liked the Most:  I liked the challenge. It’s totally different than any strengthening that I do myself. I now have an extreme appreciation for the athleticism and strength of those entertainers who do this for a living. They make it look so easy when it is certainly not!

What I liked the Least: Rope burn, bleeding, swollen and painful forearms. Those weren’t fun, for sure! During the class itself, I was at times frustrated that I didn’t “get it” right away. I feel like if I went back for a few more classes (which I will) I would be more comfortable with what I was doing and I would have a more pleasant experience. Things felt pretty awkward, like I didn’t have my foot in the right place or my hand was turned in the wrong direction. All part of the learning process….

Overall I think: This class was more difficult than expected. I love being pushed and I love learning new things. This class was perfect!  I realize that all of the lifting in the world can make a person strong, but its this kind of conditioning that is the most natural and purposeful when defining true strength. I enjoyed this experience, the enthusiasm and grace of Sumya, and the thrill of doing something new and fun. It was like being a kid again, climbing on the playground during recess. It was fun to hang upside down and to swing and climb, although I don’t ever remember being this sore when I was younger! In a good way of course!