I tried an aerial silks fitness class for the first time, and it completely changed my thoughts on my personal fitness.
Aerial silks fitness classes uses long pieces of polyester and nylon fabric hung vertically from the ceiling to deliver a suspension workout based on the principles of gymnastics.
At first, I was apprehensive to try this class, because I am neither flexible, nor rhythmically gifted. But the class instructor assured me that I would have fun and get a great workout.
We started the class with a warm-up consisting of yoga stretches and sun salutations. The instructor explained this would help to get our muscles adequately stretched and ready for the class.
After finishing the warm-up, we partnered up and headed to the silks. There, we performed suspended knee tucks to strengthen our abdominals.
The amount of grip and core strength necessary to complete this seemingly simple exercise was far beyond what I expected. I consider myself a very strong and fit individual, but this exercise certainly revealed my weaknesses.
As the class progressed, the instructor began teaching some beginner-friendly aerial tricks and flips. One exercise required pulling yourself off the ground by holding on to the silks, then using your core and momentum to flip upside down and hang.
With big dose of courage and a little extra assistance from the instructor, I was able to execute this challenge. The feeling of hanging upside down, suspended was both exhilarating and terrifying. I felt like a kid swinging from the monkey bars again.
The final portion of the class proved to be an even greater challenge for me. It entailed what the instructor referred to as a “trust fall.”
To perform this exercise, we had to lift ourselves off the ground using the silk, fall back, and allow our bodies to flow freely in a spinning motion as we dangle from the silks.
The most challenging part of this movement for me, was trusting myself and the silks enough to fall and hang freely.
I constantly reiterate, “trust your body,” to my training clients, yet this seemed to be the last thing I could do in that moment.
After several failed attempts to perform this exercise, the instructor encouraged me to come back to a class to try this movement again, as this level of trust builds with time. I assured her I would.
Overall, I really enjoyed my first aerial silks fitness class. The next day, I woke up with extremely sore abs, upper back muscles and shoulders. This indicated that I’d challenged my body in ways I hadn’t before.
Trying this class helped my fitness by exposing areas I can continue to train to develop my strength and stability. This experience also reiterated the importance for me to practice what I preach, and trust my body to a degree that I haven't before.