Alternative London Workouts #16: Aerial Fitness

Victoria Rudland
By Victoria Rudland Last edited 157 months ago

Last Updated 30 April 2011

Alternative London Workouts #16: Aerial Fitness

What: Aerial fitness.  Specifically, aerial silks.  Think Cirque du Soleil.  Exciting, oui?  A double length of silk is suspended from the ceiling for you to shinny up, wrap around and hang upside down from to your heart’s content.  Sound dangerous? Fear not: there are crash mats at the ready – and if you’re a beginner, you won’t be working too far off the ground until you’re confident enough.

The Rundown: The class starts off with a thorough and (quite hilariously, if you’re a weakling) abs-focused warm-up to get your muscles prepped, before moving to the silks to be trained up on the basic moves: the French climb, the straddle, the hip lock, working your way up gradually to the more inventive: the bird’s nest, the crucifix, etc.

You’re best off working in bare feet so you can wrap your toes round the silk like a monkey – and wear tight-fitting clothing that covers your waist and the backs of your legs to avoid some nasty silkburn.  It’s three people to a silk, meaning you get a (much needed) rest between goes, with the added benefit of learning a great deal from watching the attempts of others.

The class ends with a short warm-down, but make sure you take the instructors up on their invitation to stay behind and stretch to minimise post-workout aches and pains.  As it is, pretty much every muscle in your body – particularly your arms – will hurt the day after.  And the day after that.  And even the day after that.  Hell, we did the class four days ago and we’re still struggling to pull on a pair of tights.

Where: We attended a class with Flying Fantastic, who hold classes every Tuesday evening at the Wilditch Centre, 48 Culvert Road, Battersea, London SW11 5BB. Classes are £16 for 1 hr 40 mins.  Book here.

Is it the right fit for you: If you’re the type who prefers to get fit without feeling like you’re, y’know, actually working – aerial silks are for you. Though it’s challenging, both experienced and virginal silksters are catered for, with four instructors per class, each taking charge of a different level. This serious workout will help you tone your guns (yes, yes guns, what of it?) and improve your core strength – apparently, ‘straddling’ (flipping yourself upside down) is as good for your abdominals as doing 20 sit ups. Yuh-huh. You heard.

A fantastic and hugely fun way to get fit that basically amounts to… playing.  Hurrah! But be warned: it will make you want to run away and join the circus.

Find more Alternative London Workouts.