If you’re not one for the gym but want to get fit while hanging upside down, then this discipline is definitely for you.
Not only will you get a full body work out but you’ll also develop strength, flexibility, coordination and stamina.
As a newbie, it can be nerve wracking starting a new class so we’ve put together our top 10 things you need to know.
What to wear
Comfortable gym leggings, a sports bra and a tight fitting top will be your uniform from now on. Forget wearing anything loose or skin bearing as this will hinder your performance, making your session less enjoyable. Loose clothing is likely to get caught and if you’re wearing shorts, your skin is going to get really sore and irritated.
Don’t be that person who turns up late and disrupts the session. Try to be 10 or 15 mins early which will give you enough time to find the studio(in case you get lost), change into your kit and sign any necessary disclosure forms. If you know you’ll be late then give your teacher a heads up with a quick phone call or text.
Have something to eat
You’ll be working really hard on your first lesson and doing it on an empty stomach isn’t clever. There’s no need to go all out and demolish a three course meal but a sandwich or a light snack is ideal. Also, drink lots of water before, during and after your session. Your body will thank you.
Don’t worry if you can’t straddle first time
The straddle mount is one of the first things you’ll learn and is how most aerialist get into their hoop. It can be hard and involves a lot of trust in your arms and grip. Not everyone gets it first time and some students don’t get it even after a couple of weeks. So keep practicing and don’t give up!
Your hands will super sore
Since you’ll spend 60 to 90 mins holding onto a steel hoop, your hands with inevitably hurt and possibly some skin may tear. Don’t let this put you off, as over time your hands will toughen up and you’ll develop callouses. These will prevent your hands from hurting – even if they don’t look pretty.
The day after is going to be a killer
After your first session, everything is going to hurt. You’ll also have some funky bruises to show for it as well but don’t worry, it’s all part of the fun. If you’re not used to working out, your body will need time to adjust to using all those new muscles but you’ll feel really good afterwards. The pain doesn’t last forever and you won’t be able to wait to get back on that hoop.
Put your phone away
These days, people whips their phone out to take pictures of EVERYTHING and it’s great to load up your Insta feed with all the awesome shapes and flows you learn. Since this is your first class, there won’t be any time for getting snaps as you’ll be busy learning different mounts and a few basic moves. It’ll also be distracting if you’re trying to get a selfie while your instructor is demonstrating and could lead to you hurting yourself. Once you’re confident and have a bit more experience, you will be able to take all the photos you want.
Leave your ego at home
As this is your first class and probably everyone else’s as well, you’re not expected to nail everything first time. If you manage to mount the hoop straight away or smash your transition into inside mermaid then that’s awesome! But don’t brag about it to other students, especially if they’re struggling. It’s likely to put them off and irritate your teacher. Remember, no one likes a show off…
Say hello to everyone
We know it can be scary joining a new class but it’s about making friends as well as learning a new skill. Everyone will be feeling the same so try to introduce yourself. After all, the other students will eventually become your aerial family so why not take the plunge and say hello?
Aerial hoop is all about learning, growing and developing as a person but it’s also about enjoying yourself while you do it. You might ache, be covered in bruises and have sore hands but you’ll be having so much fun and realise it’s all totally worth it.
If you fancy having a go at aerial hoop, then why not book yourself onto a taster class or fundamentals course at Leeds Aerial Arts – owned and run by Lorna Mackinder. Its only a short walk from the city centre and is one of the best or possibly THE best aerial arts studio in Leeds