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April 14, 2011 / ccollinsonjones1

Upside down acrobatics

This week I was lucky enough to catch the first class at The Flying Fantastic, a new aerial arts club that gets you fit by teaching you circus skills like the trapeze. I was not what you might call a natural.

This class was all about the silks – those things that hang from the ceiling that acrobats get impressively tangled up in.

As we were split in to groups, I stupidly volunteered for the more competent group on the basis that I’d done a fair bit of Pilates and yoga and even been alright at climbing.

When we started, however, I quickly remembered that I was the kid who couldn’t climb up the rope in PE, the one who just dangled limply and waited for the whistle to usher everyone on to the next thing. After my first aborted attempt to climb, I switched to a slower-paced group.

The demonstration makes it all look very easy. “Oh right yeah so I just walk up that silk ok cool ARGH WHY ARE MY ARMS BURNING WHEN I’M STILL ON THE FLOOR?”

Fortunately, the teaching was first class. There were quite a few instructors so each pupil gets proper attention; and they’re great at breaking down the technique in to steps you can replicate.

We did climbing. We did hanging upside down in something called a nest. We did some sort of drop thing where you basically give yourself a big wedgie and hang on your side wondering what’s holding you up.

I discovered that I have the upper body strength of a t-rex. A lot of it is technique of course, so we improved pretty rapidly under the expert tutelage, but I think I’d need a few sessions before I could actually do a passable climb without muttering obscenities. With repetition it would sink in though, even for me.

Judging by the all over muscle ache and the extremely tiny bottoms of the teachers, this is an excellent way to get a body like a Hollywood starlet. It gives you the look of a yoga or Pilates regular, but you learn a new skill while you get there so it’s much more fun.

It comes highly recommended from me. Thanks very much to the guys for inviting me down there for the first class.

Now, can someone please help me pick up my mug of tea?


Leave a Comment
  1. Clare M / Apr 14 2011 12:32 pm

    I was one of your demon instructors. Thank you for the review – it’s sounds as if you had an entertaining evening.
    So sorry about your current difficulty with lifting your mug of tea. I had that too, after my first ever aerial class. No doubt you’ll know that this is the curse of engagement with a new strenuous activity: namely DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). It’s never that bad again…..if you continue the exercise. Badge of honour for having taken full part!
    Great to meet you – and I’d relish another go at helping you get to grips with the climbing and wedgie thing (Hiplock) and more.

    I do hold that climbing, silks or a rope is an important life skill (and yes – I was one of those annoying kids at school who could just do that. If I was ever unsupportive of my classmates in their difficulty, I guess I’m getting full karmic payback now in my professional life).

    • ccollinsonjones1 / Apr 14 2011 12:39 pm

      Brilliant, thanks Clare. I’m glad I have a name for it now: DOMS. I shall wear it with pride. It was a great class – thank you x

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