Awhile ago i was looking for an interesting fitness class of some sort to take up weekly, i wanted to try something a little unusual and i happened across Aerial Hoop. I joined this class partly for fitness but mostly because it looked pretty fucking cool. I spent the majority of my childhood weekends doing gymnastics and have long been into yoga so i quite liked the idea of Aerial Cirque training. It seemed like something that would be physically challenging but that was so random and unusual that you wouldn’t really notice the work initially as you’d be immersing into this strange sport. I was right, it’s an incredibly different hour than spending an hour on the treadmill. Ridiculously enjoyable.
I stared classes in Tribe Dance Studio in Dublin, and after the first class my arms were beyond dead, moving them at all was quite agonizing. But in the really good ‘I’ve just worked out like crazy and i’m feeling the burn/ after-pain’ kind of way. I can easily say it was the most fun hour of exercise I’ve done in i cant remember how long & after the second class your arms become less sore in the days that pass. It’s mostly because even if you work out your arms in a gym – the positions you do in aerial are so different + use various muscles that most exercises wont touch on. Now that being said, weights were never something that i did take part in as my doctors and surgeons had always warned me away from anything to do with weights, as someone with a bad spine or back should always be extremely hesitant with them.
But one thing that anyone with back issues will tell you is that your doctors will immediately have you doing daily specific physio exercises specifically targeted to strengthen your core muscles (on both your abdomen and your lower back) as the stronger the muscles become, this turns into a near-natural back brace. Anyone who has had or endured back pain, chronic back pain or spinal surgery (of any description) you will have worn a back support or brace of some description to aid your spine and muscles and lessen pain but applying pressure and support. When i went to begin these classes i asked my Doctor, my surgeons and also my physio to make sure this was something that wouldn’t affect my spine or body negatively in any way. They informed me that this was a great idea to get into, the more exercise (within reason) your able to integrate into your life the better chance at full-time remission or lessening of your pain. As long as if after the first class (or a few more) i felt there was any twinges or ‘bad pains’ i would stop immediately. As time has gone on they have been so happy with my progress as one of the things that occurred after my last surgery (Spinal Fusion and a Bone Graft) you lose a significant amount of flexibility in my spine as two pieces have literally been fused together. But with yoga and my physio exercises i was slowly, (very slowly) loosening some of the rigidity. This started speeding up a noticeable amount within a few weeks of beginning my aerial classes.
I would recommend anyone who is interested in taking it up to try it – there’s a ten minute cardio warm up thats half cardio and half stretching. It’s incredibly important to actually stretch all your muscles properly before you take part as your in such contorted positions your muscles can cramp so much easier than if you were just on the treadmill. Girls who took part and didn’t stretch properly would regularly pull a muscle or get a severe cramp in one of their legs, so when your instructor tells you to take your time and fully stretch your muscles from all angles, listen to them. Your normal pre-workout stretches wont cut it as your using part of limbs you’ve never activated before through regular resources.
This move is called “Amazon”, the still version of this is pictured above here ^. But the walking version and essence of how you get into it is below. With a lot of these movements fluidity is what’s required, the moves that seem more intimidating aren’t always as intense as you think they’re going to be, the trick is to actually push yourself into it, a lot of the time when your nervous you wont fully commit to a move and have a portion of your body in the wrong position as your hedging, when you dive in it nearly always ends up being more manageable than you expect.
Another simple one that you’ll learn in one of your first few lessons is “The Star”.
The last one i’ll detail in this post is called “The Monkey Roll” and its actually really fun, you surprisingly don’t get dizzy from most of the moves. It’s possibly that when you get past Beginner and Intermediate and the moves become significantly more advanced that your head might spin, but for a start it’s a brilliant serotonin rush, you leave every class energized and satisfied. Would strongly recommend Aerial classes to everyone.