Love is in the Air: Get Strong with Aerial Silks

Ever dream of swinging from the rafters? Or impersonating someone from Cirque du Soleil?

By adding the challenge of Aerial Silks to your workout, you can!

Aerial Silks is a type of performance where artist-athletes (commonly called aerialists) execute acrobatics while hanging from special suspended fabric. They rely on their strength and skill to ensure security, as no rigging or safety lines are used. Artists use the fabric to wrap, suspend, fall, swing, and spiral their bodies into various positions.

Climbs, wraps, and drops are the three main categories of tricks in aerial silks. Climbing can be an efficient way to get higher off the ground, or used as a fluent transition between tricks. Wraps are usually static poses, where the fabric is wrapped around one or more parts of the aerialists body. Lastly, drops involve rolling or even free-falling from pose to pose, and require as much courage as they do strength.

aerial silks demonstration

Courtesy of Bella Forza Fitness Lexington. Photo Credit: Hoot Shoots Photography

One of the benefits of any aerial workout is that you are constantly using your own body weight to train your muscles. Climbing works your arms and legs, and inverting to hang upside-down demands ab strength. When asked what parts of the body she uses the most while doing aerial silks, instructor Holly Price said; “You have to use your brain the most, and core is essential. I equate it to a rock climbing expedition.”

Continually having to pull yourself up the silks is one HECK of an upper body drill.

The most common excuse I hear when talking to newcomers about the aerial arts is, “I’d love to try, but I don’t have any strength in my arms.” Take it from me, NOTHING will increase your upper body strength like an aerial workout.

When asked how aerial silks has increased her strength, aerialist Maggie Lambo said, “I’ve seen changes mostly in my arms, armpits and shoulders, and feel a difference in the lower abs and inner thighs.”

“I was never an elegant girl,” continues Maggie. “There is something empowering about climbing and wrapping to the top of the silks, then looking down at literally how far you’ve come. It is the ultimate mix of strength and grace. I love that I can go to the gym barefoot, play and get sweaty hanging upside down, then I feel it the next day and am motivated for more!”

Aerial arts and cirque sports studios are popping up around the country, some offering regular classes and others dealing mostly in short-term workshops. It’s not the least expensive activity you can try, but professional instruction is the only way to learn how to safely play on the silks, so it’s worth the investment.

Like any new skill, when you attend a silks workshop, you’ll begin by learning the basics. Simple techniques soon lead to more challenging tricks, as your strength and knowledge increases. Although it may first appear impossible, don’t be intimidated by this exciting form of strength training. It’s an art form that beautifully unites athleticism and elegance, and I urge you to give Aerial Silks a try!


About Bethany W

Graphic Designer by day, self proclaimed decorator and creator of things by night!
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