New to aerial? A handy guide on where to get started.

May 2023

Aerial | Equipment | Silks | Accessibility | All

When it comes to aerial fitness, there's one question that comes up a lot. 'Where do I start?' It's a tricky one to answer as so much depends on the individuals experience, expectations and abilities, So it's important to find the right starting point that suits your requirements. There's a bunch of different disciplines available, and each has its unique challenges and appeal, so here's some insights to help you navigate the world of aerial arts.

When it comes to getting started, we're big fans of Aerial hoop, Static Trapeze or Aerial Slings.  

All of these three disciplines share one characteristic. In all of these of these you've got something to sit on once you've defeated gravity and you're finally in the air. You can take a moment and enjoy the fact that you're airborne! Sure - there's heaps of tricks and fun to be had when you're up there - whatever the discipline - but for now, sit and enjoy the view and take a moment to congratulate yourself on all your hard work getting there in the first place! 

Aerial Hoop (also known as lyra) tends to be the most popular disciplines in aerial arts. Aerial hoop combines strength and fluidity in captivating routines and provides ample room for creativity and self-expression, making it highly appealing to beginners and experienced aerialists alike. 

Static Trapeze is basically a giant swing. (Only without the swinging bit). A favoured apparatus with those dipping their toes into Aerial Fitness. A stable bar for you to build strength and confidence, especially with going upside down. Starting off with pikes and inverts, you then work your way up to moves that involve a great deal of balance between the ropes. Control and body awareness in relation to the Static Trapeze will definitely aid in transferring skills over to other apparatus as well. 

Another common path to airtime is something like Aerial Yoga or Aerial Slings. Both use fabric hammocks, just slung at different heights - Yoga at waist height, Slings at head height. Aerial yoga tends to be more of a conditioning class - but is great for getting used to being airborne and is also very accessible so anyone can get into the yoga slings and give it a go - whatever their level of fitness. 

What we love in particular about the Aerial Slings is its ability to enhance fluid and dance-like movements as you execute your moves in a sequence - something which sets it apart from the similar Aerial Silks apparatus. It is a great introduction to Aerial Fitness, providing excellent support whilst you concentrate on getting your arms and legs in the right place! For seasoned practitioners, the mastery lies in keeping a constant flow through transitions, especially whilst spinning, which could prove to be an extremely rewarding outcome. 

Many people come to us because they want to try their hand at Aerial Silks. (Also known as aerial fabric or tissu) it's often the one that people have heard of before. It's graceful, visually stunning and looks impressive. It allows for a gradual progression, starting with basic climbs, poses, and wraps, which helps build foundational strength and body awareness. However, please bear in mind that 'easiest' is a relative term, and the learning curve can vary based on individual factors such as fitness level and background.  

When it comes to Aerial Silks, please remember that before you can do anything, you've got to learn to climb. Just getting in the air takes some effort - then you've got to work hard to stay there! But once you've cracked that, it is great fun. Endlessly rewarding and progression is quick and very satisfying once you've cracked the basics. Just be sure to give yourself a little time for muscle memory to kick in - so give it a few sessions to get you started! 

Where NOT to kick off your aerial journey. As a rule, we'd recommend against starting your aerial career with a Straps class or a Rope class. Whilst both these disciplines are awesome, both require a level of skill and strength that often specifically comes through attending other aerial classes, making them more advanced apparatus and not great for flying fledglings.  

Other things to consider: Before kicking off your aerial journey, here are a few things to keep in mind: 

Fitness Level and Strength: Whilst we strive for accessibility across the board, there's no denying that aerial arts can require a certain level of physical fitness and strength. Building a foundation of core strength, upper body strength, and flexibility can greatly benefit your progress. Engaging in regular strength training, conditioning exercises, and flexibility routines can help prepare your body for the demands of aerial arts. You might not have it from day one, but stick with it. It comes quickly - especially when it's helped by some muscle memory from attending a few classes.  

Qualified Instruction and Safety: It's essential to learn aerial arts under the guidance of experienced instructors. At Flying Fantastic, customer safety is our number one priority. So when looking for studios, look for reputable aerial studios that prioritise safety, have experienced instructors, and provide a supportive learning environment. Proper spotting techniques, safety protocols, and equipment maintenance are critical aspects that should be emphasised during your training and should be immediately obvious from the minute you step foot in the door.   

Gradual Progression: If you're after instant gratification, then aerial arts might not be for you. Sure, we'll find a way to create a jaw dropping social media profile pic early in your aerial journey, but please remember that aerial arts require patience and dedication. It's important to start with foundational skills and gradually progress to more advanced moves as you gain strength, flexibility, and confidence. Rushing the learning process can increase the risk of injury. Consistency and regular practice will yield better results in the long run. 

Community and Support: Regular attendance at an aerial studio, and feeling like you are part of a community can offer invaluable support and inspiration. Everyone started somewhere and in our experience studios are supportive places where individuals are keen to share and learn from one another's experiences. So interact with fellow aerialists, attend performances, and workshops to learn from experienced artists. Sharing experiences and knowledge with others who are passionate about aerial arts can really enhance your learning journey. 

So remember, the best starting point may vary for each individual. It's worth trying different disciplines to see which one resonates with you the most. Try different classes and different instructors to see what works best for you. Embrace the journey, be patient with yourself, and try to enjoy it. It won't always be easy, but stick with it and you'll be flying in no time! We'll look forward to seeing you in the air!