Leave your preconceptions at the door, aerial and pole exercise classes are a brilliant way to build core and upper-body strength, tone and lengthen your muscles, not to mention bolster your self-confidence. The sky-high fitness craze first emerged in the US around 15 years ago, and in recent years classes have been popping up across the UK, with plans afoot for aerial yoga at Jason’s retreat Juicy Escape. There are even international competitions for top pole performers who have set their sights on making their passion an Olympic sport.
Acrobatic-inspired workouts place an emphasis on strength, movement and perfectly poised artistic moves. Madonna, Jennifer Aniston and Kim Kardashian have all taken to the pole, with Britney Spears speaking of the mental release she feels as she concentrates on perfecting moves. Aerial exercise requires strength to manoeuvre your body, and takes concentration and practice – as Britney reports, it’s a great way to improve your mindset too. Ready for take-off? Get started with our aerial exercise guide, then book a hammock and start 2020 with a swing!
Aerial exercise requires strength to manoeuvre your body, and takes concentration and practice;
Pole Fitness – We’re not going to deny it takes skill to pull off mind-boggling 180° sideways splits, but book a lesson, chalk your hands and get to grips with the basics of a fireman’s spin as you find your groove. Last year, Vogue labelled pole the ‘it-fitness trend’ and it’s gaining momentum as a mainstream activity. Toning and weight loss come with time, but as a full-body cardiovascular workout combining flexibility and mobility pole is a fun way to get fit.
Aerial Pilates – The antithesis of a high-octane HIIT session, aerial pilates is about achieving and holding challenging positions with reduced strain on the body as you hang from a swing – think suspended press-ups and pull-ups. Offering a full-body workout without pressure on your joints, it incorporates classic pilates moves that will help you to build flexibility and strength – the supportive hammock also enables you to hold postures for longer and take stretches deeper, with less strain.
Aerial Silks – The Greatest Showman 2 is in production, so get yourself show-ready and channel your inner Zendaya with an aerial silks class. Also known as aerial contortion, the circus acrobatic-inspired workout offers cardio and strength benefits and is suitable for all ages and abilities. As you learn to stand and suspend your body from the aerial silks, extending your body with a series of stretches, you will also burn an impressive number of calories.
Aerial Yoga – Yoga may have been with us for more than 5,000 years, but aerial classes are a new twist on this ancient practice. Leave the mat behind and take your yoga class to a new level with an aerial session that fuses poses with elements of pilates and dance. With a hammock, yoga swing or wide ribbons suspended from the ceiling or a rig that can support up to 300kg, aerial yoga decompresses the spine and removes pressure on the body. The swing provides a feeling of weightlessness and many people say they achieve postures aloft that they can’t make on solid ground.
Aerial Hoop – Take the show up a notch further with an aerial hoop session – much like a hula hoop, but rigged to provide stability, you will learn moves, tricks and poses as you improve your strength, flexibility and fitness level. Requiring upper-body strength, aerial hoop builds endurance as you use your hoop – also known as a lyra – to stretch and rotate your body.