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8 Myths About Starting Aerial Classes [Dispelled]

Updated: Feb 4

Starting a new hobby of any kind can be very intimidating. There is a lot of uncertainty, and the idea of being bad at something when you start off is not always enticing. When I tell people that I do aerial silks I often get asked a million questions about how many times I've fallen (close to never) or have people telling me they would NEVER be able to do it. Here's the thing - I started off from ground zero too (literally, I could not get off the ground).

As an aerial coach and performer, I have been asked almost every question you can imagine about doing aerial arts. Below I've outlined and dispelled a few myths about being an aerialist and doing aerial classes. I hope this empowers you to know that you are safe, capable and you have to start somewhere.

1. You don't have the upper body or grip strength

Building the muscles to climb aerial silks or pull up on a hoop takes time. I cannot think of more than a handful of students that I have worked with that were able to hold their weight off the ground in their first class. The muscles and strength you need to do aerial are very unique. Even if you hit the gym regularly, you likely are not building the same muscles needed for aerial classes. The best way to build the strength is to do it! Your muscles will adapt quickly and you will see progress within the first week and month of doing aerial arts. In a few months you might be able to do a pull-up or hold your body in the air.

P.s. I wasn't able to do a pull-up until I was about 1 year into doing aerial silks.

2. You are not flexible enough

Flexibility can aid in making beautiful lines and shapes while doing aerial. However, it is not required to do aerial arts. Aerial is a generally low-impact sport that aids in improving your flexibility. Many poses will help lengthen your muscles in a way that is aided by fabrics or gravity. Flexibility classes and practice can help you feel more comfortable and aid in your success over time. Your body will adapt over time and you might feel more loose after attending aerial classes.

We've even had one of our coaches/students "grow" a few inches, because her back became less compressed from aerial classes and stretching.

3. The silks are not going to hold you

Properly hung aerial fabrics can hold over thousands of pounds. The spansets that hold aerial hoops vary in the weight they can hold, but the load is generally weighted for 7,000+ pounds. We have easily had 3+ individuals on a single aerial fabric before. All our apparatuses at South Dakota Aerial & Arts are attached either to certified aerial rigs or steel ceiling clamps.

4. You won't be able to do any skills

I have seen students of all ages and fitness levels succeed at skills on aerial silks. We offer modifications in our classes and specific skill level classes that are accessible to all people. We promise you will be able to do specific poses and skills starting off. It generally take a few classes to start feeling confident with each pose or sequence, but you will quickly learn more skills when taking aerial classes.

5. You can't do aerial, because you are afraid of heights

Starting off, all skills are done right off the ground. No height required! As you gain strength and learn more skills, you will have the option to taking them higher in the air. Many aerial skills wrap you in a variety of safe knots that will make your feel confident in the air. The fear will fade as your confidence grows. If you never want to go off the ground - don't fret. There are hundreds of moves you can do close to the floor!

6. You are going to fall and hurt yourself

It is rare the students fall off of the equipment. We have mats and foam under all of our apparatuses to make sure that if you do need extra cushioning you are safe. Additionally, you will not be far off the ground starting off. From my experience, it is much more common to get a little lost getting out of a wrap than to fall. And if that happens, your coach will help get you out quickly and safely. We try and do everything we can to ensure your safety during our classes.

7. You have to have been a gymnast or dancer to succeed in aerial classes

This is absolutely not true. Some of my successful aerial students have no aerial or dance experience. Will having this background potentially help you - yes! But it is certainly not a requirement.

8. You are too old to learn aerial

There are aerialists that are 60+ that thrive and enjoy aerial arts. You are never too old to take aerial classes. Just like other fitness classes, you will want to take classes at your own speed based on your skill level and body. Aerial is just as accessible as other forms of fitness and can be enjoyed by individuals of all ages.

Trying a new hobby, like aerial arts, can be intimidating. We hope that this article helped dispel some of your concerns and questions. We would love to have you in one of our aerial classes at South Dakota Aerial & Arts in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. We are a boutique gym that offers aerial silks, aerial hoop, bungee fitness and strength classes for individuals of all skill levels. We can't wait to share our passion for aerial arts with you!


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