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Getting Into Aerial Without Equipment

Getting Into Aerial Without Equipment

By Anna Kondaurov, Contributing Blogger

Do you find yourself inspired by the strength and grace of aerial performers as they  weightlessly move through the air? I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to run away and join  the circus to learn aerial fitness secrets. Although aerial does involve specialized equipment such  as silks, lyra or a trapeze rig, there are many conditioning exercises that can be done from the  comfort of your own home. Try adding these moves to your workout routine to train just like a  circus star.  

Leg raises: 

If you want to eventually learn how to flip your body upside down, you need to start  strengthening your hip flexors. Aerialists depend on hip flexor muscles to lift and control their  legs in the air. First, sit with your legs out in front of you. Lightly place your fingertips on the  floor to help you balance. Lift both legs off the floor as far as you can while keeping them tightly  pressed together and your toes pointed. Make sure you are not relying on your hands to raise your legs up to get the most out of this workout!  


Sphinx crawls: 

Another important skill that aerialists train is the ability to pull yourself up using your upper  body strength. Don’t worry if you cannot do a pull up yet – my pull up game was a complete  zero when I first started! To try a sphinx crawl, lay down on your stomach and lift your legs  behind you. Place your palms and forearms flat on the ground and use them to pull yourself forward. I recommend putting a towel or piece of fabric underneath your stomach to avoid “floor  burn”.


Toe touches: 

I do this as a warmup before each aerial session to warm up and engage my core muscles. Lay  flat on the ground with your legs straight in front of you. Lift one leg at a time as high as you can  and reach for your toes with the opposing arm (if you lift your left leg use your right arm etc.).  Try your best to keep your legs as straight as possible and avoid arching your back – your lower  back should be touching the floor.  


Cow Cats: 

Cow Cat poses are great at improving and maintaining spine flexibility. Get on your hands and  knees and slowly arch your back while keeping your gaze on the ceiling. Reverse this motion  and round your spine and shoulders towards the ceiling, while you gaze towards the floor. Keep  your breath slow and controlled and try to sync your inhalations and exhalations with each  movement. For example, if you arch your spine breath in and if you round your spine breath out.


Cobra Stretch: 

Practicing flexibility is important for proper form and to avoid injury. Like the Cow Cats, the  cobra stretch also works to mobilize your spine. Start by lying on the floor face down with your  hands underneath your shoulders. Press your upper body as far up as feels comfortable while  keeping your legs straight. Hold this pose for about 30 seconds.  

Mountain Climbers: 

If you feel like taking on a challenge, try mountain climbers to strengthen your shoulders and  core. Start in a plank position. Keep your back and legs as straight as you can and bring one  forearm down to the ground while keeping the other one straight. Push the bent arm back up and  repeat this movement with the other arm. You can modify this exercise by keeping your knees on  the floor. 


Stag Stretch: 

You don’t need to be able to do the splits to train like an aerialist! Try the stag stretch for a  beautiful pose that also increases your hip mobility. Bend one knee out in front of you while  extending the other leg behind you. If you want to add an arm and shoulder stretch, try bending  your back leg and hooking it with your elbow. Bring your other elbow towards the ceiling and try  to touch your back with your hand. Try holding this pose for about 30 seconds. Remember that  flexibility takes time and consistency!  



Hopefully this tutorial has encouraged you to pursue your aerial dreams. Aerial has helped me  feel confident and creative in a way that no other fitness routine has. Wherever you are in your  fitness journey, aerial can meet you at your level and take you to new heights. Trust the process  and you might just find yourself flying soon!