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Posted: I searched for a thread on this, but couldn't find it. This can be the place where we discuss different tricks, aerial apparatuses, etc. I'm not an aerialist, but recently I've gotten really interested in taking some classes. Does anyone on HoP do this? There's a place near me that teaches Corde Lisse, Hammock, Lyra, Silks, and Trapeze. I've been doing a little bit of research to see which one I want to take and so far I've decided on silks, but I'll probably try out the intro to aerial skills program so I can try out all of them and settle on one later. They recommend that you be pretty athletic in order to do this and I think I'm athletic enough for it, but they have a conditioning program if you fail to meet their requirements. Can anyone recommend any exercises that could prepare me for this? I probably won't start for another month and I want to build up my strength. I was thinking chin ups and rope climbing would probably be good, but any other recommendations would be fantastic.
Posted: There are quite of few exercises that help condition you for aerial silks. If you can find information on aerial yoga that would be your best bet.
The best conditioning program (without hanging fabric) is usually built around your core. If done correctly, aerial silks will rely more on how you position your body and manipulate you weight than on strength. That's not to say strength is not important. The best tools for the job would be rings, silks, resistance bands, slack line (my fav), bow-flex, yoga balls or weights on a rope. Anyone who has tried an L-sit on chairs then tried it on rings knows that your stability muscles are the first thing you will have to develop. Next would be coordination, balance, and grip.
On to the exercises: Push-ups, pull-ups, chin-ups and dips are useful, but 10 times more effective on something unstable like a yoga ball. Practice your foot locks with a long towel or sheets and pull with your arms. This will help your technique and speed as well as build your back and arms. For your core: Superman's, Swimmer kicks, Shrimping and leg lifts with your posterior/hips on a chair (or better yet a slackline/hammock) so that your legs and shoulders can be lower than your hips. For your quads, balance, and flexibility: Flamingo rises. Stick one leg out in front and the other bent with the foot flat on the ground knee to your chest. Reach for your extended foot, ideally you should be able to grab it. Rock onto your other foot and while holding onto your extended leg's foot stand up on the ball of the other foot. This is much more difficult than it sounds at first. Don't forget to stretch! This is incredibly important! Also, condition your skin, although callouses will naturally develop.
I don't know what equipment you have access to, and most of the other exercises I know depend on what you have. The best thing (besides just practicing with aerial fabric) is aerial yoga. I think aerialdancing.com has more about that.
My best advice for silks: visualize everything from 30 different angles. When you're wrapped up, you'll get pretty confused pretty quickly.
Posted: Damn ShadowlessTyger, you have been extremely helpful and not just in this thread! The stretching is not a problem. I am a yoga fanatic and have been doing it for nearly four years. I assume when you say "condition your skin," you mean moisturizing? I try to take good care of my skin so I use lotion after every shower. So that's not a problem either. As far as equipment goes, I don't have much, but recently I've become pretty interested in balance arts so I have a few things that I'll be getting pretty soon (a slackline and a rola bola). I also want to eventually try out unicycles and walking/balancing ladders. As far as exercising goes (besides yoga and a lot of object manipulation), I do belly dancing, and I very recently got started in furthering my yoga into contortion and hand balancing acrobatics (walking on hands, etc.). Also, next semester I'll be taking college gymnastic courses (the beginner course is tumbling and trampoline). I haven't been able to actually get started with the silks yet because the classes would interfere with my college time schedule, but I think I'm doing pretty well so far with preparing. However, I'll be sure to try out some of your tips!
If you don't mind answering another question, do you know of any good places to get freestanding aerial riggings? I've seen a few websites with some, but they didn't have any reviews, so I wasn't sure if they were well liked or not.
trapezerigging.com is one of the sites I looked at, but they don't have silks.