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Easy pole spins for beginners

If you’re new to pole then you’ll begin your journey by learning some basic spins before you move onto inversions and tricks. Don’t be fooled by thinking that spins are “too easy” as there is more to them than just throwing yourself around the pole.

Here are some super fun and easy spins to practice either in the studio or at home but I would recommend trying anything for the first time to do so with your instructor or with a spotter.

Back body sparrow

  1. Stand next to the pole and put your inside hand (the one closet to the pole) high and your outside hand in a ‘Base Grip’ ( arm across your body. Make sure to leave a bit of space between you and the pole.
  2. Starting on your inside foot, take a couple of steps around the pole.
  3. Leading with your bum, move your body in front of the pole and lean sideways.
  4. Swing your outside leg to build a bit of momentum. Keeping that leg straight, you can either stag your inside leg or straighten for a straddle variation (as I did).
  5. To come out of this spin, either slide your hands down until you reach the floor in a kneeling position or bring your feet back to the floor and step around.

Ballerina spin

  1. Standing next to the pole, place your inside hand up high and your outside hand in a base grip.
  2. Balancing on your outside foot, hook your inside knee on the pole.
  3. Lift your outside foot off of the floor and bring your toes together while pushing your knees out.
  4. To come out of this spin, either slide down the pole into a kneeling position or alternatively, drop your outside leg and step out of it.

Carousel spin using base grip

  1. Place your inside hand up high in a base grip.
  2. Standing on your inside leg, swing your outside leg in front of the pole while placing your outside hand across your body in a base grip.
  3. Bring your inside leg up off of the floor and use your outside hand to push your body away from the pole during the spin.
  4. Ensure both your knees are pointing out and your toes are pointed.
  5. To come out of this spin, either slide down to the floor or step out of it.

Carousel spin using split grip

  1. Place your inside hand up high in a base grip.
  2. Standing on your inside leg, swing your outside leg in front of the pole while placing your outside hand low down. Your hand will be in a reverse base grip position and ensure your index finger is pointing to the floor (this will help keep your arm locked out and straight).
  3. Bring your inside leg up off of the floor and use your outside hand to push your body away from the pole during the spin.
  4. Ensure both your knees are pointing out and your toes are pointed.
  5. To come out of this spin, either slide down to the floor or step out of it.

Carousel straddle spin using base grip

  1. Place your inside hand up high in a base grip.
  2. Standing on your inside leg, swing your outside leg in front of the pole while placing your outside hand across your body in a base grip.
  3. Bring your inside leg up off of the floor and use your outside hand to push your body away from the pole during the spin.
  4. Bring your legs up into a straddle position (legs out wide and parallel to the floor).
  5. To come out of this spin, lower your legs and step out using your outside leg first.

Carousel straddle spin using split grip

  1. Place your inside hand up high in a base grip.
  2. Standing on your inside leg, swing your outside leg in front of the pole while placing your outside hand low down. Your hand will be in a reverse base grip position and ensure your index finger is pointing to the floor (this will help keep your arm locked out and straight).
  3. Bring your inside leg up off of the floor and use your outside hand to push your body away from the pole during the spin.
  4. Bring your legs up into a straddle position (legs out wide and parallel to the floor).
  5. To come out of this spin, lower your legs and step out using your outside leg first.

Chair spin

  1. Place your inside hand up high using a base grip.
  2. Learning slightly forward, bring your outside hand across your body in a base grip. Your forearm should be level with your belly button.
  3. Bring your knees up high in a ‘tuck’ position and cross your ankles.
  4. Use your outside hand to push your body away from the pole.
  5. To come out of this spin, lower your legs and step out of it.

Reverse hook spin

  1. Place your inside hand up high and begin to move your body backwards leading with your bum.
  2. Stand on your outside foot and begin to fall backwards.
  3. Hook your inside knee onto the pole and bring your outside hand across your body into a base grip.
  4. Ensure your knees are pointing out and toes are facing each other.
  5. To come out of this spin, either step out or slowly lower to the floor ending in a kneeling position.

Diamond

  1. Begin in a kneeling position next to the pole. Using a twisted grip, bring one hang up high with your knees pointing in the opposite direction. Place your other hand under your bum with all fingers pointing downwards.
  2. Leading with your outside knee, start to roll over and keep your toes pointing in towards each other.
  3. Your inside knee should then follow the same motion resulting in both knees pointing in opposite directions.
  4. Bring both knees together. This motion can then be repeated as many times as desired.

Juliet spin

  1. Stand next to the pole and place your inside hand up high using a base grip.
  2. Leaning sideways, bring your inside leg away from the pole.
  3. Allow your body to fall forwards gently until your outside knee catches the pole.
  4. Keep your outside leg out stretched during the spin.
  5. To come out of this spin, either step of out it or allow yourself to reach the floor in a kneeling position.

Combos

Once you’ve practised and feel confident with these spins, you can start to string them together to create a lovely combo. Here are a few to get you started then begin to have fun playing around and creating your own.

I’d love to hear what your favourite spin is so leave me a comment below. Happy poling 🙂

Improvers pole tricks

Pole fitness is much more than just spins as many new to the sport soon find out. It not only requires strength, willingness and determination but also buckets full of self trust and a “I’m going to keep trying even if I fail” mindset.

Here are some fun improver pole tricks to try out once you’ve mastered the basics. Remember to always try these tricks in class with your instructor and a spotter first time.

Flat line scorpio

Russian layback

Nebula

Straight edge

Jacknife

Seahorse

Iguana

Extended butterfly

Have lots of fun trying out these moves and drop me a comment below to let me know which one was your favourite!

Things to know before your first aerial straps class

I attended my first ever straps workshop during Maactober 2019 and I can safely say I was completely blown away with the discipline. Even though it does require a certain degree of strength, I would encourage anyone who is interested to give it a try regardless of previous experience.

We can all agree that aerial straps is not only super cool but incredible to watch. If you’re thinking of joining the aerial revolution and learning to perform on straps, then here are a few things you should know before your first class.

Long sleeves and wrist wraps

As straps are predominately wrapped around your wrists, you’ll want to have a layer of protection between the nylon and your skin. Tubular bandages are the number one choice for aerialists. They’re super cheap and can be picked up from most chemists or supermarkets. Also, it doesn’t hurt to have long sleeves on as well.

Sore hands

Even though your wrists will take most of the tension, your hands may still end up being sore due to ‘beginners death grip’ on the straps. The nylon material can be pretty hard on your hands until you learn to trust your wrap.

Top tip – If your hands continue to hurt, try extending your tubular bandage to your knuckles with a hole cut out for your thumb. This will protect your palm and ease the pain.

Tell your instructor if you have any injuries

This may be a given but its good practice to always inform your instructor of any injuries you have. If they’re aware, then moves and exercises can be modified so you can still take part and train safely.

I was training while recovering from a sprained wrist so please listen to your body and if it hurts, STOP!

Lats not biceps

Aerial straps is mostly trained using straight arms so that means no biceps! As I found out, the lats and shoulders need do all the upper body work which makes transitions and shapes flow more seamlessly so this is a challenge in itself.

Bonus… if you keep at it, your back will look amazing!

Leave your ego at home

Even though straps requires strength and (some) flexibility, this doesn’t mean you’ll be expected to preform a perfect flare or touch the floor with your toes during skin the cat.

Working hard to achieve your goals without comparing yourself to others is more beneficial than giving up straight away because you can’t nail a flawless meat hook on your first try.

And finally… just have fun

As the old saying goes – “Work hard and play hard” sums up most aerial disciplines perfectly. Enjoying your class while learning new skills, meeting new people and being the best version of yourself when training will help you develop your skills.

If you want to find out more about straps, send me a message or leave me a comment.

How to tape up an aerial hoop

Training on a “naked” hoop can be tough if you’re wearing leggings as the lack of skin contact makes holding on near impossible. Many aerialist tape up their hoops to improve grip, prevent skin chafing and to add a bit of colour.

What’s the correct way to tape up my hoop?

One way is to tape all the way around then add an extra layer of tape on the bottom third. However, not only will this increase the chance of the tape being unstuck and coming off but it’s also a waste of tape.

Alternatively, you can tape from the bottom up on side to the top then repeat on the other side which seems to be a bit of a time waster as well as again, there’s a chance the tape will roll and unravel after a while.

The best way I’ve found it to just start at the top, wrapping with a third of the tape overlapping and voila – a lovely dressed up hoop with minimal effort.

What will I need?

Your aerial hoop, a couple of roll of sports tape, some chalk and patience. That’t it!

What tape do I use for wrapping my hoop?

Most aerialists will use cotton based athletic tape with Mueller M-Tape being the popular choice. It comes in a wide range of colours so there is not limitations to how creative you can get. 

There are many other tapes available on the market so try different brands until you find the best one for you.

How long will it take?

It only takes me 15 minutes from beginning to end. I find the best way is to sit on the floor so I can rest the hoop on my knees and move it around easily.

Having a nice clear space and everything you need in arms reach makes the whole process quick and efficient.

How many rolls of tape will I need?

I used two rolls which are 9m each. This is enough for a 95cm hoop with a little left over for patching up wear and tear.

How do I get rid of the stickiness?

Every aerialist will know that new tape will make your hands sticky and the annoyance of the tape sticking to your clothes. However, you don’t need to buy anything fancy or expensive to prevent this. 

After consistent use, the tackiness will subside but if you want an instant fix then a light dusting of climbing chalk is the easiest solution. Don’t have any chalk? – then use some talc instead then brush off any excess. Easy peasy!

Do I need to buy ‘Pre-prep spray’?

The answer is no. It’s just a quick sale for most companies and is a completely unnecessary spray. The tape is plenty sticky without any added help.

Do I need to clean my hoop before re taping?

Not really but if you want to you can. Who am I to tell you how to live your life.

Finally…

Let your creativity go wild and wrap that hoop in the way that it makes you happy. After a few re-wrappings you’ll find your flow and what techniques work for you.

Beginner aerial hoop moves

Aerial hoop is an extremely dynamic sport and requires a lot of concentration as well as strength and flexibility. As a beginner is can be easy to get carried away with what you want to try after watching Instagram videos.

It’s important to build a solid foundation when training aerial hoop so before you start wanting to try the advanced moves, you’ll need to learn the basics first.

During your first few months of training, you’ll master the basics so check some of them out below:

Man in the moon

Use your top hand to help you balance while pushing through your feet. Try to keep the hoop parallel to your spine for good balance. If you’re feeling brave you can let go.

Star on the bar

Use your glutes to create a shelf on the bottom bar and use your hands to steady yourself until you’re secure enough to let go.

Walking man

Squeeze your thighs and keep your hips square. This will hold you in place allowing you to release your hands. If you fancy a challenge, try pointing those toes.

Pike seat

Make sure your shoulders and core are engaged to provide stability and squeeze your legs together for additional support.

Single leg cradle

Engage your shoulders and squeeze your thighs you lock you in place. Try to keep the hoop parallel to your spine for good balance.

Mermaid

Engaged shoulders and flexed feet will hold you in place and make you look more mermaidy!

French gazelle

Hooking your heel will add security to go hands free. Try bending your back leg for a gazelle variation.

Arabesque

Make sure the hoop sits high up on your thigh and not your knee or this will be painful.

Hock hang

Ensure your hands hold the top bar equal distance apart to maintain your balance. If you don’t you’ll just wobble everywhere.

Happy hooping!

How aerial hoop can help get you the body you’ve always wanted

I’ll be the first to admit that my lifestyle used to be less than ideal… three takeaways a week, zero exercise and lots of late nights. Apart from always being tired, I hated the way I looked but didn’t have the drive to do anything about it. That’s until I decided to try something new, something just for me and that’s when I discovered aerial hoop.

So I signed myself up to a 6 week fundamentals course at Leeds Aerial Arts with the determination to stick it out and not give up after a few weeks.

Well those 6 weeks quickly turned into 6 months which turned in a year… ONE WHOLE YEAR and I have no intention of stopping. Without aerial hoop, I would still be that unhealthy person with zero fitness, zero strength and zero (body) confidence.

So if you want to find out how aerial hoop can change your life and help you get the body you want, scroll down to read more…

What is aerial hoop?

Traditionally a circus act, aerial hoop or Lyra is a suspended steel ring and is used to perform acro based routines.

Aerial hoop offers a fantastic full body workout designed to improve strength, build muscle and increase flexibility. This makes it the perfect balance of getting fit and having fun at the same time… so what’s not to love?

Super fast spins, daring drops and graceful gazelles will be part of your training but don’t worry, as a beginner you’ll learn the basics first. If you want to learn more about what to expect from your first aerial hoop class, click here.

Super Strength

During your first few sessions of aerial hoop, you’ll find conditioning exercises hard (I really struggled) and unless you’ve trained previously, moving your own body weight around will be a challenge.

Seated pull ups, leg raises and even straddle mounts will seem impossible but stick with it. It was months until I managed by first pull up and now 5,6 or even 7 in a row aren’t a big deal.

The more you train, the stronger you’ll get but I’m not going to sit here and tell you it’s easy but when you start to see results – it’ll suddenly feel worth it.

Top tip: If you’re serious about training, invest in a gym membership. A few weight lifting based workouts each week will accelerate your progress, making hoop class a bit easier.

Increased Flexibility

If you struggle to even touch your toes, no worries – the more you practice, the better you’ll get and the best part is that you might not even realise until you nearly drop into the splits or get a near perfect back bend without trying.

The shapes and flows you‘all learn and practice will push your body to new limits helping to figure out what you’re naturally good at and what needs practice. For example, my splits have come along way in a short amount of time with little training but my shoulder mobility is poor.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that regular stretching and flexibility training is important to really push your progression as well as understanding the fundamentals of how to stretch properly and safely.

For more information on stretching, check out The Bendy Series. Covering getting your splits in 12 weeks, back flexibility and shoulder mobility, just 10 minutes a day can really help!

You can eat more!

No I don’t mean you can stuff yourself with crisps, bags of sweets or bars of chocolates. By eating meals packed full of the good stuff will give your body the fuel it needs to build muscle and recover. After a hard slog during your gym and aerial hoop training sessions, your body will thank you.

The misconception is that to lose “weight” is to go into a calorie deficit meaning eating less but that’s not right at all. If you want to have a more defined figure then you need to lose body fat and build muscle – ignore the scales, muscle weighs more than fat but you will look and feel slimmer.

Just to put it into perspective, when I was at my unhealthiest I weighed 63kg and was a size 12, now I weigh 65kg and currently a size 8/10.

Make sure you have a good breakfast to start the day off right followed by lunch (and a second one in my case) then a lovely big dinner. You can snack inbetween as well if you still feeli hungry but try to stop eating 3 hours before bed time – this gives your body chance to digest your food.

And finally…

It’s a confidence builder

It can be daunting signing up for a class when you don’t know anyone and for many that can be a turn off. But how can you learn a new skill or meet new people if you don’t step out of your comfort zone every once in a while?

It’s important to remember that EVERYONE is in the same boat so when you arrive at your first class just smile and say hello to everyone – it’ll break the ice and before long you’ll have your own little aerial hoop family.

Enjoy your aerial hoop fitness journey!

The Bendy Series: Shoulder Mobility

For those of us that spend hours hunched over laptops and desks will understand the constant shoulder tension we carry around as well as a noticeable rounding in our posture. However a few simple stretches will soon sort this out.

In the final part of The Bendy Series, yogi Claire Bell has helped put together a lovely stretch routine aimed at increasing shoulder mobility.

Claire is a true inspiration to all us wannabe bendy people so please show her your support by checking out her recent posts and following her Instagram for your daily fix.

Warming Up

Before stretching, it’s important to get your body warm and the blood pumping to prevent any injury. It’ll only take five minutes so find a space to begin.

  • Wide arm circles squeezing the shoulder blades together
  • Lift and drop your shoulders as quickly as you can
  • Shoulder rolls

Now that you’ve lovely and warm, lets begin…

Basic Shoulder Stretch

Basic shoulder stretch

Bring one arm across your body with thumb facing down. The other arm should firmly lock underneath securing the hold. Pull your arm close to your body until you can feel a nice stretch in your shoulder and hold for 20 seconds.

Release your arm and repeat but this time with your thumb facing down as this will rotate your shoulder. Make sure to do this on both sides.

Tricep Stretch

Tricep stretch

Drop one arm behind your back with the elbow pointing upwards. Grab hold of your tricep (avoid tugging on your elbow) and pull it behind your head towards the opposite side. Once you feel a stretch in your tricep, hold this position for 20 seconds then repeat on the other side.

Top tip – Try to hold your own hand by joining them in the middle of your back (commonly knows as the cow face pose). You might only be able to do one side but that’s okay – it’s a good way to measure your mobility progression.

Wall Chest Stretch

Begin this stretch by facing the wall and keep your feet close to it. Place one arm against the wall and slowly twist your body around until you begin to feel a stretch. If you feel able, continue the twist to deepen it then repeat on the other side.

Standing Wall Stretch

Stand facing the wall and reach your hands up with forearms touching the wall. Step backwards and slowly begin to push your chest towards the wall as close as you can.

If this is too challenging then adjust your stance to allow your head to hang down facing your feet. By doing this you can work to get your chest to touch the wall.

For those of you that find this easy, take another step back, keeping your hands in the same place for a deeper stretch.

Puppy Pose

Puppy pose

The aim of this is to get chin and chest to the floor!

Begin in childs pose, lifting your bum up and moving your knees closer to your chest. Do this nice and slowly until you reach your limit then hold for 20 seconds.

Variation – For an extra challenge, try reaching behind and holding onto the back of your thighs.

Backwards shoulder stretch

Backwards shoulder stretch

Sit with your legs bent and keep your hands close together (roughly shoulder width apart) then begin to slide them backwards until you feel the stretch. Hold for 20 seconds and if you feel confident, move further back for an even deeper stretch.

Folded shoulder stretch

Folded shoulder stretch

Standing upright with your feet shoulder width apart, clasp your hands together behind your back and begin to fall into forward fold position. Pull your arms towards the ground and hold for 20 seconds.

Bridge

Bridge

Get into the bridge pose in whichever way feels comfortable then begin to gently rock forwards and backwards. Each time to rock forwards, push your shoulders over your hands – five to ten rocks then rest.

If you need more help with your bridge pose, then read more here

Remember…

Practice this short stretch routine a few times a week and you’ll really feel the difference.

Looking after your body: Calluses

You can always tell an aerialist by their hands and calluses are seen as a badge of honour but how well are you actually looking after yours?

What are calluses?

Calluses are a build up of hard skin on the parts of your hands that experience the most friction and pressure.

Usually they can be found at the bottom of your fingers and across your palms. Callusing of the hands is expected when training aerial hoop and is a form of natural protection. However without proper care, the skin can break or rip which is sometimes painful.

How to prevent rips and tears

Use chalk and rosin sparingly

Dry skin is more prone to breaks and tears so try to keep the use of chalk and rosin to a minimum. Also,after every training session, wash your hands thoroughly to ensure all remaining residue is removed. This will prevent your hands getting unnecessarily dehydrated.

File down rough skin

This is a simple yet effective tip that can be done on a daily basis. Using a coarse emery board or pumice stone, gently file down any rough skin to a smooth finish. This will stop any loose skin catching and ripping as well stopping the temptation to pick at it.

Moisturise, moisturise , moisturise

Keeping your hands moisturised will stop the skin becoming dried out and cracking. Using a nourishing cream such as O’Keeffe’s Working Hands hand cream after training will keep them lovely and soft while minimising tears.

Practice correct grip form

Source: Video Blocks

A full reach around grip with the middle of your palm over the hoop and thumb held firmly over your index finger will keep your hands locked on making it the idea grip position.

Sometimes after a particularly intense session or when your hands fatigue quickly, the burning sensation can make you change your grip but try to be aware of this and correct your positioning.

What to do if you get a tear

Wash your hands immediately

To prevent unwanted infection and help the healing process, wash your hands thoroughly with warm soapy water and pat dry. It may hurt depends on how severe the tear is but if its just a bit of rough skin, it shouldn’t hurt at all.

Don’t pull the skin off

This goes without saying but I’ll say it anyway…don’t just pull the skin off! – It’s likely to make it worse. Instead, use a clean pair of nail scissors or cuticle nippers to remove the loose skin without further damage.

Remember, prevention is better than the cure so by giving your hands the love they deserve you will be able to train harder and longer without injury!

The Bendy Series: Back Flexibility

Some people are blessed with a bendy back and the rest of us seem to have a spine made of stone but don’t worry… we have the answer!

As part of our bendy series, yogi Claire Bell has helped us put together another awesome stretch routine to build a strong and flexible back which is perfect for those back balances and twisty shapes.

Claire is a true inspiration to us wannabe bendy people so show her your support by checking out and following her Instagram for your daily fix.

Warm Up

Before you start this routine, it’s important to warm up your back and activate the muscles you’ll be using to prevent injury.

Spend 5 mins working through the following exercises:

  • Side to side twists
  • Cat/cow combo
  • Toe touches
  • 30 second plank

Once you’re lovely and warm, grab your yoga mat and find a comfy spot to begin.

The Stretches

Each stretch should be held for 20 to 30 seconds and the whole routine shouldn’t take any more than 10 to 15 minutes. 

Cat Pose

Cat Pose

Begin in table top pose, making sure your shoulders are stacked over your wrists and your hips stacked over your knees.

Inhale and bring your belly button inwards towards your spine and arch your back upwards. On your exhale, release and bring your spine back down to neutral.

Cow Pose

Cow Pose

Stay in the same starting position as you did for cat – cow is just the reverse.

Inhale and arch your spine as much as you can without causing any pain then return to neutral on your exhale.

Claire says – “These first 2 poses are done as a flow cat to cow cat to cow I will repeat 5-10 times, this also serves as a nice back warm up before the next stretches.”

Seal Pose

Seal Pose

Lay flat on the ground with your hands by your side. Lift your upper body high and arch your back as far as you can.

Soften your elbows so that there is a slight bend and keep them tucked into your sides.

Try to keep your hips flat to the ground but its ok if you can’t on your first few attempts – after all, practice makes perfect.

Bow Pose

Bow Pose

Lay on your front and reach your arm behind you, grabbing any part of your legs between your ankles and knees. Slowly arch your back and straighten your legs as much as you can (without hurting yourself).

If you have good shoulder flexibility, you can reach over your head and hold your feet for a deeper stretch.

Top tip: If you’re unable to grab your legs, try using a yoga strap to bridge the gap.

Camel Pose

Camel Pose

Kneel on the floor and arch your back downwards so that you are able to grab your ankles. Once you’re in this position, push your hips forward to get a lovely deep stretch.

Camel Pose – Beginners variation

Beginner’s variation: If you’re finding this stretch a bit challenging, try tucking your toes to give you extra height while working towards being able to keep your feet flat.

Pigeon Pose

Pigeon Pose

Sit in a half split (front leg bent and back leg straight) then bend your back leg, arch your back and reach over your head to grab your foot bringing it to your head.

As this pose is a bit advanced, don’t worry if you don’t have the back or shoulder flexibility – just keep working on it!

Pigeon Pose – Beginners variation

Beginner’s variation: Grab yourself a resistance band, yoga strap or belt and attach to your foot. This will help you bring your foot steadily towards your head and hold the pose.

Bridge Pose

Lay flat on your back and bring your feet up to your bum. Place your hands flat by your ears and fingers pointing to your feet, push your tummy up to the roof and rock your chest forward. Make sure your shoulders are stacked over your hands.

Your arms should be straight with elbows locked to provide the stability you need to hold this pose. If you need a bit of help, try using a yoga wheel or ask someone to support your back.

Claire says: “This requires some shoulder flexibility which I clearly don’t have as my shoulders aren’t in the correct place but I practiced often so they’ll get there.”

Teardrop Back Bend

Standing with your feet shoulder width apart, begin to arch your back and slowly slide your hands down your leg. Pushing your hips forward will help keep you balanced.

It’s as simple as that…

And rest…

Finally it’s important to finish with some forward folds to help cool down and prevent sore muscles. Also these folds are great as short breaks throughout the routine to help recover.

Child’s Pose

Kneel down with your knees apart and walk your hands forward. Try to keep your big toes touching and your bum sat on your heels.

Spend 1-2 minutes concentrating on your breathing and letting your body relax.

Forward Fold

Sit on the floor with your legs out in front of you. Lean forward, keeping your back as straight as you can and pull your chest towards your knees.

As with child’s pose, spend a bit of time on your breathing and relax into this stretch.

Beginner’s variation: Soften your knees slightly to allow you to bring your chest to your knees. Remember – a straight back is more important than straight legs.

Remember – keep up the hard work and you’ll see amazing results 🙂

10 things you should know before your first aerial hoop class

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.

Arrive early

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?

Finally…have fun!

Aerial Hoop Gang

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